Brookdale Community College has a rich history of nurturing talented individuals who contribute significantly to various fields. Lauren Hansen, and Camilo Cadavid, husband, and wife, and both alums, have embarked on an inspiring journey to develop a new business.
While at Brookdale, Lauren stumbled upon a study abroad flyer that sparked her interest. With the assistance of an advisor, she began a step-by-step journey to turn her study abroad dream to study design into a reality. She dedicated herself to her studies, sought help from the writing lab, was inducted into the Psi Beta National Honor Society, and eventually received the Gilman International and Elaine Baran scholarships, enabling her to study abroad.
“When I walked across the bridges of Florence, Italy, I was overwhelmed by the realization that I had accomplished something remarkable,” she said.
Camilo graduated from Brookdale Community College and Georgian Court University, studying psychology. Initially, he worked for the Hackensack Meridian Health (MHH) network, then transferred to the construction business to support his family. There he soon became disillusioned with the wastefulness of modern building techniques and developed an interest in natural building methods. He studied with the Cob Cottage Company in Oregon, learning how to build outdoor kitchen clay ovens and livable cottages using clay, sand, and straw.
Inspired by their own experiences, Lauren, Camilo, and their daughter and son known as “themudbunch” are embarking on a new venture that focuses on sustainable construction. This fall they will be pursuing further education at the renowned Cob Hill Natural Building School in Texas.
“This apprenticeship will provide us with a valuable learning experience that aligns with our goal of eventually creating our own structures and teaching others about natural building methods,” said Lauren. “After Texas, we plan to settle in Florida or Arizona to create a school and wellness haven to bring people of all ages and backgrounds to teach, empower, and cultivate harmonious earth-based living.”
In addition to their work in natural building, with Lauren’s background in cosmetology and esthetics, and Camilo’s psychology background, their new business venture will offer additional services such as botanical facials and wellness weekends, connecting the physical construction work with a focus on mental health and community building.
Lauren has been exploring resources from Brookdale’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and working with non-profit organizations to establish and grow the business. They have already collaborated with non-profit organizations like Feed NYC to provide their expertise and build ovens for community use.
This fall Lauren and Camilo will embark on their quest to develop a business that shares joy, love, and light with communities across the United States and beyond.
“Our goal is to instill in our children and the new generations a deep connection to nature, self-sustainability, culture, and service,” Lauren said. “And our intention is for the passion and power behind our project to be felt and shared with wider circles.”