Follow your passion

09.27.13

Lauren Bush Lauren: "Don't Get Discouraged"

The founder of FEED took time out from the Social Good Summit this week to give some hard-won advice to young activists.

Lauren Bush Lauren is the founder of FEED, a company that produces stylish hand bags that are seen around the world, on the shoulders of diplomats, celebrities, college students and socially conscious consumers. I had the opportunity to speak with Lauren at Mashable’s Social Good Summit. I was impressed by Lauren’s humility, earnest passion to improve the world and also by her words of encouragement for young people to find what she calls the “sweet spot” between what you love and your ability to make the world a better place. Lauren has found that spot. She reported that a portion of the profits from the sales of FEED bags in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme’s School Feeding Program have provided almost 60 million school meals to hungry children around the world.

 

The Daily Beast: What was the “ah-ha” moment that sparked you into action?

Lauren Bush Lauren: My journey started as a sophomore in college when I had the opportunity to travel with the World Food Program, as a student ambassador of sorts. Through the personal experience of traveling and seeing the issue of hunger that so many live with around the world—especially the innocent children—I really felt a need to do something, and to create a way for young people to get involved in the fight to end world hunger.

Often times, young people either don’t want to give to a giant organization, or can’t yet because they are students, or they are just staring out their careers. But there are still ways to get involved and to be active. I knew that I wanted to do something in design, but I also wanted to give back.

 

What advice do you have for others who want to make a positive change in the world or address an issue that they see in their communities?

Everyone has his or her own unique perspective as well as talents and things they are naturally drawn towards. Really tap into those talents and passions and then, ideally, find a way to combine them in a way that makes the world a better place. Balancing this is really the sweet spot—so search for that.

I graduated from college without a job. I needed time to do some soul-searching. I had the idea for FEED for two years of college, but I did not know where it was going to go. If you can, allow yourself time to do soul-searching and to figure out what you are truly meant to be doing. You could wake up 10 years later having done 10 different jobs and realize that none of it was what you should have been doing.

 

You are so successful. Was it always easy?

There is a saying that ‘everything worth doing isn’t easy,’ and I really believe that’s true, because some things do come together wonderfully, and it does seem meant to be, but it does take a lot to get yourself to a place to be open to that happening. For me, personally, it was three full years of having the ideation and thinking before FEED came to fruition. Things don’t necessarily happen overnight. I am still in the thick of it and continue to learn on the job.

It is not easy, and you can’t be stubborn with your ideas, because you have to change and adapt to new opportunities that come your way, while staying true to your ultimate vision and purpose. It is really a balancing act, but don’t get discouraged.

Life is too short to be doing something that you do not want to do. What can you lose by making a go of starting something from scratch, or by working for a nonprofit that you really respect or admire? You might as well give it a try!

 

How Can People Get Involved with FEED?

Lots of ways! You can buy our FEED bags, make a donation to our foundation, or run in one of our 10K Races in NY, Chicago and San Francisco. In addition, we encourage volunteerism everywhere, and if you visit our website and enter your zip code, we will provide you with opportunities to get involved in volunteer efforts in your neighborhood.