"I think there’s a legitimate fear factor in the way that wellness is being marketed today, and I don’t think we need anyone telling us that we need to be more concerned with being well than we already are."

By Erin Lukas
Nov 04, 2020 @ 1:26 pm
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Trying to decipher the ingredients on the back of a supplement bottle is confusing enough to make anyone feel unwell.

That's why, at age 23, Trinity Mouzon Wofford co-founded Golde with her partner Issey Kobori in 2017. Their mission was to make wellness accessible to everyone, from the simplicity of the actual products to the price points.

Without raising any capital, the pair launched the brand with a turmeric and coconut superfood powder that's meant to be mixed with water, coffee, or your desired type of milk. Two more superfood blends, 100% matcha powder, and two powder face masks have since followed. Golde prides itself on using familiar ingredients that its customers can trust.

"The interesting thing about wellness is that at the end of the day, this stuff is ancient," says Mouzon Wofford. "Turmeric has been used for centuries, and I think it’s helpful to think about wellness through that lens. These ingredients are tried and true, and that’s what we focus on as a brand."

Beyond formulating products with straightforward ingredients, Mouzon Wofford set out to create a wellness community surrounding the brand's products that's fun and welcoming.

"As our community has grown, our followers on Instagram and other channels love to share the little superfood recipes they’re making, whether it’s a morning smoothie or baking a healthy treat with one of our latte blends," she shares. "I think this sense of community and ease is something we really highlight as a brand, and ultimately what sets us apart from a lot of other players in the space."

Here, Mouzon Wofford shares her personal wellness journey that led to starting Golde, what sets her brand apart in the wellness space, the challenges of starting a business as a young woman of color, and more.

Tell me about your personal wellness journey. 

I first got into wellness through my mom. My mom has a severe autoimmune disease and I grew up watching her struggle with that. When I was a teenager, she switched over to seeing a more holistically minded physician to treat her symptoms and saw an incredible improvement and that was really a pivotal moment for me. I grew up in the Hudson Valley area of upstate New York, which is definitely crunchy Birkenstock land. So, I would say that wellness was always a part of my culture. While I grew up with a grandmother that ate all organic and things like that, seeing the impact wellness had on my mom is what made me realize it has the power to help people feel their best.

What inspired you to start Golde? 

We launched the business almost four years ago and the inspiration came from my own experiences as a consumer in the wellness space. I was feeling caught between the crunchy granola stuff I grew up with and this new wave of more prestige offerings that didn’t always resonate with me — and certainly weren’t affordable. I was focused on the idea of making wellness and self-care easier and more approachable for everyday consumers like myself.

We really lean into highlighting superfood ingredients that our community already has some familiarity with. For example, maybe you haven’t a cacao turmeric latte or you’ve never put spirulina on your face as mask before, but these are ingredients you’ve heard of. I think that level of familiarity takes away some of the intimidation factor of wellness.

There are many wellness products and brands with an underlying sense of guilt attached to them. How do you hope to change this with Golde? 

I think there’s a legitimate fear factor in the way that wellness is being marketed today, and I don’t think we need anyone telling us that we need to be more concerned with being well than we already are. This was the perspective I was coming from when I was thinking about my own personal wellness goals and our community, which is largely women under the age of 35. Overwhelmingly so, our community isn’t concerned with fixing problems, but feeling their best, having good energy, taking control of their stress, and having glowing skin. So much of achieving this was taking the scariness out of wellness by making it friendly, fun, and really social and sharable.

Why did you launch the brand with latte blends, and how did you land on the ingredient combinations? 

I co-founded the business with my high school sweetheart and we were both 23 when we started off. We didn’t really have any resources at our fingertips and bootstrapped the whole thing. The thought process behind the brand’s initial product offerings really came down to figuring out what we could create ourselves that would also be delicious, easy to use, and eye-catching.

As for why a powder blend opposed to a complex supplement? One of the first reasons is that it’s what we had the resources to make in that moment. We were focused on using great, tried-and-true superfoods in an affordable product that feels somewhat familiar and is fun to use. Once we came out with our first product, which was our Original Turmeric Latte Blend, it was so exciting to see such enthusiasm around the fact that we were looking at the wellness space a little differently and really leaning into that. At the end of the day, I think consumers want simple options.

Why was launching face masks a natural progression for the brand? 

We had this fairly new brand out there with the three latte blends at this point. During this time, I moved from Upstate New York back down to Brooklyn and my skin just erupted from the pollution and stress. I started trying anything and everything to clear up the breakouts I was dealing with, from the natural stuff to the unnatural stuff. Out of desperation, I started raiding Golde’s product development cabinet and mixing up these superfood powders and putting them on my face. It was essentially an early version of the Clean Greens face mask with powerful green superfoods such as spirulina and chlorella. I noticed this DIY mix made a difference in the way my skin looked and felt, and it was from that experience that I decided to launch the masks. It was so fun because we weren’t going to a lab and creating a complex formula. They’re made with the same edible superfood ingredients that go into our latte blends.

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What were some of the challenges of starting a brand as a young woman of color and how did you overcome them? 

Money is always a challenge, whether you have capital from investors or not. We went over three years without raising any capital at all. During that time, we were literally pulling just enough money out of the business to pay our rent and put a couple hundred dollars towards groceries, and that was it. So much of those first few years was a literal sacrifice of materials. Overall, I think starting a business as a young person and woman of color has its challenges, of course. You don’t know what you’re doing yet and there aren’t a lot of role models who have done what you’re doing that you can look to. But, ultimately, being young was an advantage. My partner and I had the ability to say, “We can just live like this.” We didn’t have kids, we didn’t have any major bills, and we figured, worst case scenario, our parents would probably take us in if we failed.

Golde is one of the recipients of Glosser's Black-Owned Beauty Business Grants. What do you hope this means for your brand's future? 

It was such an incredible honor to be a recipient of the Glossier grant. The capital piece of it is great, obviously, because as an early stage business, we can put that towards our building our team and product development. But, the recognition of such an accomplished organization and the mentorship piece that they built out alongside it is also really phenomenal. It’s just been a wonderful opportunity all around, and I’m really grateful Golde got the recognition.

Shop Golde's Wellness Products

Original Turmeric Superfood Latte Blend

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The blend that started it all, this turmeric-rich powder also contains coconut, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon. Together, the superfood ingredients support de-bloating, skin glow, and immunity. Add a couple scoops to your steamed milk of choice or coffee.

To buy: $29; golde.co.

Clean Greens Face Mask

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You could eat your greens — or you could put them on your face to get their skincare benefits. This detoxifying mask is a blend of mango juice, marshmallow root, spirulina, and chlorella powders that are supplement grade. On to top of clarifying the skin, it also promotes a glowing complexion.

To buy: $34; golde.co.

Cacao Turmeric Superfood Latte Blend

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This blend is your hot chocolate — on superfoods. It's a mix of cacao, turmeric, coconut, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon. While this blend is delicious with your favorite milk, it also helps support stress balance, gut health, and de-bloating.

To buy: $29; golde.co.

Golde Papaya Bright Face Mask

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This exfoliating face mask looks good enough to each once it's mixed up, and technically, you can. It contains supplement-grade ingredients including papaya, lucuma, and sea buckthorn berry, which work to brighten skin. Bonus: It smells like a warm beach.

To buy: $34; golde.co.

Pure Matcha

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Made with 100% pure, shade-grown green tea leaves from Uji, Japan, Golde's matcha is great in smoothies, lattes, desserts, and more.

To buy: $32; golde.co.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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