Golde-n Girl: An interview with Trinity Mouzon Wofford

Golde-n Girl: An interview with Trinity Mouzon Wofford

Interview: Caroline Kessler
Photography: Issey Kobori for Golde

Founder and creator of Golde turmeric blends, Trinity Mouzon, talks to us about changing paths, how western medicine and holistic care can be complementary, and why you needn’t feel overwhelmed trying to achieve wellness (and will completely alter your understanding of inflammation).

I first heard about turmeric via two very different sources within the same week. I was overstressed and feeling the early signs of a mega head cold. I was also days away from travelling abroad to meet my boyfriend’s family for the first time. International flights to cold British villages aren’t known for their curative properties.

It came as a text: “ginger, turmeric, honey, chili, and lemon! Hot water > drink!” (and ended in a heart emoji: she knew the timing sucked.)

There was nothing out of the ordinary about Elle sending a concoction whose main ingredient I needed to look up. She’s an encyclopedia of herbal remedies, with a devout mediation practice, a holistic physician, and a charismatic life coach who often joins our brunch dates.

What was out of the ordinary, is that I took that text to the local tea shop, bought up the various ingredients, and tried it.

It was warming and soothing, and the act of taking the time to measure out the ingredients, and create something so herbal and yummy at the same time, felt like engaging in a ritual of self care. And I felt better. I drank a turmeric latte every day until leaving, and looked forward to the heating milk turning first a yellow-orange, then dissolving to something golden and sunset-like, before taking it off the burner, dropping some cinnamon on top, and curling up to luxuriate in my own moment.

I made the trip—where, less than a week later, my boyfriend’s mom holds up a bag of turmeric, and proclaims it the latest thing!

Turns out, she wasn’t the only mom-in-the-know…

If I understand correctly, Golde was a really personal exploration when you first began. Can you tell us a bit of the origin of the company, and why the focus on turmeric specifically?

"I’ve always been big on wellness and holistic health. I grew up in a crunchy town upstate, not far from Vermont. I was also raised by a single parent who was dealing with an autoimmune disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis. At one point, my mom switched over to seeing a holistic physician and saw a huge improvement in her symptoms. That really inspired me, so I pursued a pre-med education at NYU, with the plans of going on to work as a holistic MD. My mom saw wonderful results from this doctor, but she pretty much went broke in the process of seeing him — insurance doesn’t cover anything like that. So as I was wrapping up college, I had this moment of internal reckoning around whether I wanted to practice holistic care just for those who could afford it, or attempt to upend the entire US insurance industry. Neither of these things seemed super appealing to me, so after graduation I sort of fell into a career in marketing at a tech startup. I loved the brand building and working on a small team, but I still had a really strong interest in wellness and entrepreneurship. I got into turmeric specifically (our hero ingredient) through my mom, who was using it for its anti-inflammatory properties. I noticed a huge difference in my skin and my immune system when I started using it, and that’s where it all started!"

Coming from a pre-med background, was there an openness to holistic approaches to health and beauty while you were a student? Or is something shifting in this particular moment?

"Not really. This was something that really frustrated me within the medical system, and made me question if it was the right path for my goals. There is still a lot of animosity on both sides — people disparaging western medicine or holistic care. I think the two have to work hand in hand to achieve maximum benefit for any patient. We are starting to see more of a shift now. A friend of mine who is an oncology nurse actually uses curcumin infusions on her patients, because they help fight the tumors. It’s really incredible to watch that progress unfold."

Let’s get some terms out of the way. How do I explain things like “adaptogens,” and “curcumin,” to my friends? (and parents!)

"Haha, wellness can feel really overwhelming for most people at times. There are so many new words or new rules to follow on any given day! In short, adaptogens are a class of plants that work to create balance in your system and improve your stress responses. Curcumin is the “active ingredient” in turmeric that gives it a lot of its healing benefits. That said, I wouldn't worry too much over all of the definitions. Wellness is more about building routines that make you feel your best."

 

For those of us not pre-med, but who still like to understand what’s going on ‘under the hood,’ as it were, how might turmeric and adaptogens affect the body and mind?

"Turmeric is a really fascinating one because the benefits are from head to toe. Because it’s so anti-inflammatory, it will target any areas of imbalance. Inflammation isn’t just about joint pain — it has a huge impact on your skin, your digestion, your immunity, and even mental health! Because our blends feature turmeric, you get a chance to target all of those different body systems with one really easy, tasty product."

How do you use it, and what has it done for you?

"Our tonic blends are mixes of many different powerful superfoods: turmeric, ginger, coconut, and more. I have it every day first thing in the morning — 1–2 tsp of powder mixed with hot water. That's it. It's so simple. It tastes really good and is an easy way to hydrate, and the benefits of skin radiance, gut health (no bloating!) and immunity are really incredible."

If someone is new to using Golde products—and adaptogens in general—how long should they stick to a routine before deciding if something is working for them?

"It really depends, and I can't speak for other products! For our blends, a lot of people notice an immediate difference if they're already feeling sick or weighed down. I've have people come to me with a cold and I'll make them a hot tonic and as soon as they finish it they're saying "Wow, I feel so much better!" For longer-term benefits like skin radiance, I recommend giving it about a week or two."

Your company story includes the line, “We believe that being well should feel good.” It seems so simple, yet so many of us have tried a wellness routine or product based on withholding and limitations. How did you make the shift to giving to the body, rather than taking away?

"It's so intrinsic to me and what I believe in. I think the reason that so many people feel overwhelmed by wellness is because it feels like a punishment or restriction. Being well is about feeling good. We make products that fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around. They're pretty affordable, they taste great, and you'll feel a difference. Isn't that what everyone is really after?"

Your DIY recipes seem so approachable. What’s your favorite at the moment?

"That's the goal! We recently developed a new recipe for the Beauty Bombs, which are these healthy fat and nut-based balls. They are SO good and ridiculously easy to make. You essentially just add your favorite nuts + coconut butter to a food processor to make the dough, then you stick them in the freezer to harden up. It's like cookie dough. We boosted them with our tonic blends for skin radiance and gut health. The Cacao Golde bombs were my favorite!"

What’s your wellness routine like? If you had the time to add one more wellness practice, what would it be?

"I keep it simple! A golden tonic first thing every morning, and a few supplements as recommended by my physician. As food goes, I eat tons of vegetables and make sure to hit the farmers market every weekend for the freshest finds. I still make room for my favorite sweets, though! Usually a cannoli from an old school Italian bakery in Williamsburg. I think finding that balance is really the key to building a healthy relationship with your body. It's not about punishment, it's about feeling good. As far as stuff to add, I'm still working on finding time to get a consistent exercise regimen into my busy days. Right now it's a sporadic mix of yoga and running whenever I get a chance."

I noticed a lot of responses on your Instagram feed—and more than just showing appreciation, there seems to be a lot of support and education in those comments. How important is it to communicate directly with your customers?

"Communicating with our customers is everything. To us, it's about building a community that goes beyond products and purchases. We want to create a safe space for people to engage in wellness without feeling judged or excluded. I love finding any opportunity to connect with our community, be it on social media or at an in-person event."

Another line really stood out from your company story, “Golde was founded ... with the vision of making self-care more inclusive, engaging, and fun.” Why these three things specifically? How do they continue to be core concepts as the company grows?

"These are the tenets of our brand. As a woman of color, it was super important to me that our company did the work of highlighting diversity in wellness. Different backgrounds and body types are all 100% welcome to enjoy our products and engage with our brand mission. Making wellness more accessible means also tuning into how to make the experience feel good from start to finish — a good price point, great branding, and a delicious product don't need to be optional just because it's healthy. And hey, if it isn't fun, why bother?"

Indeed. Thanks, Trinity!

Golde has three products: Original Golde, Matcha Golde, and Cacao Golde. We’re pretty excited to have all of them available on our studio shelves and online shop.

Keep up with Trinity (@trinitymouzon) and Golde (@golde) on Instagram