By Shayna Mace | Photography by Hillary Schave
Corrina Crade Cunningham and Patrick Cunningham are the definition of successfully navigating life as working parents. Sitting in their sun-filled home office/ sunroom they deftly pass four-month-old River back and forth for diaper changes, feedings and rockings without missing a beat during both of our conversations. Their teamwork is seamless, and the loving attention they pay to their baby while concurrently talking about their other baby, The Mindfluencers, is a symbolic fusion of both of their passions: family and building their own business.
Their entrepreneurial venture The Mindfluencers (themindfluencers.com) entails a website, TV show, YouTube and social media channels that encompass the concept of implementing easy, eco-friendly habits for families — without the guilt. That means educating people on sustainable swaps such as beeswax paper for Ziploc bags or digging into Madison-area companies that embody eco-friendly practices. The couple’s show, “Discover Wisconsin Presents: The Mindfluencers” (which they produce and host) will release its second, eight-episode season in October 2022.
In the meantime, the couple is also gearing up for the April YouTube release of another project they produce and host titled “The Adventures of Pogie the Yogie,” which stars Patrick as Pogie. The 15- to 30-minute episodes take kids ages 2-8 on adventures and end with yoga and mindful movement. Corrina describes it as “Blippi meets Mr. Rogers.”
Being on camera comes easily to Corrina and Patrick. The two met in Chicago as actors in their mid-20s. At the time, Corrina had already formed her own entertainment company called Crademade Entertainment and had produced her first film entitled “Oranges.” The film was shot in Madison and 95% of the cast was from the area, she says.
She also worked as a casting director in Chicago, and she and Patrick ran in the same circles. (Patrick laughs that Corrina even turned him down for a role she was casting for her film before she knew him.) Patrick, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was working in business development for a design firm and as an adjunct professor at the time. Patrick jokes he asked Corrina to attend several social events before she agreed to go to one with him, and not long after that, the couple became an item. They got married in 2015. Wanting to be closer to family, they relocated to Madison where Corrina grew up.
In 2013 Corrina started MogaMind, a company whose goal is to “make mindfulness easy” by combining elements of gratitude, mindfulness and visualization. (Growing up, both of Corrina’s parents practiced mindfulness techniques, so she was raised with this mentality.) Patrick is a certified yoga teacher, so the two would produce and host meditation, yoga and mindfulness sessions for individuals and corporate clients.
Then, the pandemic hit. With Patrick working full-time for a cloud compliance software company and Corrina taking care of their two older children — Julian, now 5, and Penelope, now 3 — she started to feel a shift toward her feelings for MogaMind.
“For me, it wasn’t about meditating for 20 minutes in the morning [anymore], which was right for us when we started MogaMind. But now, I can’t do that,” she says, laughing. “I wake up to a screaming baby who wants to breastfeed. We love being creative — we’re entertainers. So, [MogaMind] started to feel like it’s not as creative as who we both really are.”
The couple made the decision to have Patrick continue MogaMind, which still offers corporate mindfulness sessions and yoga classes. In April 2021, they launched The Mindfluencers — the name a combination of “mindfulness” and “influencer.” Influencers work with brands who typically pay them to promote their products in social media posts and videos. Patrick and Corrina have collaborated with local and national brands such as Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin and Dropps, and those partnerships generate revenue so that they can continue their work. Corrina says they run The Mindfluencers as a business — but every company or product they share they love — or use themselves. At its core, The Mindfluencers is about being thoughtful about the resources we use and the world we’re leaving for future generations.
Corrina notes that social media has given women — particularly women of color — huge platforms to build their brands. But, there’s also a negative side to it, she says.
“It’s shopping and clicking, and everything’s so quick. So, I had to jump on the bandwagon a little bit [to be an influencer] … but I wanted to be mindful about what I was creating, and the products I was promoting. I wanted a different twist on it.”
Both Corrina and Patrick shoot and host episodes of their show, and Patrick edits all of them. Corrina fits
in chunks of work throughout the day when the older kids are in school, and the couple also frequently work and edit together after the kids have gone to bed. Episodes have centered on Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, secondhand clothing store Once Upon A Child and Just Coffee Cooperative.
The couple’s no-guilt approach to eco-friendliness comes from their own experiences as a family. Corrina says the goal with The Mindfluencers isn’t about pitching everything that’s not eco-friendly in your home and starting over. Maybe you still buy fruit squeeze pouches for your baby to eat, but you make a concerted effort to bring a reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop for your daily cup of joe. It’s about implementing small, incremental changes to a family’s daily routine — many of which don’t really “feel” any different.
“Being a mom was eye-opening to me [in terms of ] consumption. But, we don’t always have a choice about what we buy — you can’t not buy clothes, shoes and toys for children. That all has packaging, and then you clean a lot more when you have kids,” she continues. “So when you look at all of those things, you realize the impact you’re having [on consumption].”
Patrick says families hold the power to make small changes in a big way — they represent 60% of gross domestic product in the U.S. — and that’s what The Mindfluencers is targeting.
“There’s empowerment in knowing the impact that all of these households have. Yes, we’re just one household, but together as a group, household consumption represents one of the mightiest economic forces the planet has ever seen. So, small steps can make a bigger impact — which is our hope,” he says.
Corrina and Patrick are excited for what’s to come with The Mindfluencers. They’ve already collaborated with brands such as Green Toys, Green Life Trading Co. and Just Coffee Cooperative. Corrina has her sights set on the business becoming a juggernaut in the “green” family space. Lofty goals include growing their reach, being spokespeople on a larger scale for family/environmental issues, traveling and hosting live events at schools, and even partnering with toy and home product companies that align with their mission. The sky is the limit — but it all circles back to their dual loves of family and entrepreneurship.
“We don’t want to be working on stuff, and tell our kids ‘OK, we’re going to go and work.’ We want them to be included,” says Corrina. “We would love to be working on this full-time. This is our heart, and our passion.”
Try These Green Products
Consider subbing out some of your daily essentials for these easy, green substitutes that Corrina and Patrick love.
Full Circle and Lunchskins sandwich bags. Full Circle bags are reusable and easy to clean, and Lunchskins bags are 100% compostable and made from plants. The packaging for both is also recyclable. Find both at Target or on Amazon.
Sturdy tote bags. “We love our big burlap tote with our favorite city on it — you can find these at local boutique Cosa Boutique,” says Corrina.
Dropps detergent pods. “They’re easy to use … and they actually work. They come in compostable packaging, are made with earth-friendly ingredients and can be shipped right to your door,” says Corrina. Find them locally at Green Life Trading Co., or use code MINDFLUENCER on dropps.com for 25% off.
Brentwood Home items. “You can get anything from dog beds, to mattresses, to bedding, to yoga mats, to kids’ stuff and more. The company uses recycled materials, is 100% carbon-negative and follows Forest Stewardship Council sustainability standards. Their products are luxurious and a purchase from [the brand] will last a long time,” explains Corrina. brentwoodhome.com
Green Toys. Crafted out of 100% recycled plastic and made in the U.S., Green Toys’ packaging is even made out of recycled material. Find them at Satara Home and Baby in Middleton.
Full Circle Sponges. This product is 100% plastic-neutral — for every one ounce of plastic used, the company collects waste plastic from the environment. They’re also made from plant-based cellulose. Buy them at Target.
Madison Companies The Mindfluencers Love
Patrick shares the following about the local grocer:
- 100% green power (the Environmental Protection Agency defines green power as “electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.”)
- Food Miles signage conveys to customers how far each item travels from where it’s produced to the shelves
- Shades over produce areas to reduce energy needs at night
- Offers customers money back for bringing in their own bags, and shoppers can keep the money or donate it to a local charity of the month
Plato’s Closet, Once Upon A Child and Style Encore
These stores make thrifting look good.
Plato’s Closet sells men’s and women’s clothing, Style Encore caters just to women and Once Upon A Child sells kids’ clothing and accessories. Sell your clothes and take the cash on the spot or use the money to buy other styles from the store. With only 15% of clothing recycled, this is a way to help those numbers increase. In just the last year, 18 million tons of clothing ended up in our landfills.
Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables Trash Lab
In partnership with the Madison Children’s Museum, this traveling exhibit informs visitors on how they can create less trash and rethink our relationship with waste. Housed in a fully accessible, 27-foot-long repurposed cargo trailer, the Trash Lab features more than 10 playful interactive stations, engaging stories and a wealth of data, along with compelling photography and video footage. landfill.countyofdane.com/projects/wastandrenewableprojects/trash-lab
Green Life Trading Co.
Owned by Sasha Stone (a BRAVA 2021 Woman to Watch), this shop has green swaps for disposable products you use every day — like paper towels, sponges and more. Stone is committed to zero-waste packaging and is almost 100% plastic free.
This local cab company has a 100% electric vehicle fleet. Patrick says featuring them in a Mindfluencers episode perfectly fit their focus on making, easy, green choices. According to Green Cab’s website, they’ve saved 100-plus tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the output from 11,252 gallons of gasoline.