After two decades in the fashion industry, watching styles and trends change with the seasons, Byron and Dexter Peart wanted to sell products people would want to bring into their homes and live with for a long time.
Their initial business plan was just six words: good people, good design, good impact.
Those words led them to launch Goodee, an e-commerce site for high-end home goods and other products chosen both for their good design, and because they are good for the planet.
The Pearts are twin brothers from Montreal who are known in the fashion world for their work at WANT Agency, where they brought Maison Kitsune, Acne Studios and other labels to North America, and as co-founders of the luxury leather and accessories brand WANT Les Essentiels.
They have shifted their focus to the home, and their goal is to sell products consumers can feel good about buying and that will be treasured lifetime possessions.
“We try to look for items that are highly desirable and aspirational, but that also have an inspirational context to them as well,” Dexter Peart told CO—.
We try to look for items that are highly desirable and aspirational, but that also have an inspirational context to them as well.
Dexter Peart, co-founder, Goodee
Consumers are seeking sustainability
Goodee enters the e-commerce space at a time when consumers, particularly luxury consumers, are looking for sustainable and ethically sourced products.
Close to two-thirds of consumers consider sustainability when making a purchase and one-third are willing to pay up to 25% more for sustainable products, according to the 2019 U.S. Consumer Sustainability Survey by business applications and outsourcing firm CGS.
A 2019 Boston Consulting Group/Altagamma study of luxury consumers found that sustainability is a top concern of luxury shoppers, with approximately 60% saying it influences their purchases, up 12 percentage points over 2013.
Those shoppers “have the luxury of being able to pay more for the privilege of conscious consumerism,” Pamela Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing and an expert on the luxury market, told CO—.
“The younger generation [shoppers] have awakened the consuming public to the need for these goods, but the more mature consumers with greater discretion to spend have created the market opportunity for companies like Goodee,” Danziger said.
Looking for things that will last
The Goodee e-commerce site features “things we’ve fallen in love with, that we think have a lot of value, that we believe are very permanent,” said Dexter Peart. “They are the kinds of things that you’re going to want to keep with you a long time and cherish,” he told CO—.
For a product to make it onto the Goodee site, it must have great design coupled with sustainability or other positive social impact, Byron Peart told CO—.
“We can’t only be having a conversation about sustainability or the local impact,” Byron said. In choosing products for the site, the conversation also “has to be about beauty and design in equal measure,” he said.
That leads to a merchandise assortment that includes the $1,588 Yoomelingah basket by Baba Tree — a two-foot-high basket made from elephant grass woven into wave-like sculptural forms by artisans in Ghana; the $199 Charlie Chair by EcoBirdy, a child’s chair made from recycled plastics; a $195 scarf by Atelier & Repairs, a British company that uses discarded garments and fabrics; and $550 skateboard art printed with works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring by a company that raises money for skate schools for underprivileged children.
Goodee also sells pillows, rugs, throws, housewares, beauty and wellness products, home decor items, toys and furniture, with prices ranging from below $30 to over $5,000.
Visitors can use filters on the site to browse for products that support specific causes or environmental goals. All of the products on the site feature information about the manufacturer or artisans that produced them, and their social or environmental impact.
A pop-up shop at the Whitney
Goodee opened its first U.S. pop-up store in November, at the Whitney Museum. Goodee was invited to display its products in connection with the Whitney’s exhibit, Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019. Lauri Freedman, head of product development at the Whitney, in announcing the collaboration, said the museum liked knowing that the Pearts had visited the makers of the products they sell and could personally attest to the quality and sourcing.
Conscious consumption, the Pearts said, is about making better choices, and the Goodee site is designed to help with those choices.
“We’re guides,” Byron said. “We’re saying, ‘It’s so difficult for you to navigate. There’s so much product out there, there’s so much story telling out there. It’s so difficult for you to do the research. Let us help guide you and help you make a better decision.’”
While Goodee doesn’t release sales figures, and the e-commerce site has only been live for less than six months, the Pearts said consumers are responding well to the products they have chosen. The smaller Baba Tree baskets, the skateboard works of art by The Skateroom, children’s furniture by EcoBirdy and personal care items by Haekles have been among the top sellers.
Ageless, genderless and one-size-fits-all
The 47-year-old brothers sold their stake in WANT Les Essentiels to their business partners in 2017 and began creating Goodee in 2018, launching the website in mid-2019.
After leaving WANT, they said, they were looking for an alternative to those aspects of the fashion industry that concerned them — the seasonality, the impermanence and the discounting and markdowns.
With Goodee, Byron and Dexter said, they don’t want to have to worry about sizes, or seasonality, but will carry items like scarves or bracelets that are ageless, genderless and, in most cases, one-size-fits-all.
“Think about the things you find in your favorite markets around the world — those are attractive to us,” Dexter said.
There is, however, one apparel item they couldn’t resist offering, because it complements the company name so well. A $100 Goodee hoodie, produced in partnership with Kotn, a Canadian company that uses ethically sourced Egyptian cotton, was added to the site in early December.
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Published January 08, 2020