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Meet the start-up is a feature that showcases great up and coming businesses from around the UK. This week we spoke to Junell Watson from London based Fintech company, Green Wallet. The company is a banking solution and platform that connects customers to sustainable businesses to build a community of conscious shoppers and support the creation of a better greener future.
Junell is the director of business development at Green Wallet, a health and wellness entrepreneur and the digital nomad behind the successful Instagram account @theplantbasedwanderer. Junell is currently working remotely out of Central America so it was an early morning chat for her but late afternoon for us.
Here is how we got on…
Can we have an introduction to yourself and Green Wallet?
Absolutely, so the introduction to Green Wallet is a lot easier. Green Wallet is an ethical banking solution and an app-based marketplace for sustainable ethical companies who are making a difference in the world. We were created to be a convenient shopping experience that allows consumers to have an opportunity to support great green companies. They’re buying products from the web anyway so by creating a platform that gives easy access to those more conscious companies, we have an opportunity to shift the market spend to these green businesses.
We ask, why do people shop where they shop? Why do people shop on amazon or at the corner market? Because it is convenient. There are a ton of incredible companies out there. Green Wallet is looking to bridge the gap between these merchants and consumers because a lot of these green companies don’t have the budget to market themselves or get in front of a captive consumer audience like larger brands can.
Myself, I am the director of business development at Green Wallet and at this point, I wear many different hats within the company and manage a team of amazing interns. My background is kind of all over the place but what lead me to Green Wallet is my own experiences.
I became plant-based around 3 years ago when my Dad had triple bypass surgery, and I was looking to beat my own genetics by changing my diet. That decision spiralled into me realising the environmental impact of all my decisions and that is how I landed with Green Wallet. Since then, I have been sharing my own story on social media to inspire others to make the change and now I get to do it on an even larger scale with this business, so it is very exciting for me.
Why was Green Wallet created?
Green Wallet was created because you vote with your wallet (#votewithyourwallet) and by that, we mean that where you spend your money is who you are supporting. Our Founder, Bashir Khairy, has a background in finance and had a life experience where he had to shift his lifestyle to be healthier and more sustainable. He changed the outlook for his entire family but realised he needed to do more and that is when he shifted the focus of his business as well. Before Green Wallet, he had a payment processing company but thought he needed to move in a more sustainable direction and created something that is more convenient for everyone to live a better lifestyle. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but it is definitely not the easiest thing to do.
What makes Green Wallet stand out from other Fintech companies?
There are a ton of marketplaces out there but what makes us unique is that we are an ethical banking solution as well. What people don’t realise is that when their money is in the bank, it’s being invested in things you personally might not want to support so that is all part of the bigger picture in shifting the market to spend better and have more control over their finances.
Another thing that makes us unique is our green coins customer loyalty reward programme. We’ve created a circular economy within the app and so when consumers download the app and spend through it, they get rewarded with green coins. It’s a 1:1 ratio, so if they spend £50 on the app, they’ll get 50 green coins that they can spend within the marketplace. When they spend the coins within the app, the merchants receive the coins and that then builds a marketing budget for them to use.
The merchants then use the coins to fund social media campaigns, which incentivises consumers to share on their own social channels to receive more green coins that they can use again with the merchants. This is where it becomes a circular economy within Green Wallet. Consumers keep shopping with the merchants while sharing their sustainable lifestyle changes. It’s something for everyone.
How has Green Wallet evolved over the pandemic and what challenges have you overcome?
As terrible as it has been one of the positives we can take from the pandemic is that many people have realised the impact they’re creating in the world and now have a raised self-awareness of their over-consumption from being in their homes all the time.
I’d say our biggest challenge from the pandemic is the lack of face-to-face interaction. We have still been able to connect via video, but I think it makes things move a lot slower and I feel it has slowed us down. I personally miss getting a whiteboard and sitting in a meeting room to brainstorm to get things done. The isolation of our team has been impacted by this, also the fact we’re across many time zones at this point.
As we come out of the pandemic I think that now is the time for Green Wallet, people are looking to change their habits and move to a more environmental and sustainable way of spending. Green Wallet is the perfect way for people to do this.
That is all our questions. Thank you for taking the time to speak to People Source today and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for Green Wallet.
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