Lisa and her husband set us Sustainily because they wanted to make a positive contribution to the future. Their beeswax wraps are not only eco-friendly but they are super stylish too. They really are helping people make a small change to have a big impact. Lisa tells us more about the Sustainily journey.
Sustainily - Lisa Hancock - Co-founder
Tell us a little bit about your business.
At Sustainily we aim to help people effortlessly reduce their plastic usage by finding simple, sustainable and beautiful products to use instead. We sell a small range of carefully source products including beeswax and vegan wax food wraps, reusable coffee cups and bottles.
What inspired you to set up Sustainily?
It was really a combination of things that happened last year that inspired us to take a leap of faith and start Sustainily.
Our 8-year-old daughter kept coming home from school with facts about the devastation caused by plastic on our oceans and forests. At the same time my mum, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, made me promise to swap out my plastic bottles for glass ones due to the impact of single-use plastics on our health. So it was things like these that made us more aware as a family about own plastic footprint.
We started small... initially by staying clear of single-use cups and bottles and only buying packaging-free fruit and vegetables. As a working parent, I was struck by how difficult it sometimes felt to avoid plastic - especially when you’re time-poor.
Having worked in the NHS as a dietitian and supporting people through periods of change, I observed how making small, sustainable changes could lead to massive improvements in the long-term.
This insight, together with our personal experience of trying to reduce our own plastic consumption, created our business vision: supporting people to make small changes to reduce their plastic footprint by sourcing simple, beautiful alternatives.
Once we did this, the rest followed from there…
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
The final nudge was really finding the right first product. I was clear that anything we sourced and sold needed to:
1. Be sustainable
2. Add value to those who bought it
3. Make the swap from plastic as simple as possible
When we discovered beeswax wraps, they ticked all those boxes!
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Gosh-everything! Neither my husband nor I had any experience of running our own businesses, so it has been an enormous learning curve.
From sourcing products where you can guarantee its providence, working with suppliers in other countries, identifying your target market to learning about social media and branding…
All this while still both working full time to support the cost of setting up the new business – it’s unrelenting but incredibly rewarding!
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of.
Really living the brand. Sustainily is all about making small but positive changes that we believe will collectively make a big impact on our plastic footprint.
As a family we make conscious choices about where and what we buy. We are by no means plastic-free, but over the past 6 months we have reduced our plastic consumption by more than 70% - all by making small, consistent changes.
Some changes have been really easy to make, while others continue to challenge us and require us make choices that are less convenient and more time consuming. But without a doubt it’s worth the effort - I still get a thrill saying “No” to plastic every time I do it!
One unintended consequence that I’m really proud of is the impact we have had on others. By simply talking to our friends and family about what we’re doing, many of them have started their own journey to more sustainable lifestyles, which is brilliant and encompasses our vision for the brand.
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
For us, it’s simply not an option to stop doing what we’re doing. Sustainily is so much more than just a shop for us. Through the products we sell, we hope to give people some simple, beautiful solutions to help them start their own journey to plastic-less living.
The more we learn about the impact of plastic on our world, the more determined we are to keep going! There are up days and down days, but we really hope to be able to continue to grow as an ethical business and make a positive contribution to our future.
Thank you so much to Lisa for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about Sustainily you can visit:
Facebook - @sustainily
Instagram - @sustainiliy