Susan Correa Leads In Sustainable And Organic Production Efforts In Kids’ Fashion
What you’ll learn in this interview:
- Business can be used as a force for good
- It is in giving that you truly do receive
- Business should be a one win model, not a zero-sum game
- Nourish yourself first so you can nourish others next
- Challenge the status quo as a changing world needs a changing vision
How This Mompreneur Is Creating Safe Clothing For Kids And How She Runs Her Business
1. What do you do? Who do you help?
Nature protects our kids with three layers to their skin. We get to put on the fourth layer.
We may not “digest” clothes the way we do food, but what we put onto and up against our kid’s bodies does matter in more ways than one. The most used fabric for kids clothing. Conventional cotton is made with the very chemicals & toxins we want to protect our kids from so we ensure organic food diets. Why would we have them live in that day in and day out?
Conventional cotton has earned the dubious distinction of being the world’s dirtiest crop. It occupies 3% of global farmland and uses 25% of the world’s pesticides and 16% of the world’s insecticides in its manufacture. About half the chemicals used are classified by the World Health Organization as hazardous leading to the loss of 20,000 farmers annually. 67 million birds are unintentionally lost due to pesticide spraying. These chemicals then seep into run-off water after heavy rains, poisoning life in our lakes, rivers and waterways eventually coming right back to us.
On learning these truths – I felt convicted to course correct. Prior to building Art & Eden, I was blinded in my pursuit of profit at any cost. On learning the truth about my impact on the planet, I exited two multi-million dollar businesses to reimagine a better way forward for business and built Art & Eden’s commitment toward making the world a brighter, better and greener place. We make remarkable children’s clothing responsibly.
We believe that business can be used as a force for good, that our process and profits have the power to serve the needs of local and global communities. We take a holistic approach to sustainability, including every touch point from process to product to consumer and beyond.
All our clothes are made with sustainable fabrics—organic cotton or recycled polyester—certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (G.O.T.S). We use low impact dyes. We seek out and partner with mission-aligned factories similarly spearheading their own social initiatives. We strive for a cradle-to-cradle operation, where what we make can be re-used, recycled or can decompose. We ship in biodegradable polybags and use recycled hangtags and boxes for our e-commerce packaging.
Kids are at the root of all we do. That’s why we don’t stop at design. At Art & Eden we care that our local and global communities and proceeds from every garment bought will be used to positively impact the life of a child in need. We recognize we cannot solve all problems – but we don’t let what we can’t do stand in the way of what we can do. We have delivered 1.4 million multivitamins and 7,000 dozens of Albendazole for children across Central America. We paid it forward and committed to the program even before Art & Eden even launched.
Our team is beyond excited to partner with the Camden St. School in Newark, NJ, where 95% of the students live below the poverty line. We are developing a program in which our staff will regularly volunteer to provide literacy support, creative engagement, and mentoring. Over the school year, students will visit us in NYC to participate in hands-on learning experiences in fashion and social entrepreneurship.
At Art & Eden we recognize that all of us can be great because all of us can serve. We are each but a strand in the web of life and are each responsible for the good of all of us. Our individual good rests in our collective good. What happens to one of us eventually affects all of us. We are committed to bringing conscience back to commerce.
2. List your favorite business tools.
3. What is a good course, website or book you would recommend and why?
4. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
An unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
This is my husband’s favorite quote. Over the last five years, he has always challenged me and the kids not to accept culturally indoctrinated teachings as Gospel Truths but to challenge the status quo and arrive at informed decisions.
This simple quote propelled me to act upon my understanding of the business of fashion. It was the seed that this quote planted that led to the build-out of Art & Eden.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
It is the most exhilarating opportunity, to build a product or offer a service that can change the world or change “conventional normal”. It is truly a gift to be able to build something that matters.
The road, however, is not a bed of roses, but if you can challenge yourself to see opportunity in every adversity and commit to putting your very best work into the world, with your attention on the intention of making a difference, you will emerge victorious and a contributor to global good. It’s worth it. Learn to be lucky and have fun building.
6. What is your beauty and/or fitness routine?
I believe beauty rests in the depths of the goodness of your inner being and can radiate through you to light up the world. I ensure that I invest in caring first for myself, so I can be fully present and can give completely, when I have to care for others.
My daily beauty routine involves surrounding myself with things I love including:
Nurturing loving relationships are also part of tapping into one’s inner beauty. I experience an unsurpassed joy when I am able to go on long walks, trails and hikes with my family in wooded paths that nestle running water where ducks and deer meander.
I believe in the fitness of the mind and the body.
- For my body – I do a 20 minute HIIT workout and 20-minute dance workout Monday to Friday.
- For my mind – I read daily and I do watch a 20-minute clean comedy show daily to add humor and lightheartedness to my day.
7. List the products or items that are indispensable in your life.
8. Which female entrepreneur(s) do you look up to and why?
Anjula Acharia is an entrepreneur turned investor that has defied the status quo, shattered stereotypes and is on a mission to support female founders to find their footing. She has a distinct ability to bridge divides and straddle industries and geographies with grace, panache, and joy. I love her joie de vivre.
I also admire Katrina Lake because she is an incredible example of a CEO standing tall in a male-dominated technology world. Katrina Lake built on the upside of being underestimated. She defied the skeptics and has revolutionized the traditional shopping experience.
9. List your social media platforms.
- Facebook @susan.correa.73
- Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/susan-correa-60541722
- Instagram @artandeden
- Website www.artandeden.com