If you find it difficult to hear the name GOODEE without following it up with a silent ‘two shoes’, you’re not alone, but in this case the moniker is earnestly deserved. Goodee, founded in 2019 by twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart, is a carefully curated e-commerce platform that brings together good design, good people, and good purpose. The brand’s first New York City pop-up, running alongside the Whitney Museum’s Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019 exhibition, offers handmade goods from around the globe, chosen for their social or environmental impact. GOODEE aims to empower creators, makers, and consumers to make a social impact by fostering transparent sourcing, waste reduction, upcycling, and ethical treatment of its people. For this month’s Design Store(y), we caught up with Byron and Dexter to find out more about GOODEE’s exploration of the dialogue between art and craft in the making of objects in its temporary New York home.
Why did you pick this city/neighborhood/storefront?
We are Canadian, but we have long lived and worked in New York’s Chelsea district. We are intensely inspired by arts, architecture, design, and the environment and have a strong connection to life in NYC, especially around the Highline and the Hudson. We could not have dreamed of a more appropriate location for our first American pop-up.
Where did you get the name for the store?
GOODEE was conceived as the quintessential destination for good people, good design, and good impact. As this retail collaboration was a first of its kind in the United States, it seemed natural only to name the exclusive pop-up simply GOODEE at The Whitney Shop.
Has it changed much since it opened? How?
The pop-up opened to coincide with the opening of the Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019 exhibition, celebrating some of the finest examples of connected craft and art from the 1950s to the present day. As the launch was just in November, just in time for the Holidays, much of the excitement was around discovering thoughtful, handmade gifts from around the globe for loved ones.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
GOODEE was conceived to connect ethical makers with conscious consumers. We are motivated to share deep and meaningful stories with our audience through our pop-ups and e-commerce store, so having enough time to make those human connections is sometimes a challenge, but always worth the effort.
What other stores have you worked on before opening this one?
We launched our first Canadian pop-up last summer in our hometown of Montreal, at the widely respected art and new media institution, Centre Phi. It was designed as an artist’s studio and very well received. We were able to connect with the local community through innovative and educational programming and help to connect makers with consumers.
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
It’s too hard for us to choose one, but we were particularly excited to present the complete collection of our newly offered GOODEE-branded home accessories including pillows and carry totes. The GOODEE pillows are made entirely in Africa in collaboration with Ethical Fashion Initiative – the United Nations’ fair-trade division. Working with the EFI’s weaving cooperative in Burkina Faso, each limited-edition pillow celebrates color, texture, and the people who craft them.
What is this season’s theme/inspiration/story?
It’s not really a theme, but the entire concept is centered around the “Art of Craft”. How through time-honored skills of making – weaving, carving, beading, pottery, and more – impassioned stories, traditions, and know-how can be passed along for generations to come.
Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about?
There are several exclusive products (including upcycled fabric quilts from KTWP, and handcrafted PET lamps by ACdO) that can only be found in the States at the GOODEE at the Whitney Shop.
What’s been a consistent best seller?
There are truly several, but one standout we can share is that the handwoven baskets and fans by Baba Tree, each uniquely crafted by artisans in Ghana, have been selling great.
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
Yes. We have lots of items from the shop spread throughout both of our homes. At Byron’s place, he’s accessorized his living space with GOODEE pillows and a colorful Baba Tree basket. Dexter has an assortment of greenery throughout his home in Skagerak Edge pots.
What’s next for you and your store?
Only time will tell!
What’s one lesson you’ve learned since opening your store?
That there is such an appetite and interest among consumers for discovering a deeper understanding about how things are made and “why” it is important they exist.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to follow a similar path to yours, what would it be?
Make sure you identify the right location to truly capture your desired consumer’s attention and time. It is more important than ever to graciously meet them on their terms in the places that they live or most frequently visit.
Visit GOODEE at The Whitney before it closes (no end date is listed) at 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014, or shop The Whitney edit here.