4 Min ReadBusiness 05 June 2017
Last week I had the honor to visit the Art & Eden showroom in midtown and chat with its founder and CEO Susan Correa. Correa is the epitome of a girl boss. The fashion veteran's journey includes leading multi-million-dollar apparel operations around the world, co-founding contemporary brand Cooper + Ella and managing a global sourcing company for brands in Europe, the United States and Canada. Her new project, Art & Eden, is her latest cherished creation. The children's clothing brand exudes her passion for fashionably outfitting kids while feeding the less fortunate. When she speaks of helping children in need with her brand, Susan's eyes light up and become imbued with life. "Helping children is something I always wanted to do," she declares.
Susan Correa's global impact goal is to help 4 million lives.
Two years ago, Susan's mentor asked her if there was anything in business that she'd like to do. She couldn't answer the question right away and told him she would get back to him. A few days later while commuting to work, she continued to see a leukemia advertisement on the side of a bus. It read "Someday Is Today." At that moment she knew she had an obligation to use her abundance to help children. Her first thought was to create a collection of clothing that would help feed a child in need in India. "I took the plunge. I launched not one, but two multi-million dollar businesses. Family and friends saw this as crazy, but I knew it to be necessary," Susan affirmed.
Her idea launched Art & Eden and the Empower program. For each Art & Eden piece sold, a child is fed. The program provided a warm, nutritional meal to children at the Hope Foundation School in Bangalore, India. Many of the poverty-stricken students came from families with an income of $50 a month. For some, the lunch served at the school was the only meal the child got for the entire day. The experience was life-altering for Correa.
"Helping children is something I always wanted to do," she declares.
"When I launched Empower I was transformed in my thinking about business and the possibility of harnessing its power to become an incredible force for good," she says. Since that first trip, she's traveled to El Salvador for the same purpose.
With time, Susan realized feeding children wasn't enough. She recalls being a teenager volunteering in the Juhu neighborhood of Mumbai. "I mentored children like the ones in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. They don't go to the doctors. Growing up we weren't rich, but my parents made sure we had doctor check-ups. I wanted these kids to have medical aid."
Along with Global Giveback and a team of 60 volunteer doctors, Susan traveled to El Salvador on November 4th. The launch of the first leg of the program, the team of 80 handed out vitamins, taught kids how to brush their teeth and wash their hands, distributed medicine to keep them parasite-free and gave medical evaluations. The experience left everyone feeling like they made a huge difference to the small community. In the future, the medical program will also visit Guatemala, Paraguay, and other countries in Central America. Susan Correa's global impact goal is to help 4 million lives. She's even making a local impact by providing a leadership program at the Camden Street School in Newark, New Jersey, where 95 percent of the students live below the poverty line and 40 percent of the students are special needs.
At that moment she knew she had an obligation to use her abundance to help children.
Through the years, consumers have made it a priority to shop with a conscience. They want to know that the products and brands they invest their money in are fair trade, use organic or sustainable materials, and treat workers with respect. Blending fashion with charity, Art & Eden uses low impact dyes and certified organic textiles.
Their line is made with organic cotton and all clothing is produced at factories that share Art & Eden's vision of a better world. Prices are affordable (starting at $20) and prints are exclusive, one-of-a-kind art by artists from like Stockholm, Brooklyn and Sweden. Susan went through over 400 portfolios to find artists who would add individuality to each piece.
Art & Eden fits children 6 months to 10 years of age and is sold in over 100 boutiques worldwide, through Nordstrom, EL Palacio de Hierro, and at ArtandEden.com.
The Quick 10
1. What app do you most use?
But of course : Google docs.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine
Wake up every single day filled with gratitude for yet another day to live and to love. Come down to my favorite breakfast prepared every single morning by my amazing husband. Spend 30 minutes each morning in family prayer. Spend 30 minutes en route to work in quiet time and reflection. Enter office and ready to roll!
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Yvon Chouinard –– the reluctant businessman.
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
With a 34 billion valuation, Snapchat for sure.
5. What is your spirit animal?
6. What is your life motto?
Always believe that something wonderful is just about to happen. It actually does.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
Dates & nuts (the dried fruit kind).
8. Every entrepreneur must be able to see:
Opportunity in every adversity.
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Toledo in Central Spain.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
1. My husband who also happens to be my best friend.
2. Tons of books to gain wisdom.
3. A boat to finally get back to Art & Eden
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With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.