Family business: meet the mother-daughter duo behind Sustainably

I’m always inspired by entrepreneurs who come up with brilliant ideas to make the world a better place, and then go out and turn their ideas into reality. I also get really excited by family-run start-ups, which might have something to do with the way we run Virgin.

Richard and Holly 2019

One start-up I love is called Sustainably - which was co-founded by a mother-daughter duo from Scotland, Loral and Eishel Quinn. We’ve been following their journey for a few years now after they received funding and support from Virgin StartUp in 2017.

Richard Branson with Sustainably entrepreneurs

Sustainably is an app born out of Loral and Eishel’s desire to make it easier for people to donate spare change to their favourite charities in an increasingly tech-driven and cash-free society. The app works with a growing number of charities and leading UK banks to round up your purchases to the nearest pound and donate the change to your cause of choice. It’s such a simple but effective way to bring together the next generation of philanthropists, consumers, charities and banks.

After watching the business grow so much in a short space of time, I was curious to know how Loral and Eishel manage to run the business and still maintain a loving mother-daughter bond! Despite the challenges and stress that building a business can cause, Loral and Eishel have never been closer. Loral even credits the fact that they are family as the key to Sustainably’s success. The pair keep their work communication really open which allows them to resolve issues and make smarter decisions. They also acknowledge and work to their different strengths with Loral focusing on business development and Eishel working on product and user experience. It would be very difficult for the business to grow at its current pace without this effective delegation. Indeed, the Sustainably team has grown to include six other members offering skills in software engineering, data science, customer service, user experience, user interface and product design.

Sustainably app

Dad has always stressed the importance of delegating and surrounding yourself with people who bring different skillsets and different ideas, so it’s wonderful to see it reinforced in another family business!

A similar entrepreneurial quality we stress at Virgin is collaboration. Loral and Eishel really understand the importance of collaboration and as Loral put it herself: “Sustainably is all about amplifying impact so we focus on how to help our charity partners, business partners, their customers and their employees. Keeping core to your mission and working with partners who share the vision is key.”

Loral and Eishel - Sustainably app

Something tells me this is just the beginning for Loral and Eishel. Dad would have to agree too, given that he picked Sustainably as his top start-up of the year for 2019. The team is currently finding new charity partners, launching a B2B platform to connect retailers and employers, raising investments and scaling partnerships in the UK with a vision to go global. I can’t wait to see their business and their impact continue to grow.

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