Goodee is one of the world’s leading curated marketplaces that offers housewares and lifestyle products centred around responsible brands, artisans and items for consumers who want to make a difference with each purchase. Founded in 2019 by Montreal’s Byron and Dexter Peart – the twin brothers, former designers and entrepreneurs behind the brand WANT Les Essentiels – their aim was to launch and develop brands that provided “sustainable solutions for modern living.” Goodee, a B Corp Certified Company, has gone on to become a global online platform that combines “good design, good people and good purpose,” with an assortment of products from creators across the globe.
“We’re serial entrepreneurs,” Dexter Peart told us during a recent conversation. “It courses through our veins, and we saw an opportunity. Byron and I have always been proponents of trying to bring deeper, more thoughtful and more considerate stories about things that you may need in your life, and that you really want.” He goes on to say it’s about wanting less and prioritizing the quality of what you do own. “We thought that there were other people out there who wanted to have a deeper connection to the products and the stories around the products that they were bringing into their lives, but we couldn’t find [a platform]. So we decided to build it.”
Design is at the Heart of Goodee
“In our heads, we were going to tell this story about really great people and the impact that they’re making,” said Dexter. He continued, “Ironically, for two design guys, the thing that came at the end was the design. It was almost like we didn’t think about the power of design. We understood the power of human connection and impact, but we didn’t fully appreciate that the design was really the story until before we launched.”
Design became the heart of Goodee and the foundation on which their marketplace was built. Dexter described their approach: “If you put design at the centre of this entire conversation, then the conversation doesn’t live as only an environmental or social conversation. It becomes inspirational through the design, quality, craftsmanship and preservation of craft. But then it also becomes aspirational, because it’s building on the future. It helps us think about how design moves us forward.”
The Beauty of Upcycling
We live in a culture where household items are built to break and be replaced, encouraging consumers to buy even more. When a marketplace like Goodee comes along, it not only provides quality products that are durable and aesthetically pleasing but they’re also made by creators who design with intention. Upcycling and repurposing is a big part of this, like one of Dexter’s favourite brands on the site, ecoBirdy. The best-selling line of furniture takes old children’s toys, separates them by colour, and upcycles them into gorgeous chairs and tables for kids. Dexter had an anecdote about the brand and how it instills this idea of circularity from a young age:
“I’ve got two young girls, now 13 and 10, but when they were a bit younger and they had their ecoBirdy (pieces), I didn’t have to tell them about the concept of circularity; they were living it day to day through design. They were looking at products and understood that these products were something in the past and that they’re going to be something else in the future,” Dexter illustrated. “Design has a really exciting power to be able to translate how hard it is to think about environmental and social impact, and make it easier for people through the things that surround them because there’s beauty in those things. Ultimately, these are the things that we want to last, to carry with us when we move. We’re not going to throw them out because we know there’s a human story, or an environmental story or a design story that lives alongside those products.”
Dexter reminded us that home decor isn’t just about interior spaces. “A lot of our customers have a connection to nature, the outdoors and biophilia. It’s not lost on us that post-pandemic, some of these rituals and ideas of being outside have become more pronounced,” he shared. “We see that when people think about spaces, they’re not just thinking about their internal space. They’re thinking about all of these spaces around them, and when they’re treating their outdoor spaces, they’re just as interested in trying to add a level of personality as they are to their indoor spaces.” He added, “What we try to do is build this level of fluidity, for instance, the Bergs Potter planters that can go out and then come back in as the seasons change. It’s been exciting to think about outdoor [products] in general, because it feels quite natural to the brand. There’s a level of Canadiana in Goodee where the outdoors is always speaking to us.”
The goal for Goodee is to create outdoor tools that are just as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional, so they can be left out for display rather than stowed away in a shed. “People are more immersed in their gardening, and they want tools that are going to be part of that ritual,” Dexter told us.
What’s Next for Goodee?
“One of the things that we found throughout the past couple of years is that businesses have been coming to us as well,” Dexter explained. “Some of the most amazing companies want to work with Goodee. Architects and designers are reaching out to us. Office companies are also reaching out because they’re refitting their office spaces to feel more like home, and the values of the office need to reflect what the people who work there believe in.”
Currently, Goodee has a partnership with Steelcase, the largest office furniture company in the world, to help with decor and stylization, adding thoughtful touches that make the entire office environment more welcoming. “It’s been really exciting for us as we move forward,” said Dexter.
Ultimately, Goodee aims to support consumers as they seek out products that have a positive social and environmental impact. Dexter left us with this final thought: “Byron and I launched this company thinking about the end consumer. The customer wants to make a better choice, but doesn’t really know how to do that, so what if we can create a destination to help them make that choice?”
This interview has been edited and condensed.