How Trinity Mouzon Built a Superfood Brand That Makes Self-Care Easy and Accessible
The founder of Golde talks about starting small, accessibility in the wellness industry, and the kitchen essentials that get her through the day.
Trinity Mouzon believes that self-care should be simple and available to everyone. After learning that her mother couldn’t afford her holistic physician anymore, she decided that she wanted to focus her career path on something that could make wellness more accessible. That’s what inspired her to create Golde, a superfood-based brand with a lineup of products––including powders for face masks and drink mixing––that could be easily integrated into everyday routines.
Before creating her brand in 2017, Mouzon was a pre-med student and briefly worked in marketing post-college, but was always that friend “who was recommending various herbal remedies, depending on how you were feeling.” Now with Golde, she’s continuing that holistic health approach by developing products that offer simple and powerful ingredients at an affordable price. We talked with the entrepreneur about how she built the brand independently, her process for developing new products, and the kitchen essentials she relies on for her daily routine.
Thrillist: Tell us a little bit about your background including where you grew up and what inspired you to create Golde?
Mouzon: I grew up in upstate New York about three and a half hours north of the city. I'm actually back up there now and have been up here for the past year or so. I was raised by a single parent with a pretty severe autoimmune disease. When I was a teenager, my mom switched over to seeing this more holistically minded physician and, long story short, she saw this incredible improvement in her symptoms. It was like night and day. That was this pivotal moment for me, [which made me think], "okay, this is my career path. This is what I want to do."
I was pre-med in college and had full intentions of going off to start my career in medicine and sort of looking through this lens of holistic health until I found out that [my mom] actually had to stop seeing that doctor because she just couldn't afford it anymore. Those sorts of treatments aren't covered by insurance, which really forced me to pause and consider what it was that I wanted to do in wellness and how this piece of accessibility played in.
"...you really have to lean into the power of resilience over time and just continually chipping away at it and building it little by little, and counting every single thing as a win..."
You built Golde independently. What does it take to build a brand from scratch like that?
Mouzon: When we started out, it was just myself and my co-founder, who's also my high school sweetheart. So we go pretty far back. At the time, we were in our early twenties and we just had this vision of creating something really good and exciting together. We didn't necessarily have a vision of building a multi-million dollar brand at that point. I think that for the first couple of years we were really able to build it without the pressure of feeling this need to be really successful all at once. When you're building [something] that way, you really have to lean into the power of resilience over time and just continually chipping away at it and building it little by little, and counting every single thing as a win as opposed to being focused on what a brand that started with a million dollars is doing in their first six months.
What's something that you were really scared about when starting? And now you're like, "huh, it wasn't that bad."
Mouzon: Oh my gosh! A lot of things made me really scared in the beginning because I didn't have a lot of experience. So there were things that I just didn't know a lot about. I was nervous about my ability to run a supply chain and to be able to manage the numbers. I was [also] nervous about my ability to manage a team, but [this] one is actually really funny because building the team has turned out to be mine and my partner's favorite part of scaling the brand now. I think that you just kind of grow into those moments and just keep learning as you go.
What's the process of coming up with a new product? What do you think about first?
Mouzon: First, especially now that the company has grown a bit, we think about our customers and we have that data now and have those touchpoints with our customers. We can ask them what is in your routine right now? What do you love about the products that we make? What else do you want to see from us? Which superfoods are you loving? Are you putting stuff in your smoothies? Are you adding it to your coffee? Do you want a wind-down kind of product? That is the most valuable information that you have, which is that very organic feedback that you can get from your existing customer. From there, we're definitely layering it in with our own gut instinct and our understanding of what feels like Golde. For example, all our products are vegan and plant-based, and we really lead with the superfood.
Rather than getting a powder or whatever that [includes a] bunch of stuff and [just] one little superfood extract in there, just so that the brand can say it on the box, the base of [all our] products that we make is a real superfood that you can trace back. That's something that we will never really stray away from.
You started by introducing some beauty products. What made you continue with ingestibles?
Mouzon: We actually started with a little bit of a mix. We started with our turmeric lattes, [which] was our first product ever. Then we launched face masks and then we launched more ingestibles. We've touched the whole superfood wellness category across ingestible and beauty. For us, that felt like a very natural extension. So much of it has always been driven by our own personal experiences. After we launched the turmeric lens and saw success there, I actually was dealing with really bad breakouts and was looking for something to help heal my skin. Out of desperation, I raided Golde's product development cabinet and started mixing up superfoods and putting them on my face and found that it was really effective for my skin. I was able to clear up hormonal acne that was all over my jaw and my neck just by using these natural superfood products.
The one thing that up until now really stayed true is the format; our products are just powders and superfood blends. It's always something that our customer is just activating, whether it's a face mask that they're mixing a little bit of water into, or a powder that's going into their smoothie. It's this very simple unrefined, easy boost to their daily routine.
I'm sure the pandemic has impacted your business tremendously, but do you have any specific challenges and learnings that you were able to get from it?
Mouzon: 2020 was a really wild year for us. First, it was the arrival of the pandemic. We saw an increase in demand because folks were looking to bring their self-care routines home. They felt they had more time and interest in making themselves a matcha, doing a face mask, or whatever that little moment was for them. Then as a black-owned business, after the murder of George Floyd, we were just absolutely flooded with celebrity shoutouts, press features and new customers. By the month of June 2020, we had done more in revenue than we had in the entire year of 2019. It was a lot to adjust and process, especially as it was still a very small business at that time. We were two people full-time and then a couple of part-timers.
It's been a lot of like, "okay, this is a situation. Let's figure out how to respond to it." I think that responsiveness is a muscle that you train and grow over time as an entrepreneur where things come up and sometimes they're good things like a sales explosion, and sometimes they're bad things like a supply chain constraint––another huge challenge in the pandemic. In the early days you kind of go on the highs and lows emotionally with those things. But, as you kind of get acclimated, you learn to be steadier and you learn to just kind of ride through it. You take the wins as they come, but you also stay prepared for the next challenge.
Shop Golde's Best Sellers
Shop Golde's Best Sellers
Do you get surprised when a product makes it to your best sellers list? Which ones are currently part of it?
Mouzon: We have a few different products that are definitely trending right now. Our Pure Matcha is one that everyone loves so much. I think it's such a high-quality product. And matcha is one of those categories where there's so much information and it's hard to know where to go. I think people really love being able to purchase that from us and know that they're getting something that's really good. Our new product called Coconut Collagen Boost has been doing super well, which I think we kind of predicted. It's probably the most delicious product that we make and it's so easy to use. It's a powder you just add to coffee, matcha and smoothies. So it's whatever your wellness routine is. You don't have to do something new. Also I would say our Debloat Ade, which is a powder that just goes straight into water. It has been doing extremely well, which was kind of a surprise superstar.
You don't always know what's going to be the winner. And there's also a lot of seasonalities. As we start to come into fall, we're going to see the turmeric trending. We're going to see our mushroom blend, Shroom Shield, definitely trending. So there's a little bit of an interesting wave as things kind of come in and out of focus for people.
What's next for Golde?
Mouzon: 2021 has been such a big one for us. We launched at Target and we launched five new products. I feel we're still just catching our breath from all of that good stuff. As we look toward the future, we have more new products coming and, broadly speaking, my focus is really to continue to build on this foundation. We've created this incredible community around making wellness more easy, accessible, and fun, and now it's really the time to bring that to the world. We're excited to just keep telling that story and making sure that when people think of superfoods that they think of us.
I know you do a lot of recipes with your products and I would love to know what's the first thing that you reach for in the morning to what's your kitchen essentials?
Mouzon: Working my way through the day, I will usually start things off with a smoothie. I'm a total Vitamix fan and, right now, I'm making a smoothie that's got a bunch of mixed frozen berries, celery, banana, and then I'll add Shroom Shield. It's like a chocolatey, berry smoothie, which is very good. That's my morning kitchen routine. Every afternoon, I make a Pure Matcha Latte. That's Pure Matcha with Coconut Collagen Boost and we will whisk that with the super whisk.
Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.