career memos

Inclusivity in Sustainability with Azora Zoe Paknad, Founder of Goldune

July 14, 2021

Running a growing business as a solo founder.

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Azora Zoe Paknad’s goal is to get millions of people around the world excited about sustainability. Goldune is an ecommerce retailer offering sustainable products for home, life, and your medicine cabinet, with an emphasis on supporting women and BIPOC-owned brands.

It wasn’t until Azora quit her full-time job at Food52 and moved across the country, where the open space and quiet proved inspirational and pivotal in ultimately launching Goldune.

This episode was all about a new founder’s perspective: what it’s been like running a growing business as a solo founder, the importance of finding a “business therapist”, and avoiding the pitfalls of the comparison trap. Listen to Episode 34 of The Career Memos Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.


The power of quiet when it comes to launching new ideas.

Azora grew up with entrepreneurial parents and has fond memories of playing with Barbies under her Mom’s desk and taking naps under the table during board meetings. She saw the massive highs and lows along the way as they built multiple businesses: the acquisitions, the successes, and the failures.

It wasn’t long before Azora launched a career in fashion jewelry, supporting influencer marketing and social media efforts at BaubleBar, and later moving on to Food52, a content and commerce startup. 

Azora recalled how wild it was to start on the ground level at Food52 as an assistant while gradually working her way up to the senior leadership team and witnessing their acquisition.

It wasn’t until she decided to quit her job, sublet her New York apartment, and move in with her family in Northern California that the ideas started flowing again. Azora even pushed some of these thoughts away at first. She could feel the rumblings of wanting to start a company, but thought that it would be “back breakingly difficult.”

The realities of growing a 7-8 month old company.

Azora shared so many juicy behind the scenes details about what it’s really been like to build Goldune from the ground up and what inspired her to build a business steeped in sustainability.

In the industry, she noticed that it was rare to find the movement led with warmth, joy, positivity, and inclusivity. She dreamed about removing the cost barriers and making it possible for everyone to feel like they could contribute and participate.

Azora is humble about her growth, even though they’re scaling their team and continuing to build momentum. She’s worn just about every hat, from playing copywriter, social media manager, and designer. To date, Goldune hasn’t launched a single paid ad or any kind of paid growth strategy. As they were building their proof of concept, it didn’t make sense to invest at that stage.

An unexpected surprise along the way was the birth of her community that emerged pretty organically out of a weekly Instagram Q&A she started. Her audience is naturally excited to share tips and ideas and successes with each other and the conversations have flourished, creating an extension of her brand that she didn’t expect.

Azora’s best piece of advice for new founders

Azora admitted that she has always wanted the best for her business. Goldune is her star child. While she always felt comfortable following her own path in her own life, she recounted the challenges of avoiding the comparison trap when it comes to her company.

She also shared the importance of finding a trusted confidante that you can spill everything to. She has one friend who gives her amazing advice and has listened to countless voicemails and long texts, and she’s not even an investor or an employee. Yet she’s someone who Azora trusts and respects deeply. Having at least one person in your life who is smarter than you (or even at your level), who you can be genuinely honest with, without feeling like you’re being judged, is instrumental.

Sometimes, the simplest act of just letting the words come out of your mouth can help you discover the answer you’re seeking.

Is there someone in your life you feel the same way about, who can ride the entrepreneurial journey alongside you?


“Take care of yourself. You’re your one finite resource, and you need to think about taking care of yourself as a piece of the job so that you’re able to keep going and continue being the Energizer Bunny behind the scenes.”

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Over the last 12+ years, I’ve done everything from work as a global human rights activist to lead marketing & partnerships initiatives at companies like Postmates and Apple. I’ve started businesses, lived in multiple cities around the world, pivoted careers more than once, and know what it takes to turn career goals into a reality. As a career coach & consultant, I’m passionate about sharing all that I’ve learned with you, helping you define tangible goals, and providing you with the tools and direct feedback you need to achieve them.

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