Five questions with Sustainably
5 minute read
Founded by mother/daughter duo Loral Quinn and Eishel Quinn, Sustainably is a new way of living and giving. With Sustainably, anyone can give to the causes they care about as part of everyday life.
Founded by mother and daughter duo Loral Quinn and Eishel Quinn, Sustainably is a new way of living and giving.
With Sustainably, anyone can give to the causes they care about as part of everyday life. You simply choose a good cause and connect your bank card in the Sustainably app. Then, shop as normal and we round up and donate your spare change. So, whether you want to help save the planet, teach girls to code or help get a homeless person off the streets, you can change the world every time you shop, spread kindness every day and see your impact instantly with Sustainably.
Our B2B platform will enable brands to instantly give to causes their customers and employees care about, hyper-localising and personalising their social responsibility at scale. Available in the UK now, Sustainably plans to create a world in which positive impact is effortless, embedded and sustainable.
Sustainably won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2017, and was named by Richard Branson as his startup of the year.
01. What was the inspiration behind your company?
I want to challenge the status quo and break new ground by opening peoples' minds to new ways of doing things. The whole motivation behind Sustainably was about empowering people to do something good as part of their everyday lives. We let them choose the charities and social enterprises they want to support and to what level. It's about creating simple ways for people to make a difference.
When I was first thinking about the type of business I wanted to create, it was startups like TOMS Shoes, Acorns Investing and Pokemon GO that inspired me the most. It's super inspiring to hear how these startups are approaching things differently by bringing a whole new customer experience and building a brand that people really love because of the thoughtfulness invested.
02. How do you feel being a female founder gives your startup a unique advantage?
There's a quote from Arianna Huffington which resonates with me: "Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me."
For me, being an entrepreneur and running your own business is like developing a new muscle, as you take on a lot of responsibility and try new things. I've gained a lot of experience leading large teams and having to rise to the challenge and take on responsibility across many different aspects of corporate business. I'm always learning, but my past experience as a team leader has allowed me to ride smoothly through the rough times. You just can't let things get to you.
I think being a female, you are always multitasking. At one point, I was a single parent with a big job, travelling globally. I think you just learn to navigate the challenges and try to be the best role model you can be, which only makes you a stronger leader.
03. What is the most important lesson you've learned since first developing and launching your startup?
I believe there's a certain mindset that predetermines being a successful entrepreneur — being self-motivated and highly driven about getting things done and achieving your goals. In my mind, you're either like that or you're not. You have to push boundaries and open the minds of those around you to do things better.
I've always been a self-starter and thrived on working autonomously. When I was running a large team in the corporate world with Aberdeen Asset Management, I was always looking at new ways of doing things and how to leverage the opportunities created by such change. I've never been someone waiting for direction from others, and that's really critical in running a startup. And of course the most important thing you need is a great team around you who share your vision, so getting that is key.
04. How has the pandemic impacted your company?
Our customers are charities looking for a new source of income and businesses looking to connect and engage with their staff and employees in more meaningful ways. Both are really important at the moment. The charity sector has been hugely impacted by the pandemic, with income streams more than halved and many charity teams have been furloughed and let go. So while it has been a challenge for us because some of the organisations we were working with have been unavailable for joint campaigns, we have also had a bump in interest from good causes seeking new revenue streams.
There are many challenges around working remotely from home. It can be tricky if you don't have a dedicated work space, just as it can be difficult for someone living with a busy family around and difficulty finding a quiet space. So it's important to be conscious of everyone's home situation and take that into consideration. The upside is all the collaborative tools now available for remote team project working. I do miss the human interaction side of the business and as a leader you have to be mindful and understanding of individual home situations. It's a new creative challenge in managing the team.
05. What is the one piece of advice you'd give to other women thinking about starting a company?
Just get on and do it. If you're passionate about your business idea, have a strong vision, have tested it on potential customers, are getting repeated external validation and are genuinely moving forward each day, then go for it. If you don't go for it when the opportunity presents itself, then when are you going to do it?
Ask for help wherever you can and get really challenging people to ask lots of tough questions that will test the viability of your new business, and help you move forward at the same time. Keep hustling and get out there, even though things are tough. You are awesome and a role model for future generations. Remember to celebrate each success you achieve and mark them meaningfully. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with being a co-founder so I find it really helpful to connect with likeminded people across the entrepreneurial community. Nobody understands it better than they do.
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