Our December Mom Crush could not be more fitting for this season of giving. We were honored to have the opportunity to chat with FEED Projects founder Lauren Bush Lauren who has dedicated her career to fighting against hunger across the globe. FEED’s line of products that give back started with the signature FEED bag and has since expanded to jewelry, home accessories, and various handbag styles all marked with a number that represents the meals provided from the purchase. 

In addition to running FEED Projects in New York City, Lauren is the mom of two precious young boys. At a FEED Supper in Houston a few weeks ago, we had the chance to catch up with Lauren in her hometown about her growing business and family. Read on below for the full scoop!

Tell us a little about what FEED looked like when you launched — from number of employees to your office, etc. — as well as where the company stands today.

LBL: Over the past ten years, FEED has evolved from a single bag (and a company that operated out of my apartment) to an omni-channel lifestyle brand — sometimes it’s hard for even myself to believe how far we’ve come. We’ve introduced new categories, including jewelry and apparel, and extended our assortment to include leather.  In May 2017, we opened the FEED Shop & Café in DUMBO, Brooklyn – which had been a long term dream of mine. It has been so special to see our customers shopping and engaging with FEED in person, and how meaningful the space has become as a place to gather in the DUMBO community for events, coffee dates and a gifting destination for locals and tourists alike.

You’ve expanded the product collection from the original FEED bag to home accessories, coffee, jewelry, your FEED Shop & Cafe and more. Do you have any exciting next steps for the brand? How do you see it growing and evolving in the next 10 years?

LBL: FEED remains committed to our roots – making good products that do good, by helping feed the children of the world. To date, we have provided over 103 million meals. As we continue to expand, we are focusing on product innovation, creative retail channels, grassroots initiatives and dynamic programming to provide new tangible experiences and opportunities for people to make a daily impact in the fight against global hunger. While we have come a long way and have definitely made a difference, there’s always so much more to do. Truly, I feel like we are just getting started.

As CEO & Co-Founder, plus being the face of FEED, you must have a very full calendar! What does a typical work day look like for you? Do you have any favorite / least favorite responsibilities?

LBL: My days vary, which I love, but I generally split my time keeping in touch with our giving partners on the ground providing meals and touching all areas of the company at FEED HQ, including design. I work closely with our small, but mighty, design team to ensure everything we produce harkens back to our mission and the aesthetic we’ve maintained and built-upon since day one.  Getting to see ideas become reality – whether it is a bag or a partnership – is my favorite part of my job. My least favorite would probably be anything to do with accounting…

You launched FEED Supper to encourage people to give back by hosting donation based meals in their own homes. How did this idea initially spark? Do you personally love hosting people for meals in your own home?

LBL: We started FEED Supper as a way to turn every occasion into an opportunity to give back, in a way that is versatile, attainable and democratic. It’s truly all about friendship, connections, and generosity. This holiday season, we partnered with West Elm on three exclusive FEED Supper Toolkits that provide consumers with everything they need to host their own FEED Supper, from place cards to thank you notes. I personally love hosting at my home and bringing people together. At my house, it’s pretty much always a FEED Supper, and that’s the beauty of this activation — it’s so easy to integrate into even the most low-key gatherings. For example, on World Food Day, Team FEED gathered at my house for a FEED Supper where we made pizzas together – casual and impactful.

You recently welcomed your second baby boy into the world — congratulations! How has being a mom impacted your overall view on life and your career? Are there any specific perspectives or priorities that have shifted?

LBL: Becoming a parent, which inevitably means obsessing over what you are feeding your child and how healthy and happy they are, has really brought the mission of FEED to life for me in a new way. I have met countless parents around the world who, because of difficult circumstances, just do not have the means to feed their kids what they need. This sad fact is all the more heartbreaking now that I am a mom myself and can really empathize with the burning desire most every parent has to provide the very best for your kids.

Do you have any weekly practices or routines that help you find a sense of balance between work and motherhood? Do you believe that a balance can be established?

LBL: I spend time before and after work and on the weekends with my two sons, James and Max, and it forces me to be present and playful.  They have such an innate curiosity and excitement for life! Their energy is the best reminder to focus on all that is good, rather than whatever it is that feels overwhelming or stressful at the moment. I try not to be hard on myself in striving to achieve the perfect, elusive ‘work/life’ balance.

Do you have any advice for new moms on how to find time for yourself and maintain a sense of self while also nurturing and raising your kids?

LBL: I am likely needing more advice in this area than I able to give it, but finding time for at least one thing a day that is for me – not for work or for the kids – is important. This can be as small as walking around the corner to get a coffee, squeezing in a quick workout, or calling a friend for a catch-up.  Feeling whole for yourself only allows you to be more whole as a mom and in your workplace. This is all easier said than done, so start with something small and build from there.

Raising children in New York City must be so different than in Texas where you grew up. What are your favorite parts about raising a family in New York?

LBL: Raising kids in New York City has been a lot less daunting than I thought it would be.  The city is chock full of wonderful, stimulating activities for kids, from playgrounds to museums and more. It is nice to feel that most everything you want to do and experience with your kids isn’t even a drive away, but just a quick stroll from your house.  I’ve also been so grateful for the amazing community of other families we have met that are also raising kids in the city.

What life lesson or value do you most hope to teach your boys?

LBL: The importance doing something you love, while also living a life of meaning and helping others.

What is your favorite way to spend a day off with your family?

LBL: A lazy morning with my boys, a meandering walk to brunch, either in our neighborhood or a new part of NYC we may not have explored, followed by a nice nap . I love to cook on weekends, so I would end the day by making dinner and watching a movie with my husband after the boys are asleep.

Do you have any book and/or podcast recommendations for other working moms and business owners?

LBL: I love to read and recently finished the classic, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it.  I also recommend Meg Wolitzer’s latest, The Female Persuasion. I have been listening to a lot of “Skimm’d from the Couch” podcast episodes, which are always helpful when you need an inspirational boost and some honest, relatable female entrepreneur stories. The goop podcast is great too and one of my go-to’s for new perspectives on all things, including motherhood.

Three things you never leave home without:

LBL: My FEED bag, a reusable water bottle, and a pack of crayons or toy car to keep my toddler entertained.

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