afloat – the story behind the name

It started with a sweater. Our founder, Sarah-Allen Preston, was on the fence about whether or not she was going to launch a new app centered around connecting people to their loved ones when they need it the most. 

She knew she wanted to make people feel connected and uplifted but wasn’t entirely sure how to make this app a reality. And what would she name it? She wanted a name that was inspiring and communicative without feeling too much like a generic startup buzzword. 

In the fall of 2019 she decided to name her beloved app afloat with a little help from her friends. Sarah-Allen had started going on long walks with her friends as a form of therapy during her divorce. During one of those walks, another friend, who was subsequently going through cancer treatment, thought why not afloat? They both were helping each other stay afloat through the good and the bad at that very moment, and that’s exactly what Sarah-Allen had set out to do with the app.

This name has evolved with the company through its time. The word ‘afloat’ gained popularity during the start of the pandemic in 2020 as people were adjusting to their new normal and striving to keep small businesses afloat during uncertain times. 

And this truly is what afloat is all about. Connecting you to your loved ones when they need it most with thoughtfully curated gifts. And connecting more customers to their favorite local stores to help them stay afloat with same-day and next-day delivery. 

So what about that sweater? In the fall of 2019 the same friend who helped Sarah-Allen give ‘the app’ a name decided she needed a celebration for herself after a hard year going through a divorce. She gathered their friends who brought Sarah-Allen gifts, including a beautiful bright Lingua Franca sweater with the word afloat in script. 

That was it – the final reminder for Sarah-Allen that starting this app was the right thing to do. A perfectly timed gift was the sign she needed to go all in on ‘the app,’ or as she likes to say, her fourth child. 

And we’re so thankful she did because we’re just getting started.