Lauren Bush and FEED Expand from Bags to Home Collection to Feed Kids
Growing up in a political family, Lauren Bush Lauren has always been aware of the need to serve and step up. In the 15 years since she began designing chic totes with block letters FEED emblazoned on them, her company has helped to provide 100 million meals for children in need, both in the US and all over the world. Bush, the niece of President George W. Bush and wife to David Lauren, has created an empire of her own, yet manages to stay humble, grounded, and not take herself too seriously.
Going into the giving season, she sits down with The Beet to discuss her company and a new "Home" collection of artisan-made salad bowls, salad servers, and various other tabletop items and also reveals what she eats in a day. Having been a vegetarian since she was seven years old, Bush is as authentic as she is self-directed. One of the most impressive things about FEED is how they manage to keep prices reasonable while giving back an impressive number of meals per item.
FEED has evolved from fashion accessory to powerhouse philanthropy
Lauren's line of no-nonsense tote bags has always been a symbol of awareness and sanity in the fashion world, and after ten years it opened its first store. Now located in DUMBO, FEED Shop and Café sells cozy-chic accessories for at-home evenings such as cashmere socks, handsome aprons, and warm, playful outdoor accessories such as beanies and mittens, and scarves as well as coffee and accouterments for coffee-lovers. One of the most impressive aspects of FEED is that for every purchase price, it states exactly how many school lunches you are providing to kids.
Lauren sat down with The Beet to discuss why now, more than ever, as we come out of a global pandemic, our food and consumer choices are important, and her desire to help has only been magnified by the experience. Here Lauren Bush tells Lucy Danziger, Editorial Director of The Beet, what she eats in a day, having been vegetarian since she was seven years old, and how she gets inspired to feed school children – while designing beautiful things.
Note: Give the gift that gives back, and is chic! The FEED Home Collection launches in December. You can join the waitlist today to shop first when it arrives.
Lucy Danziger: What made you want to start FEED?
Lauren Bush: I started feed nearly 15 years ago, it’s so hard to believe it's been that long. The idea to start the company really happened after traveling around the world with the UN Food Program – through that life experience, I witnessed the hunger, poverty, and great disparities that exist in the world.
After meeting kids who are born into this world not knowing where their next meal is coming from, I'd come back from those trips and tell everyone about the issues. It felt very overwhelming, massive, and far away. It took a while to explain to everyone about the massive global issues.
I created FEED and I tied in my love of fashion and design, so it was a merging of all these things. For every FEED product we make and sell, there’s a number attached to the product and that’s the number of school meals that we’re about to donate to kids around the globe and the US.
Lucy Danziger: Tell us about the new collection.
Lauren Bush: We are FEED so we feed kids and it made so much sense to make home goods that relate to food. The products support artisans from all over the world, and right now we're working with artisans in India.
One of the first major retailers that helped launch FEED was Whole Foods, which helped us give back healthy food. We primarily make bags but when we thought about building out our assortment for the holiday, we expanded beyond that and work with artisan groups to make mittens, hats, cozy socks, and more. Everything from FEED gives back.
Lucy Danziger: I’m very admiring of economics. How does the give-back work?
Lauren Bush: A little goes a long way. You can have a really massive impact. We work with giving partners – nonprofits on a large scale – so that a cost of a meal is accessible. We’re working with the World Food Program, another group in India, and No Kid Hungry in the US. There's a double benefit in which we are also helping kids get an education by supplying them with meals at school: It’s a life education for lots of kids.
Lucy Danziger: Do you have any plant-based foods you love?
Lauren Bush: I've been a vegetarian since I was 7 years old – yes, an early commitment. It first started when I put together the connection between my love for animals and the ingredients that go into our food. I’ve gone vegan for different moments at times. My favorite vegan meal right now is massaged kale salad with quinoa, beets, and whatever veggies I have in my fridge. I can eat that for a few days. That’s a go-to for me.
Lucy Danziger: What's your favorite snack?
Lauren Bush: Now that I have kids, I buy more packaged snacks but my favorite snacks are still apples and carrot sticks.
Lucy Danziger: What is your mantra, or words you live by?
Lauren Bush: The mantra I try to live by is to treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s classic but always brings you back to feeling good and how you show up in the world.