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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It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.