Direct-to-consumer brands like Amazon.com or Walmart are the first things that come to mind when you think about some of the most successful retailers to consumer brands. However, over the past decade Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand: “goop” has grown from a weekly newsletter in 2008 to an eCommerce, media, and events empire. Last year, the company was estimated at $250 million. Drawing back the curtains of time, it began when Gwyneth Paltrow sent her first weekly newsletter which focused on lifestyle advice to family and friends. Before she knew it, in 2009 the newsletter had nearly 150,000 subscribers. By 2018, “goop” had over 8 million subscribers. The company’s newsletters are very popular with open rates of up to 40% which is twice the average for the lifestyle category. Newsletters produce 35% of the traffic to goop’s website. In this article, we look at the rise and fall of Paltrow’s famous albeit controversial products and how she gambled and won on gluten-free diets being a thing in the future!
Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: 14 Intriguing Facts People Should Know!
What does Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop stand for?
The name of the company (Goop) comes from Paltrow’s own name…somewhat. When the company began, USA Today interviewed her to ask why she called the company Goop.
Gwyneth Paltrow said Goop came from her initials “G.P.”, it could also be a general word meaning anything. Some people think this was a sort of nickname for herself. But according to the goop website, In 2007, Peter Arnell joked to Gwyneth Paltrow that all successful internet companies have double o’s in their name. So, the name Goop was really chosen because any name with two “O’s” in the middle is generally more eye-catching just like G-OO-Gle and Y-ah-OO.
All major brands have some rhyme or reason behind their names. Then again, maybe more than a few don’t because they want to keep it straight forward and in the case of Goop, they want us to simply associate it with Gwyneth Paltrow and her initials.
One thing for certain is that no one will ever look at the word “Goop” the same way again as it has shifted in terms of favourability.
Why is goop so popular?
One of the reasons Goop is so popular is because:
It sets the trend instead of following it. For example, gluten free diets were not as common in 2013 when Paltrow not only talked about eating gluten free foods but also wrote a cookbook on the subject.
Is Supergoop owned by Gwyneth Paltrow?
Founded by Holly Thaggard, Supergoop! is unaffiliated with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Supergoop! is the only prestige skincare brand 100% dedicated to suncare. Since 2007, they have focused on the ease of incorporating UV protection into your daily routine. The product is paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free as well as cruelty-free.
This brand has nothing to do with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop but there is a celebrity endorsement here as tennis pro Maria Sharapova invested her money in Supergoop.
What is Goop?
In September 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow founded and launched goop from her kitchen as a homespun weekly newsletter providing new age advice, such as “police your thoughts” and “eliminate white foods”, and the slogan “Nourish the Inner Aspect.
The company name is stylized as goop.
Today, Goop is a wellness and lifestyle brand as they got their website running and expanded into e-commerce, collaborating with fashion brands, launching pop-up shops, holding a “wellness summit,” launching a print magazine, a podcast, and a docuseries for Netflix.
Since 2008, GP’s brand Goop has launched several brands and product lines.
It launched an online shop in 2012, and it earned $1.5 million for Goop during its first year of operation.
By 2014, the Goop newsletter had an estimated 700,000 subscribers.
In 2016, additional funds also led to an increase in staffing for Goop, as well as the launch of new products, including a fashion label with a focus on practical, tailored clothing. The same year, Goop by Juice Beauty, a makeup and skincare line launched in partnership with Juice Beauty influenced by the popularity of a Goop article the year before about beauty products without formaldehyde and endocrine disruptors. The brand’s products are made from USDA certified organic ingredients and are considered to be vegan.
Goop Label, a fashion line also launched in September 2016 which was based on Paltrow’s personal favorites and styles, and has been described as “high-street staples.” Also in 2016, Goop Fragrance, an all-natural fragrance line including perfume and scented candles were launched. The first fragrance, Edition 01 Winter, was created by the perfumer Douglas Little and released in November of that year.
Goop-branded products quadrupled in value in 2017. These brands include:
- Goop Wellness, which sells GMO and gluten-free vitamin products and other supplements was launched in 2017. GW was influenced by the popularity of a Goop article that year about “postnatal depletion.”
- Offered in partnership with Westin Hotels and Resorts G. Sport Sessions was launched in 2018. G. Sport Sessions offered fitness programs with classes led by Tracy Anderson, Paltrow’s real personal trainer.
- cb2 x Goop, a home décor and furniture line in partnership with Crate and Barrel, launched in August 2018.
- GoopGenes All-In-One Nourishing Face Cream and Eye Cream, was founded in early August 2020 with the help of Paltrow’s mother, actress Blythe Danner, and GP’s daughter with Chris Martin, Apple Martin.
- Last year, Goop launched a limited-edition activewear line in collaboration with American designer Proenza Schouler. Their collaboration was the first activewear from Proenza Schouler and the first partner in the design of the G. Sport collection.
Collaborating with fashion brands:
Goop collaborated with Kain to design a T-shirt that costs $90. With Stella McCartney, they also launched five pieces for their first capsule collaboration in 2013.
The company also partnered with Westin Hotels & Resorts to offer a range of fitness programs called “G. Sport Sessions” later that summer.
Last year in February 2020, Goop launched a spring clothing line called “Goop Edit” for Banana Republic on the Goop website The partnership also released its second eight-part series of “Women on Top” which is a podcast.
Goop moved up its fashion offerings in 2018, hiring Danielle Pergament of Allure to be Goop’s editor in chief, directly under CCO Elise Loehnen. Ali Pew of InStyle was also procured as Goop’s fashion director and Anne Keane, formerly of Lucky magazine, was brought in as Goop’s fashion strategy director.
The same year, they launched a capsule collection (a smaller version of a designer’s larger collection that includes only the most essential or influential pieces from that collection) with fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer.
By the end of the year, Goop partnered with Universal Standard to add a collection of plus-size clothing to its clothing line which features US sizes 00-40, (UK sizes 2-44).
In June 2018, the company opened its first international pop-up shop in London. In a sign of success, in January 2019, the shop became a permanent Goop store.
In August 2018, the American company started a furniture and home decor line with Crate and Barrel’s CB2 brand.
Last year in 2020, the company’s private label brand, Goop Beauty, began a collaboration with Sephora. Distribution began in Sephora stores in January in the US, and then by the next month, the GoopGlow collection of cosmetics became available in Canada.
The same year, Goop joined with French clothing company A.P.C. to start a clothing collection promoting the two companies’ focus on conscious consumption. Goop’s lifestyle brand also collaborated with Los Angeles-based bed manufacturer Avocado, to introduce a “climate-neutral” and “ethically sourced” bed.
In a marketing move, beginning in November 2020 JetBlue Mint business class overhauled customer amenities to include several products from Goop’s cosmetic line.
Launching pop-up shops:
In 2014, the first goop popped up in the Brentwood Country Mart—for a week. Goop has a tightly curated fashion shop, and in G. Label, which is their fashion line that launches in monthly capsule collections.
By 2017, the “Beauty” part of the website worked alongside the products sold in the shop. Goop brands and product lines are marketed online, at the Goop Lab in Brentwood Country Mart in Los Angeles, and at pop-up shops in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, the Hamptons, Dallas and Aspen, and in collaboration with Nordstrom stores.
This was also the year that Goop opened its first permanent brick and mortar store. On June 20, 2019 Goop opened a store inside the luxury retailer Harvey Nichols’ flagship store in London. In November 2020 Goop opened a 1,012 square-foot shop at the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Hotel on the Island of Hawaii. The shop was created in collaboration with interior designers Kate McCollugh and Max Zinser. In February 2020 Goop opened a permanent retail store, Goop’s Sundries Shop, at the Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel in Montecito, California. There is also a Goop Lab store in Brentwood, California and a Goop MRKT in Sag Harbor, New York.
Goop opened a pop-up shop in September 2018 in the Notting Hill area of London. Due to close in January 2019, it instead stayed open until November 2020 when it finally closed.
Holding a “wellness summit:
Goop held its first wellness summit in June 2017 which held over 600 attendees.
The company’s second In Goop Health summit was held in January 2018 had celebrity guests and speakers like Drew Barrymore, Chelsea Handler and Laura Linney.
Panelists included Kelly Brogan, an alleged “holistic health psychiatrist”, who has disputed the effectiveness of both vaccinations and HIV medications. Brogan’s presence was criticized by Page Six and Jezebel. The third summit was held in Culver City, California in June 2018 where actress Meg Ryan and Janet Mock were featured.
In May 2019, Goop held an In goop Health summit at the Rolling Greens Nursery in Los Angeles. Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Willamson attended Goop’s eighth wellness summit in Richmond, California.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 Goop canceled a planned “Goop at Sea” cruise that had been scheduled to begin in late August last year.
In 2015, the company began a publishing imprint, Goop Press, with Grand Central Publishing.
On March 8, 2018, Goop launched a podcast using Cadence13 as its digital platform. Its first guest was Oprah Winfrey and the podcast went upto number one in the Apple Podcast charts the same day it aired- on March 8.
It is largely hosted by Goop CCO Elise Loehnen and has a weekly audience of 100,000 to 650,000.in a marketing move, Goop began streaming their podcast on 600 Delta planes in February 2019. Later that year, they collaborated with Banana Republic for an eight-part podcast series entitled Women on Top – this was also an intro to their fashion line.
According to the website: On The goop Podcast, the Iron Man actress and Elise Loehnen chat with leading thinkers, culture changers, and industry disruptors—from doctors to creatives, CEOs to spiritual healers—about shifting old paradigms and starting new conversations.
Docuseries for Netflix:
Gwyneth’s brand has sustained itself — despite all of the scandals over the years and now, it’s the center of the star’s new Netflix docu-series, the goop lab.
The documentary series promoted the Goop company, which premiered on January 24, 2020 on Netflix. It essentially features Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen interviewing experts in different fields. In 2020 The Goop Lab was nominated for a double Critics Choice Real TV Awards.
2. Goop’s Success Is Due to Paltrow’s Vision For What Goop Could Be:
Tony Florence, a venture capitalist and goop’s first institutional investor once said:
“Gwyneth was super sophisticated in how she thought about the market opportunity.”
Even though the actress started with a newsletter she eventually monetized her success in ways that have proven to be hugely successful.
3. In Goop Health Summits Weren’t A Success:
The annual Goop summit is called: In Goop Health. The actress has been putting on these exclusive (and extremely expensive) events in cities around the country for three years now.
Those who attend have offered feedback saying they walked away disappointed as a result of the “pretentious” and “greedy” vibe the summit gave off.
Another controversy regarding the summit was the virtual “In Goop Health” summits in partnership with YouTube with no cost to participants. The digital summits (in response to the COVID-19 lockdown) were simplified versions of the live events Goop had held in the past in cities such as Los Angeles, London, and New York.
4. Did You Know Goop Had A Viral “Vagina Candle”?
No matter what you think of the gimmicky $75 candle, though, it’s already sold out on its website. Does this mean that their marketing works? This recent controversy might be more harmless than their bee venom therapy, the egg that needs to be inserted into the vagina or vaginal steaming, but that didn’t stop Goop’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle from going viral.
5. At First, Goop Had A More Relatable, Lifestyle Driven Focus:
When GP first began on the lifestyle brand’s site, she was still married to Chris Martin from Coldplay and traveling to act in films. According to her interviews from recent years, she wanted to start Goop based on her world travels and friends asking for advice on home designs or recipes.
At the time of the company’s founding, It’s interesting to see the more useful lifestyle side of Goop.
Since expanding into offering thousands of New Age health products never really tested for safety, the company has changed. For one, it has become so large, even Paltrow is known for not being familiar with half the products they offer.
This was well-noted when Jimmy Kimmel presented some of her products on his show when Paltrow was a guest and didn’t seem to know where or how Goop’s amethyst in the water bottle was made. *alarm bells*
Let’s also not forget that Goop’s other business branches, most recently extended into peddling snake oil to profit off the COVID-19 pandemic. *puke*.
6. The “NASA Spacesuit” Stickers Was Just Bizzare:
NASA also does not use carbon to make its spacesuits so it was weird that in 2017, the lifestyle brand published an article promoting pricey “healing stickers” that were purportedly made from the same “conductive carbon material” NASA uses to manufacture spacesuits. Suffice to say, a NASA PR agent shut down that story stating: “Wow, what a load of BS this is,” Mark Shelhamer, former chief scientist at NASA’s human research division, told Gizmodo.
7. Paltrow Has Been Taking On The Haters Through Netflix:
Some might say Paltrow’s The Goop Lab on Netflix is her using her money to throw off critics who think the products she sells do more harm than good. Despite this, one can easily see the evidence is risky to use the company’s products without consulting with the medical establishment first.
If anything, Goop is almost synonymous with examining the possibilities in alternative health products and giving a schooling on how to effectively sell a brand, outside of the buyer becoming more aware of what they’re buying.
8. Controversy Via The Infamous Jade Egg:
Of the many Goop controversies, the Great Jade Egg Fiasco of 2017 made news when it was hit with a $145,000 fine for its “unsubstantiated marketing claims.”
Perhaps the most well-known scandal, the lifestyle brand marketed a $66 jade “egg” product that could improve everything from orgasms and hormonal imbalances to “feminine energy” when it is inside a woman’s vagina.
Gynecologists were quick to warn women that the eggs could actually be super risky!
9. Goop Is Going In On Ghost Kitchens During The Pandemic:
The brand is getting into the ghost kitchen game with the launch of a new delivery-only restaurant in Santa Monica, California. Called “The Goop Kitchen” it opened on March 8 and the menu includes bowls, salads, lettuce wraps, soups, and desserts.
Ofcourse the dishes are all gluten-free and boast vegan options, sustainable growing practices, and an in-house “Goop Certified Clean” label (which means no processed sugars, processed foods, gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts, or preservatives).
Prices are on par with other fast-casual bowl restaurants like Sweetgreen.
“Driven by a core belief that clean, nutrient-dense, delicious food leads to greater well-being, Goop has covered countless detoxes and interviewed legions of experts on the food-to-happiness connection,” the company said in a statement, per Food & Wine.
Ghost kitchens is a delivery-only “concept,” becoming an increasingly popular restaurant model, particularly thanks to Covid restrictions. Easier and more cost-effective, ghost kitchens service the delivery boom from industrial kitchens or existing restaurant kitchens than to open a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant with a dining room. This philosophy makes it lucrative to celebrities with a brand image to hawk, independent chefs experimenting with pop-ups, and entrepreneurs looking for a scalable project with high earning potential.
10. The $15,000 Sex Toy:
In 2016, Gwyneth released a sex-themed edition of her Goop newsletter and keeping up with its unrealistic price points, but this particular recommendation seemed to come with an even more ridiculous price tag than usual.
Here, she recommended a mix of “not-so-basic sex toys” which was weird coming from the “ My Father’s Daughter” author.
One sex toy that really caught skeptics’ is the $15,000 24-karat gold number from Lelo.
11. Her Bee Venom Therapy May Cause Death:
In a 2016 interview with The New York Times, Gwyneth first mentioned her experiences with apitherapy, or “bee venom therapy,” before she went on to sing its praises in an article on the Goop site.
On the website, she said that being stung by bees helped her “completely” eliminate an old injury but according to the BBC, most of the reported benefits of apitherapy have been anecdotal
The truth is disclaimer like: One woman even died in 2018 after two years of regularly undergoing the procedure, should be mentioned when encouraging any therapy.
12. The Infamous Risky Vaginal Steaming:
Back in 2015, a Goop article claims that vaginal steaming procedures — a.k.a. “V-Steams” —made gynecologists angry. They claimed that the steam won’t offer any cleaning or hormone-balancing benefits to women.
In one case, a Pittsburgh ob-gyn Draion Burch, MD, told LiveScience that there’s no scientific evidence supporting vaginal steaming as a cleaning procedure.
A risk of second-degree burns comes with steaming.
13. Goop Came Under Pressure Over 50 Health Claims:
GP’s company has faced criticism for selling products and treatments that are based on pseudoscience, lack efficacy, and are recognized by the medical establishment as harmful or misleading.
In 2017, Truth in Advertising filed a complaint with California regulators regarding over 50 health claims made by Goop, which resulted in a $125,000 settlement and a five-year injunction prohibiting the company from making and making unsubstantiated claims about the characteristics of their products or any health benefits.
14. How Does Goop Make Money?
In 2011, the company was able to make £81,000 in sales, and the year after it generated £1.1 million in sales, with a loss of £23,000. Goop generated twice its revenues from 2014 to 2015, and again from 2015 to 2016. In 2018 the company tripled its year-over-year revenue from 2017.
The company also generates revenue from advertising and also sells a Goop-branded clothing line, perfume, and books. As of 2017 Goop’s newsletter subscribers have an average age of 34 and a household income of $100k+ per year.
- In 2016, the company generated $15 million USD in Series B funding from venture capital firms NEA, Felix Capital and 14W Venture Partners. This corresponded with Goop centralizing their HQ and operations in the Los Angeles area, where Paltrow is based, and away from New York.
- In 2018, Goop raised $50 million in Series C funding from firms including NEA, Lightspeed and Felix Capital, bringing total investment in the company to $82 million. The company’s valuation rose to $250 million.
- Among Goop’s financial backers is Greycroft Partners. This is a venture capital firm which has also supported other businesses including Klout, Huffington Post, Venmo and Ireland-based cosmetic treatment/beauty clinic chain Sisu.