For Goldune, a new online store for environmentally friendly home goods, sustainability is a spectrum. "Sustainable" is a buzzword these days, most often used as a way to sell more stuff. Goldune makes specific an otherwise vague and misleading term by breaking it down into a few components: whether it's biodegradable or compostable to whether it was made with clean energy or with zero waste. And to help you navigate the often confusing nature of sustainability, everything at Goldune comes with a literal rating on a sustainability spectrum ranging from "Super Sustainable" to "Getting Better."
Azora Zoe Paknad founded Goldune in 2020 to curate all of her favorite sustainable products — from home decor and food to snacks and personal grooming — in one place. The site's name is a transliteration of the world "گلدان," which means “flower vessel” in Farsi, Paknad's first language. "If I wanted to get really deep about it, I'd say we’re a vessel for nature, " she says. "But to tell you the truth, I just liked the sound, spelling and compound wordiness of the English transliteration."
While sustainability seems to be everywhere nowadays, it's only really entered the national conversation within the last couple years. (You'll remember the plastic straw bans everyone seemed to hop on.) A website like Goldune may seem long overdue, but it's actually just now ushering in a new type of sustainable shopping. "We're part of a new wave of retailers iterating on existing concepts (like selling home and lifestyle goods, or selling sustainable goods, or in our case, combining the two into something new) and if we'd started sooner there'd have been nothing to iterate on," Paknad says.
Goldune isn't here to shame everyone into turning into a composting, shoe-less hippie, and is avoiding what Paknad calls "fear based marketing, all-or-nothing energy [and] the shame and judgment that a lot of zero waste or sustainable retailers do." The approachable nature of Goldune is seen in the friendly design and the items themself, which skew towards design-conscious millennials, who don't want sustainability to outweigh looks.
Even behind the curtain, Goldune is building an inclusive community that goes against what Paknad calls "mainstream sustainable shopping" that "largely appeals to wealthy white folks." The store makes a conscience effort to stock products and brands from women and the BIPOC community. As of the first financial quarter in 2021, 72 percent of the brands Goldune stocks are led by women, and 39 percent of the brands are BIPOC founded.
Goldune is, first and foremost, a store. But it's also a resource for how to be more eco-conscious by providing knowledge through its blog and social media channels. Most recently, the store gave away sustainable book club reads so people could be informed about climate change. People are going to shop anyway, and Goldune offers a way for people shop better, both for themselves and for the world at large.
"Yes, the planet would be best served by the end of consumption altogether— but I don't see that happening tomorrow," Paknad says. "Until we figure out how that works and what that looks like, I wanted to build the next best way to buy things for Earth and the people on it."
Five Items to Buy
Bamboo Compost Bin
The easiest way to do a little something good for the earth? Compost. This compact countertop-sized bin is perfect for easy dumping, it's lined with charcoal for zero odor.
Atelier Saucier Hickory Stripe 4-Piece Napkin Set
Skip the disposable napkins for a set that's reusable and complements the rest of your dinnerware. The made-in-LA napkins are fashioned out of reclaimed fabrics, and there are a whole bunch of patterns to choose from.
Kyrgies Felted Wool Slippers
Wool, felt, rubber and silicone come together to make a cozy house slipper that's moisture-wicking and odor-resistant.
Denim Two-Bottle Wine Tote
Listen, you're going to buy wine anyway so you might as well skip out on all those constant to-go bags. It's decked out in denim that rivals your own jeans, you'll use this for more than just wine. Also, it's totally biodegradable (though we don't expect you to toss this any time soon), and it's made in a zero-waste facility.
Ochre Linen Dog Bed
Deadstock fabric is turned into your dog's new favorite chill spot. The bed includes a sachet of lavender that as a mosquito repellent and mood enhancer.