Guest Post: Azora Zoe Paknad, Founder of Goldune

The sustainability conversation can feel so drab. It evokes images of ratty Birkenstocks, rank compost bins, ill-fitting high-water jeans, and (at least here in Brooklyn) intentionally unkempt facial hair. Even if you can put that all aside, the marketplace is overwhelming. Where you do even begin? What can you believe and what is totally bogus and ineffectual?

This is why I love Goldune and its passionate, joyful, and knowledgeable founder, Azora Zoe Paknad. Do you want to step up your sustainability game and your lifestyle game at the same time? Done. They even provide you with a completely transparent image of how earth-friendly a product actually is. And they answer so many of our seemingly stupid questions in an easy to understand and playful way (check out their Instagram)!

Now let me pass it over to the expert.

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We can do hard things, but a lot of us don’t want to. (Fairly– life is already hard enough for most people.) 

Whether we want to or not, the climate crisis has been pounding at our door for decades. (I think it started knocking lightly in the 70s.) Generation after generation have been able to ignore the knock, turn the lights off, and act like no one was home… until now. I’m a millennial, and in my lifetime I’ve felt the shift from “no climate conversation” to “is global warming real?” to “life as we know it will be irreversibly changed in perilous and catastrophic ways in 2030” to “pack our bags, the wildfire is visible from the window and it’s time to evacuate.”

(True story, when I was first founding my startup in the sustainability space, a climate crisis induced wildfire loomed within view of my office window, and I watched it get closer and closer and the sky grow blacker and oranger as I sat there, trying to start a business that made getting started with sustainable living feel less “heavy.” It was a very weird experience. I did not like it at all.)

Now the knock of the crisis is harder to ignore (though many still try), but we haven’t caught on to the basic, obvious truth yet, which is that people don’t like doing hard things, and if you want someone to do something, you’d be most successful if you made it easy.

I’m not suggesting un-melting the ice caps is easy. But if we need to spur a national shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle (and we do, American consumers and American homes have more climate impact than most of the world), wouldn’t we want to make that transition easy, fun, cool… maybe even kinda sexy?

We’ve made it difficult, expensive, and most of the time, pretty ugly, to shift towards sustainable products, lifestyles or habits. And then when people don’t want to do it, or they don’t do a perfect job on Day 1, we shame them for it. 

With that context, is it any surprise that single use plastics have already outpaced coal as a threat to climate? It sure makes a lot of sense to me.

When I thought about where I spent the most time and money, and where I felt the most challenged in the sustainability space, it was my home. (I certainly spend embarrassing amounts of money on food, but between the farmer’s market and options like Imperfect Foods or Misfits Market, I’ve got my sustainability stack covered there.) 

When I thought about where I threw away the most stuff…it was also my home.

I started Goldune to plug that hole– to create a destination where you could find everything you needed for a more sustainable home, but also because sustainability is long overdue for that easy, cool, fun and kinda sexy makeover. We make sustainability less beige. Think: more great design, vivid color, crush-worthy aesthetics, inclusivity and accessibility and less bland, granola, shame-driven doom and gloom rhetoric. 

It’s early days, but I feel inspired by the ways Patagonia defined climate and sustainability for a generation of folks in the Great Outdoors. Goldune is going to do that for our domain: the Great Indoors.

At the end of the day, knowing that we’ve already gotten folks who didn’t care about sustainability a few months ago to start listening to that knock at the door, to find their place and their voice in the movement, and to engage in ways that feel like true representations of themselves and their identities…that’s a treat. 

--Azora Zoe Paknad