The Woman behind Our Favorite At-Home Lattes
Golde cofounder Trinity Mouzon Wofford
The Woman behind Our Favorite
Trinity Mouzon Wofford grew up in what she calls “crunchy Birkenstock-land” (the Hudson Valley). She’s the friend who offers you something herbal when you say you’ve got a bit of a headache. She’s also the founder of Golde—a Brooklyn-based wellness and beauty brand that’s landed her and her cofounder a spot in this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30.
Golde’s hero product, a turmeric latte inspired by Indian haldi doodh, is a goop shop staple that’s established a position at the front of our breakfast cupboards. It’s creamy, comforting, and easy to whip up. You can also get it in matcha and cacao flavors. And it makes us feel good. We called Mouzon Wofford up to hear more about what it was like to build Golde from the ground up and how she’s lifting up the next wave of founders.
A Q&A with Trinity Mouzon Wofford
I wanted to be a doctor and practice medicine through a holistic lens. My mom suffers from a debilitating autoimmune disease, and she switched over to seeing a more holistically minded physician when I was a teenager. She saw this incredible improvement in her symptoms. That was a pivotal time for me. So I decided to be pre-med in college at NYU, and I truly believed that was my path, and all was well until I found out from my mom that she had to stop seeing that doctor because she couldn’t afford it anymore. I started to think about accessibility within health and wellness, and I wanted to be a part of making that happen.
Wellness is ultimately about listening to your body and following those cues for what helps you feel like your best self. For some people, that’s green juices and bubble baths, and for other folks, it’s going for a walk and calling a friend. Too often, there’s this pressure to adhere to standard definitions of what wellness might be. That can feel overwhelming. And then people start to feel like they don’t know what to eat; they don’t know what to read; they don’t know how to spend their time. But at the end of the day, wellness is the simplest and most intrinsic thing. It’s just doing what feels good and leaning into those habits.
My cofounder—at the time my high school sweetheart, now my fiancé, and hopefully one day my spouse—Issey and I started very small. We were both still at our full-time jobs. We bootstrapped the whole thing. We taught ourselves how to do graphic design so that we could create the packaging. We were formulating the lattes ourselves. It was very much a labor of love.
At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and that was for the best. In the early stages, it was just fun. We didn’t put too much pressure on it. Our goals were just: Can we figure out how to pay our rent? Can we continue on this journey? We took it from there organically.
When we first launched Golde in 2017, we started with a turmeric product because I was so impressed with what it had done for my mom. Since then our brand has expanded to featuring dozens of superfoods, from matcha to cacao to spirulina.
With any great superfood, there is a powerful cultural legacy. Working with superfoods as a person of color inherently means being thoughtful about not only where our hero ingredients are being sourced from, but also the cultural contexts attached to them. As a small team we’ve been making strides this year to unveil opportunities for our community to discover the rich histories behind the ingredients in our products—whether that’s matcha’s home in Japanese tea ceremonies or turmeric’s role in Ayurveda. We’re excited to share how these initiatives will be coming to life in the very near future, and in the meantime, always welcome a transparent dialogue around how best to appreciate traditional superfoods without cultural erasure.
I always come back to being true to our mission of making wellness something approachable and fun to take part in. When you’re growing a business, there are always going to be new opportunities and new competitors popping up that might end up being distractions. Coming back to the “why”—the gets-you-out-of-bed thing—helps me navigate those kinds of decisions.
We’re also a very community-driven brand. I’m always tapping into what our community is excited about. What they’re looking for from us helps guide me through the day-to-day.
When I started my business, I was twenty-three, and I had no entrepreneurial experience. I felt so often that there were answers to those early questions that I had, but I didn’t have access to them. I didn’t have the network. I wasn’t part of a community of founders and investors. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot just by doing. I’ve learned from building a great network of beloved friends who can help me answer those questions.
I felt it was important to pay that forward. So much of making change in the world starts with empowering the folks you want to see in power. I host a regular series I call office_hrs, where people interested in entrepreneurship can write in questions and I answer them on my Instagram stories. (We do live events when possible, too.) I also take thirty minutes every week to mentor a founder on growing their business. As a woman of color, it’s an incredible opportunity for me to impart a little bit of advice to folks who are in the early stages of their journey just as I was a couple of years ago.
One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is about being honest about what you want out of entrepreneurship. There has been a lot of excitement, especially in the past few years, around huge capital raises and building big businesses. Many early-stage founders I’ve talked to are pushing themselves in that direction because that’s what’s been deemed the definition of success.
It’s important to remember that all forms of entrepreneurship are valid. We built Golde ourselves for three years, and now that it’s grown, I’m excited to think about what the next stages look like. But I’m also grateful that I had the opportunity to build it my own way. Too often, people who are in the early stages of their journey feel they don’t have the ability to build their business the way that they want to because they owe so much to so many people.
I make sure to do a smoothie in the morning every weekday. I like one loaded up with a lot of greens, frozen berries—all that good stuff. If you nail it with breakfast, there’s a little bit less pressure to make sure that everything else goes right with nutrition throughout the day.
Then, one of my most important wellness practices is making lists and staying organized. I find that as a founder of a growing company, if I make sure to take care of that first, it’s more likely that everything else falls together.