You’ve probably heard of Lauren Bush Lauren, the daughter-in-law of iconic fashion designer Ralph Lauren and the granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush and niece of President George W. Bush. But did you know Lauren Bush is also the founder and CEO of FEED, a lifestyle brand with a social mission to help solve global childhood hunger? As a former model for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch and Isaac Mizrahi, she was featured on the covers of Vogue and Vanity Fair. Having grown up in a family with a history of public service, it’s not surprising to see Lauren merge her love for fashion with giving back. It’s impressive to see how FEED has grown into a lifestyle brand with top Hollywood celebrities sporting FEED bags. Going into its 12th year, FEED has provided over 103 million school meals. Lauren Bush took some time from her busy schedule to talk to Suburbs 101 about FEED and her take on city living versus suburban living. As a Princeton alum, she also shares her favorite places in Princeton, NJ. Here is our interview with Lauren Bush Lauren- on the city, suburbs and FEED.
You grew up in the suburbs. What do you like best about living in the suburbs?
I grew up in the suburbs of Houston and I liked the freedom and space that came with living in a suburban neighborhood. The house I grew up in had a yard with a tree house that I helped build, a swing and basketball hoop. When the weather was nice, we would be playing outside after school. It was a really friendly way to grow up.
You live in New York City now. What do you like best about living in the city?
I love New York City. The energy and accessibility of living in a big city is really great. I love how much culture is at your fingertips. It is a great city for work, as well as for kids. There’s always something new to explore.
Do you see yourself moving to the suburbs with David and the kids at some point in your life?
David and I don’t have any immediate plans to move out of the city, but we are lucky to often get out of New York City on weekends to Bedford, Montauk or other surrounding New York suburbs. Having the ability to get away makes city living easier.
You spent some time in Princeton, NJ. What were your favorite restaurants in Princeton? What were your go-to places in the Princeton area?
I loved my time at Princeton! Princeton is such a great university and also a great little town. My favorite spots in Princeton are Small World Coffee, PJ’s Pancake House (which I lived above my senior year) and The Bent Spoon for amazing ice cream. And La Mezzaluna is my favorite restaurant in Princeton, NJ.
The idea of FEED came to you during your Princeton years. Tell me more about FEED. How did you get started?
I started FEED after having the opportunity to travel as an ambassador with the UN World Food Programme in college. It was during those trips that I witnessed the severity and reality of hunger around the globe firsthand. I knew I wanted to do something to help. By marrying my love for fashion and design, with my desire to give back and fight hunger, the idea for FEED was born. I started with one bag, the FEED 1 Bag, which is burlap and canvas and reversible. It provides school meals for one child for an entire year in school – 185 school meals – via the World Food Programme. It is still our best-selling bag and the UN World Food Programme is still our main giving partner! We’ve since expanded far beyond that bag, but every single product is still stamped with a number that represents the number of school meals it provides.
Which FEED bag is your bestseller? Which FEED bag is your favorite?
That depends if you are looking for a leather or canvas style bag, but our most notable, longtime best-seller is definitely the FEED 1 Bag. It’s reversible, highly functional and still continues to resonate. I love that bag because of its meaning and versatility, but the FEED bag I carry most often is probably the Market Tote. It’s so chic and functional – I take it everywhere!
The “FEED supper” program looks really interesting! Could you tell us a little bit about it and provide some tips on how to make these events successful and impactful?
FEED Supper was born out of feedback from our core customers that they loved the mission and had purchased products for themselves and others, but wanted to do more. It is a fundraising dinner party initiative that encourages folks to come together to truly share a meal. In lieu of asking your guests to bring wine or dessert, ahead of the Supper, you ask them to donate and then when you gather, celebrate the number of meals you’ve raised. As of 2017, all FEED Supper proceeds stay right here in the U.S., through our partner Feeding America. As for tips, the beauty of FEED Supper is in its accessibility and versatility. Truly any gathering can be a FEED Supper – I’ve seen Suppers that include takeout pizza, wine and good friends, as well as seated, catered events for 50. All of them are wonderful, and most importantly, impactful.
Do you have any plans to expand the FEED shop and café concept in the suburbs of NYC?
Never say never! As of now, we are focused on our first FEED shop & café in DUMBO, Brooklyn, which is doing incredibly well. We’re loving engaging with our customers in a new way and building a space for giving back and coming together, through our event programming.
Anything new and exciting in the works for FEED?
So much. To date, we’ve provided over 103 million meals, and I always like to say, we’re truly just getting started. The future will hold new and innovative ways for our customers to engage with the fight against hunger and get involved. New products, exciting partnerships and more.
About Lauren Bush Lauren
Lauren Bush Lauren is the CEO & Founder of FEED. As a college student, Lauren had the opportunity to travel with the UN World Food Programme. While visiting regions across Central America, Asia and Africa, Lauren witnessed firsthand the realities of extreme poverty and hunger that one in eight people face around the world each day. Inspired by these experiences, Lauren founded FEED as a tangible way for her peers to make an impact in fighting childhood hunger. FEED is a social business with a mission to ‘create good products that help feed the world’ and has given over 100 Million school meals to date. In 2017, FEED celebrated its 10 year anniversary and also opened it’s first FEED Shop & Café in Dumbo Brooklyn. Ultimately, FEED’s vision is to be a lifestyle brand that helps solve global childhood hunger by offering simple & meaningful ways to give through everyday purchases-from the bags we carry, to the food we share, to the places we gather. Lauren lives in NYC with her husband David Lauren and their two sons.
Follow Lauren Bush Lauren
You can follow Lauren Bush Lauren on Instagram: @FEED. Help fight childhood hunger, buy a FEED bag: www.feedprojects.com
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Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our weekly interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.
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