Gwyneth Paltrow plays a high-powered executive in the Ironman films. As Pepper Potts, she has tough decisions to make. She has to consider what is needed for the company and do what is necessary, sometimes despite the whims and fancies of her superhero boss.
But Gwyneth Paltrow is an executive in real life. Sure, many actors consider themselves "managers of their own brand," in the sense that their name, face, and reputation are worth money. But Gwyneth Paltrow is very much involved in her own actual business, a website called Goop.
There has been some confusion about the function and identity of Goop. The website itself admits that there has been a change from the original mission.
"Launched in the fall of 2008 out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen, goop was originally conceived as a weekly e-mail newsletter. Its intent was two-fold: GP [Gwyneth Paltrow] wanted a place to organize her unbiased travel recs, health-centric recipes, and shopping discoveries for friends, and she also wanted to get her own questions—about health, fitness, and the psyche—answered."
So it started as a weekly newsletter where Gwyneth Paltrow could tell people about stuff she liked. Most people just start a blog for that. But Goop grew into something more.
"Now, goop has become a place for GP to introduce some of the incredible experts who have mentored her throughout her life to a wider audience, and a place where readers can find suggestions about where to shop, eat, and stay from a trusted friend—not from an anonymous, crowd-sourced recommendation engine."
So it's no longer just Gwyneth Paltrow's recommendations, but a format and forum for other experts to recommend things. Fair enough. The newsletter is still there. But there is more. Venture capital investment and other partnering has expanded what Goop does.
"There’s now a collective of people behind the brand, daily content, and a roster of collaborations with some of our favorite designers, who we’ve partnered with to create wardrobe staples and special finds, turning goop into a fully shoppable, lifestyle brand."
In all this growth, Gwyneth Paltrow and her audience have gotten a little hazy about what Goop is. The site tries to make this clear, but Gwyneth Paltrow herself has had to take the task in hand of representing the brand that bears her name.
New York Magazine calls Goop Gwyneth Paltrow's "internet pamphlet on coveting." The site carries recommendations for such items as $1,090 watch, and a $550 travel backgammon set. Who is the site aimed toward, anyway?
Gwyneth Paltrow tried to clear things up in a segment on Bloomberg.
“I think there is sometimes a miscommunication,” Paltrow explained. “We aren’t a super-luxury site but we’re aspirational. We have things on there that cost $4. We have things on there that cost $500. Sometimes I think that some of the criticism Goop gets is because people haven’t actually gone to the site and looked around and seen what we actually are.”
Since she is the face of Goop, does Gwyneth Paltrow ever worry that she might be seen as shilling expensive products to a fan base that just can't afford them?
"First of all, the core of our business is the authenticity and the trust. The reason why our open rates are so high, the reason why people come back is that they trust us. They trust that the information is good. They trust that the recommendation is real. We know that at Goop, and we will never do anything to breach that trust. But there are ways we've figured out that we can run a business and generate revenue that are in line with the specific brands, the ethos of those brands, and what we're trying to achieve."