Byron & Dexter Peart

Founders of GOODEE, Byron and Dexter Peart speak to Fritz Hansen about the urgent need to shift to ethical design and sustainability in the interior design industry.

Designers and entrepreneurs, twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart founded GOODEE in 2017: a curated marketplace that offers sustainable solutions for modern living. The brothers believe that how we shop has the power to transform the world. We sat with them to explore why they believe ethical design, long-lasting products and how we shop can change the world.

Why do you believe the way we shop can transform the world?

We believe that consumers are the new curators and that we each have a profound opportunity to use our collective purchasing power to support companies making a genuine social and environmental impact. Regrettably, society compels us to consume more than we need. The hardest thing for consumers is navigating the endless offerings that are too often made with obsolescence in mind, primarily based on enticing us by price and/or convenience.

GOODEE's primary role is to act as a social curator to identify, guide and promote brands, products and stories designed with purposeful intention. It is also our challenge to only source and present goods that we believe have intrinsic value and have a deep story. This gives goods human importance and hopefully inspires people to think more consciously about the choices that they make in their daily lives.

The interior design industry is characterised by high turnover and ever-changing trends. How do you see sustainability becoming a reality?

The design industry is too often predicated on compelling continuous consumption by churning out new trends and celebrity endorsements to keep the consumers engaged and our appetites satiated. It creates a fast-moving environment that pulls endless references from the past (and/or other unassuming cultural sources) to constantly encourage consumers to seek a singular interior design approach to "get the look" while, often, failing to get the story - and the impact.

We at GOODEE have built our business around identifying and promoting artisans and makers from around the world who create unique products, often produced by traditional craft-making techniques. We highlight the benefit to local businesses and communities to ensure that these time-honoured skills remain relevant and passed along through generations. GOODEE provides a platform for promoting a broad array of sustainability initiatives while educating consumers more thoroughly about the different causes that matter most to them and the makers from whom they are buying from.

GOODEE only carries products by designers who believe in doing good. What standards are reasonable to set for design companies?

At GOODEE, everything starts and finishes with a total commitment to "good design and good purpose". The natural starting point for partner consideration with GOODEE is discovering and unearthing stories of makers that share our belief in the power of a progressive form of consumerism and manufacturing at the intersection of these strong values. We are constantly looking for truly unique products and stories that stimulate the mind and the heart.

Our assessment approach is significantly aligned with the UN/s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), most notably that of SDG12 - Responsible Consumption and Production. Our team engages with each supplier by performing a thorough qualitative written and verbal assessment of how they operate the business. We look at how they source materials, manage their supply chains, reduce waste, empower women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) communities, and preserve endangered crafts – to name a few.

One factor that plays an important designation in our assessment process is whether the selected brands are B-Corp certified. We have been a B-Corp-certified company since our first year of operation. We have a strong appreciation for the rigour incorporated into the certification process and have tremendous respect and kinship for fellow companies that have also made this ongoing commitment to promoting business as a force for good.

Designing for changing times is a commitment. What is your best advice when purchasing an "investment piece"?

We encourage living with "fewer, better things" that reflect the stories of our lives. And our advice when choosing is to seek out those gems whose design and function will continually inspire us throughout a lifetime and adapt to our environments as we move, extend our families, and as our lives evolve.

Ultimately, these so-called investment pieces are not to be enshrined, but instead to be highly valued for being well used and loved every day - and subsequently passed down for generations to come. For products to be essential, they must be designed with rigour and built to last from the standpoint of quality manufacturing, as well as timeless design. This expectation was common to producers and consumers but has diminished due to capitalist goals over the past several generations. We are urging a return to simpler and slower "less but more" principles to meet these changing times.

What is your vision for GOODEE? Where do you hope to see the interior design industry 10 or 20 years from now?

Our vision is to shift the status quo and reframe the narrative of what defines "good design". It is exciting to bring a fresh perspective to the interior design industry and spark conversations around shifting to ethical production and conscious consumption. Our expectation for the design industry in the next decade is to be representative of the talents, skills, and crafts reflective of a global design population and no longer through an often monolithic and predictable viewpoint.

We trust that at GOODEE, we are doing our small part in proving that "good design" is not only alive but abundant in all corners of the globe. We envision a broader industry that continues reverberating this reality for years and decades.