“I’m very passionate about health, wellness, and food,” stated Paltrow, “and goop was a way to get closer to myself.”
This year, BlogHer reconvened its annual conference in the heart of Manhattan, and there was something for everyone. "#BlogHer15: Experts Among Us" featured breakout sessions, and keynote presentations. At one of those, BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page sat down with actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow.
For those anxious to hear from a woman who has an Oscar, an Emmy, and has leveraged her celebrity into an online presence via goop —this was the ticket. Striding onto the stage in a thigh-high skirt paired with a crisp white shirt and black jacket, Paltrow answered questions about how she had carved out her niche.
“I wanted to have a place to organize my stuff,” Paltrow said. Friends suggested that she aggregate her discoveries about where to eat and shop, her favorite healthful recipes, and lifestyle insights into an “online form.” Paltrow was off and running with a newsletter that went live at the end of 2008. Putting together her weekly missive pushed her to question, “Who am I communicating with?” (On Twitter since 2011, over 2 million people currently follow Paltrow.)
“I’m very passionate about health, wellness, and food,” stated Paltrow, “and goop was a way to get closer to myself.” From what started “piece by piece in an organic way,” Paltrow described a growth process that was “a slow evolution.” There have been bumps along the way . . . including viral reactions to her “food stamp challenge,” statements about the difficulties of being a working actress and mother, and her “conscious uncoupling” announcement on goop about her divorce.
Lisa Gersh, previously the CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, joined the goop team in October 2014. Paltrow indicated that Gersh would be instrumental in formulating business decisions. With reports that goop’s revenues have been faltering, Gersh will most likely be spearheading efforts to maximize revenue streams through e-commerce.
On the sensibility of goop, Paltrow said, “I have a strong aesthetic. You may like it, you may not like it.” What does Paltrow see as a top benefit of the site? “It saves women time . . . and maximizes great moments.”
Since I was unfamiliar with goop, I checked it out. With the mission of helping women “make, go, get, do, be and see,” the advice is focused on the locations of New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris. Along with a guide to the Hamptons, there are stories about “hipster Paris” and “classic London.” Clothing for sale featured a $595 wedge sweater adjacent to at $38 powder puff tee.
When asked to define the profile of the goop woman, Paltrow noted, “We have an incredibly broad range of users.” The connective tissue and main criteria for what the site features are what Paltrow called “things that speak to me.” On that continuum, Paltrow pointed out, “We’ll have a link to super-expensive [items] just for fun.” Envisioning goop as becoming independent, Paltrow emphasized, “My dream is to see it be a stand-alone brand.”
Paltrow appeared more down-to-earth when the dialogue turned to her family and feelings. “I get my kids to school and then I go into my office. It’s like a real job.” In response to the question, “Do you read your own media?” Paltrow responded, laughing, “I only read nice things!” Then she added, “I don’t live with my head buried in the sand. I don’t read tabloids. I’m more interested in feedback than press.” She commented on “people who are projecting their own shit on to you,” but admitted, “If a comment hurts, I know that I’m holding that judgment against myself.”
Speaking glowingly about her mother, actress Blythe Danner, Paltrow referenced the example of her “power and femininity.” When telling a story about her deceased father, director Bruce Paltrow, Paltrow got weepy sharing an account about their trip to France when she was a 10-year-old. It struck a chord with the audience.
Paltrow connected with the crowd as she shared her concerns about Internet safety and arguing with her 11-year-old daughter about the appropriate age to get a phone. “At the end of the day, I’m a mom,” said Paltrow. She touched on her relationship with her ex and “co-parenting through a divorce,” stating, “Our children are our priority. Our values are around family.”
Next up for goop is the launch of an organic skincare line in 2016, with “proper red-carpet makeup” not far behind. Paltrow said she would do a film if she “loved the material,” and mentioned that she would also like to get back on stage.
Yet that all seemed a distant part of her history. “My life has had many chapters,” said Paltrow, “but now I’m focusing on my business.”