In 2017, Dexter and Byron Peart had been invited to give the keynote address at C2, an innovation conference in Montreal. The event was to be a celebration of the twin brothers’ fashion brand, Want Les Essentials. It led to them selling their stake in the company.
In writing the speech, the Pearts identified four key principles they wanted to focus on—whatever they sold, they wanted to have a purpose, be intelligent, be beautiful and be universal. The more they wrote, the more they realized the seasonal, transient nature of fashion would make it impossible to fit their existing company into those principles.
“[We thought] either we have to completely reverse-engineer this business that we’ve been working on for 11 years to try and modernize it to be the kind of business we want to be a part of in the future, or we have to let go and build that business from the ground up,” says Byron. They did the latter.
In the latest episode of the Business of Home podcast, the Pearts tell host Dennis Scully the story of their new endeavor, Goodee, a marketplace for design products and home goods that have an ethical, social responsibility, or sustainability component. The idea is to tap into the rise of conscious consumerism, and our ever-increasing busyness. Basically: People want to buy responsibly made products, but no one has the time to figure out what’s actually responsibly made.
“There’s no shortage of anything,” says Dexter, referring to the vastness of e-commerce. “You’re going to go out and find tens of thousands of options, if not millions. But as curators, we have the potential to save people time. They don’t have to go through the company’s background. Instead, it’s one trusted destination where the less-is-better quotient is built into the whole thing.”
The Pearts have deliberately chosen a wide range of social benefits for Goodee’s selection. Some products are made of upcycled material; others support gender advocacy. “You’re coming to a platform that’s looking at the whole panoply of ideas around sustainability, as opposed to strictly being in one lane,” says Byron.
The Pearts acknowledge that many customers may come to the site simply looking for something cool for their homes. But over time, they believe, conscious consumerism will increasingly become an expectation, not a niche interest. “The tone has changed,” says Dexter. “Once people started making changes to how they ate, how their food was sourced, or thinking about electric cars … There’s no doubt that people are making different choices.”
This podcast was sponsored by BuildLane and The Urban Electric Co. Listen to the episode below, and if you like what you heard, subscribe to the podcast (free of charge!) to get a new episode every week.
Homepage photo: Byron and Dexter Peart | Courtesy of Goodee