February 7, 2022
Ask most people, and they’ll likely agree that health and well-being are basic rights that everyone deserves.
As an industry, though, “wellness” is not nearly as inclusive. The commodification of wellness has created a sort of exclusive club that requires a certain level of wealth and privilege to enter, often to the detriment of people of other socioeconomic statuses, races, gender identities, and levels of able-bodiedness.
Golde founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford knows that a wellness industry founded on true wellness means one that is filled with diverse founders offering products designed for all people. After steering Golde toward monumental growth without outside investment, she’s made a place for herself in the wellness industry on her own terms — and at her own pace, which includes thoughtful growth, even as her brand’s popularity blossoms wildly across retail stores and Instagram shelfies alike.
We spoke to Mouzon Wofford about her own views on wellness, from her winter gardening routine to her hope for more representation in positions of leadership across the health and beauty industries.
What are the daily habits and rituals that you lean on to prioritize your own health?
I really think health and wellness is all about finding what feels good for you and leaning into that. I definitely prioritize eating foods that aren’t too processed, and (of course) tons of superfood boosters! My favorites are our Coconut Collagen Boost (the perfect vegan creamer for coffee or tea), Shroom Shield (a mushroom boosted hot cocoa), and Debloat Ade (for just-add-water instant gut relief).
Outside of diet, I limit my screen time after work hours and make sure to get some time outside whenever I can — even if it’s just a brief walk around the block. In Spring and Summer, I spend most of my free time gardening! It’s easy to get trapped into always being “on” when you’re working from home, so creating those boundaries and finding other activities to take you outside of the work zone are key.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting Golde?
So many challenges! I started Golde at 23 years old, and self-funded the business with virtually no experience or connections. Every single thing was a learning — manufacturing, marketing, working with big retailers. Honestly though, I think I’m glad that we did it that way. I was out there with a big smile and big dreams, and the attitude that I would just “figure it out.” No amount of expertise or venture capital makes a brand a guaranteed success. It’s all learnings, so going through it with that positive mindset and not too many expectations felt like a good place to start.
You’ve talked publicly about how you’re the only Black woman running a major wellness brand. Do you think the wellness industry is a space that welcomes and encourages diversity?
I think that it’s moving in the right direction. I see so much more representation of diverse folks in the wellness space now compared to when we started just five years ago. That said, it’s not just about having people of color in a marketing campaign — we need to be in leadership positions helping to drive strategies. That’s how we build real equity in this space.
How would you like to see the wellness industry evolve?
I think we still see a lot of either extremely expensive products (who can really spend $70+ per month on a single product?!) or affordable products with low-quality formulas. We’re here to say that you can do both. I think so many people feel like wellness isn’t for them because it’s overwhelming, it’s expensive, the products taste gross. At Golde, we’re all about making products that are fairly priced, sustainably sourced, and actually really delicious and fun to use. That’s 100% the future of this industry.
What are your primary goals when you’re developing products for Golde?
We really want the experience to be “feel-good” from beginning to end. So the product needs to have eye-catching design that looks good in your pantry, and it shouldn’t be crazy expensive. It’s got to be fairly easy to use, and the formula needs to be superfood-led. We don’t do artificial ingredients with one or two superfood extracts and then call that a product — all of our products are based primarily (if not 100%) in real superfoods like coconut, pineapple, etc. Most importantly, it has to taste good!
You’ve had some monumental career accomplishments in your career, particularly over the past couple years. What’s the milestone that’s meant the most to you, and why)?
Honestly, the most exciting thing was a very early milestone — the first day I saw Golde on the shelf of our first-ever retail partner. I couldn’t believe that I was really seeing my product in a local shop, next to other brands I admired. That was the moment that this felt real for me.
As Golde grows, how do you make decisions that feel true to the brand’s core values?
We come back to the customer a lot: Who are they, what are they motivated by, and why do they choose Golde? Over time those answers can evolve, so rather than getting too stuck over what you decided 3 years ago, just go back to those authentic conversations with your supporters and engagers. They’ll keep you on the right path.
What’s inspiring you right now?
It’s winter time, which is actually peak planning season for a gardener. Now is when you’re ordering your seeds and thinking about your next projects. The whole experience of gardening has been such an inspiration for me. It teaches you patience, creativity, and also to have a sense of humor about your inevitable failures. Michael Pollan has a book of essays on gardening and one of of my favorite quotes from it is, “Outright success is dumb, disaster frequently eloquent” — I think that’s also incredibly representative of our journeys as entrepreneurs (and human beings).
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