News Home & Design Goldune Is a New One-Stop Shop for Sustainable, Ethical Household Goods The woman-owned startup prioritizes companies with female, BIPOC founders. By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Published January 28, 2021 09:13AM EST Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checker Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a writer, fact checker, and conservationist with a certification in sustainability. Our Fact-Checking Process Article fact-checked on Jan 28, 2021 Haley Mast Goldune Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Shopping won't save the world, Azora Zoe Paknad says, "but if you can do a little bit better by the planet on your own terms, wouldn't you?" Paknad is the founder of Goldune, a brand-new startup that sells sustainably-produced household and personal care products online, and she is betting big on the assumption that people want eco-friendly, ethical products in their homes and are willing to buy them if they're more easily accessible. Goldune is barely three months old, after opening in the midst of a global pandemic, but it is already growing rapidly and attracting attention. Its products range from kitchen wares (biodegradable sponges, bamboo compost bins, reusable straws, glass-and-cork jars), to personal care products (bamboo bathrobes, plastic-free hair ties, deodorant in paper tubes, toothpaste tabs, tree-free toilet paper), to household goods (cushions, dishes, linens) and more. The items are colorful, quirky, and eye-catching. This is deliberate on Paknad's part, who told Treehugger that she wanted to do away with "the whole bland, beige, granola aesthetic that we deem eco-friendly," and also welcome people into a more sustainable lifestyle who may not have felt included in the past. She said she noticed "pretty extreme" dominant narratives when she first embraced a more sustainable lifestyle: "A lot of 'slow living' Instagram accounts [were run] by waif-like white influencers selling $600 hemp beige pants. I couldn't identify with that – and I didn't know any real people who could either. On the other end of the spectrum were hard-core zero wasters who swore they never generated even a scrap of trash and were pretty judgmental and unaccepting of folks who weren't there yet." Azora Zoe Paknad, founder. Goldune This got her thinking about all the people she knew in her own life who didn't fit into either of these two narratives, and yet had sincere desires to live in a greener fashion: "A friend who lost their job due to COVID and struggled to make ends meet, another friend working insane, unhealthy hours just to squeeze by, a loved one with debilitating cancer, another loved one with cancer caring for a differently-abled child ... those people all wanted to do a little bit better by the planet, but had no place to start. There were no reflections of people like them in the eco-friendly Instagram bubble. There was no welcome wagon." Goldune is Paknad's response to a lack of diversity in the sustainability sphere. She describes the website and its associated online community as a shame- and judgment-free zone, a place where you can buy handmade products from companies that are 70% women-owned and 29% BIPOC-owned. Paknad wants people to understand there's no judgement about where they're at on their personal sustainability journey: "You are welcomed, accepted and valued, whether you are a climate-marching homesteading composter or you're sipping out of a single-use plastic straw at this very moment." Each product listing has an "End of Life" description that explains how best to dispose of it once finished. This description shows refreshing consideration for circularity and responsible packaging design. Paknad explained, "If we're selling you something, and we're pitching you on why it's so great and where it's made and what its materials are, we can't just abandon that responsibility once we ship it out! We need to own its impact on our planet forever... For now, we manage that responsibility by telling you exactly how to dispose of everything we sell, down to the packaging tape, in a way that doesn't harm the planet." If only more companies took this approach, we might not have as huge a trash problem as we do. No brand wants to be the one avoided because its end-of-life direction says to "toss in landfill only." The more we talk about how to dispose of items, the more companies will be inclined to rethink their packaging. Goldune hosts a weekly live Q&A session on its Instagram page every Sunday, which Paknad says has become a favorite both for her and the community in general. "We talk about everything from how to start a sustainable business, to how to address environmental racism, to what can or can't go in your compost bin." If you live in the US and are looking to invest in some beautiful reusable, eco-friendly items, Goldune is a good place to look. Sometimes it's nice to have a central hub where all of the sustainability-related research has already been done, and you can shop reassured that the backstory has been vetted by professionals. Check it out here.