Lauren Bush Lauren Talks About Being Lady Godiva and Her Inspiring FEED Project
First National Lady Godiva Honoree Lauren Bush Lauren: “For Every (FEED) bag we sell, kids are getting meals or nutrients they really need.”
– Diana Denza
For most of us, college was a time for late-night cramming, questionable decisions, and running to our next class in heels. But for FEED co-founder Lauren Bush Lauren, traveling the world to learn about hunger and crippling poverty was part of her schedule.
And all of her hard work has paid off big time: the 27-year-old has recently been announced as the first National Lady Godiva Honoree of The Lady Godiva Program. Honored for her dedication to fighting world hunger and her incredible leadership skills, Lauren and FEED will continue their partnership with Godiva through 2013. You can pick up one of six gorgeous Godiva “FEED 10” tote bags now on and in Godiva stores. The $25 totes will each provide 10 school meals to African children.
We chatted with Lauren about the new Godiva partnership, her work with FEED, and how we can all make a difference. Are you ready to help end hunger?
BettyConfidential: When did your activism start?
Lauren Bush Lauren: I became a hunger activist in college after I had the amazing opportunity to travel around the world with the UN World Food Programme. Just as a student, I was able to visit six countries around the world, and learn about the issues of hunger and poverty that so many face around the world firsthand.
BC: What’s the most rewarding part of your work with FEED?
LBL: There are so many rewarding things about what I do at FEED. I love that I have been able to combine so many things I love doing into one job: design, entrepreneurship, and giving back. It is extremely rewarding to know that for every bag we sell, kids are getting meals or nutrients they really need.
BC: What’s the hardest part?
LBL: There has been a steep learning curve in starting and running FEED for five years now. Now five years in, I have more of an appreciation for all the complexities of running a business. But I look at it this way: with every challenge or growing pain is an opportunity to learn something new and evolve and improve.
BC: Was there ever a time you thought the project might not get off the ground?
LBL: Yes, I of course had my doubts. I was in college when I originally thought of the idea for the FEED bag. It took me a few years to get FEED off the ground and sold to our first retailer, Amazon.com. In those years when FEED was just a bag and a greater concept, I wondered if it would take off. My gut told me it would, but not until I saw the first stranger with a FEED bag walking down the street in NYC did I truly know that FEED was something people would respond to.
BC: Which countries do you plan to work with next?
LBL: We are launching a FEED India collection of products this summer, which will go back to support school feeding in India. All the products are beautiful and handmade by artisans in India.
BC: We know you’ve done everything from TOMS shoes to a Clarins partnership. Do you plan to eventually expand the line into clothing?
LBL: We do T-shirts, but that is all the clothing for now. I think the FEED brand could go into several categories, but I am also very protective about growing our brand naturally and organically.
Some of the FEED Project products available on their site: Feed 12 Toms ahoes ($58, feedprojects.com), FEED Health backpack ($150, feedprojects.com), FEED Our Small World Bib ($18, Feedprojects.com), FEED USA canvas tote ($29.50, feedprojects.com), FEED Joy candle ($15, feedprojects.com)
BC: Who are your personal style icons?
LBL: I think style is very individual. Women like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn were obviously very chic, but we all have to find what resonates and works best for us.
BC: How did the Godiva partnership come about?
LBL: I was introduced to Godiva about a year and a half ago when they were beginning to plan their Lady Godiva Program, which honors and highlights women who are making a difference. I am very honored to be their first National Lady Godiva, and so thrilled to partner with them on FEED.
BC: What were your biggest inspirations for the Godiva & FEED partnership?
LBL: For our first product partnership, FEED has made bags exclusively for Godiva that are handmade by women in Liberia. Each bag sold provides ten school meals to kids living in cocoa producing countries where Godiva sources their chocolate from, like Ghana in Africa. The bag is launching now, just in time for Mother’s Day.
BC: What other causes are you involved with?
LBL: FEED is really my main focus. However, I am also supportive of my family’s two causes: the Points of Light Foundation (which encourages volunteerism and service to others) and the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation (which supports literacy programs in America).
BC: How can women get involved in making a difference?
LBL: I believe women are already making a huge difference at their community level and for the world at large. Women tend to be more empathetic and caring. And I think it is wonderful that Godiva has set up this program to really shine a light on women doing good things. You can nominate a woman who you think deserves recognition for her good work by visiting LadyGodivaProgram.com.
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential.