If you’re feeling angsty about climate change, consumerism and waste, you’ll be pleased to meet The Good Emporium. The online shop, which opened in late 2019, is dedicated to objects that are ethically sourced and made, and shipped carbon neutral. There are cups made from coffee husks, bamboo straws and greeting cards embedded with seeds (so once they’ve passed on your message, they can be planted).
Andre Eikmeier, co-founder of Adelaide-based online wine retailer Vinomofo, is behind the venture. The concept is the result of an existential crisis that hit him after a 2018 meeting where he told Vinomofo he’d decided to move on.
“I was making the 45 minute walk from the meeting to an Airbnb in [Melbourne’s] Carlton,” says Eikmeier. “I started thinking, ‘What legacy am I going to leave behind? Am I going to be remembered as the Vinomofo guy? Am I going to be the dinner party guest who complains a lot about the world, but doesn’t do anything? Or am I going to be someone else?’”
Instead of making a snap life-determining decision, Eikmeier sought help. He gathered a bunch of “fierce”, “heartful”, “hard-working” people together to throw around ideas. “I knew I wanted to start an organisation that could change things – that would be good for people.” And so, The Good Empire was born in September 2019.
It’s a platform with a mission to “help founders, startups, organisations and communities to be good for the world”. So far the Good Empire has launched The Good Academy, which runs courses; The Good Word, which sends “a new thought to your inbox every morning”; and now The Good Emporium, which sells products with transparent supply chains created by small teams that solve problems from end-to-end.
Products include reusable Huskee coffee cups, made from organic waste material created during coffee production (which will hopefully help reduce the staggering number of single-use cups that are thrown away each day), and bamboo straws created by a couple based in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. “The company works with a community in northern Vietnam at every stage of the process, from harvesting the bamboo to making the straws,” says Eikmeier.
The Good Emporium plans to expand its product range into apparel, skincare and packaging, and to partner with environmental charities. “The ultimate vision is to become a wholefoods store, but for sustainable living, with zero carbon output, zero waste and a closed loop.”
That’s easier said that done. “We set up with that vision in mind. But, when we looked into it, we realised it would be hard to achieve,” says Eikmeier. “We think the important thing is to be transparent along the way – to share what we’re doing and invite people to share their ideas with us.”