Cannes 2016: Gwyneth Paltrow preps Goop for growth

The actor-turned-living lifestyle brand talks about her content and ecommerce venture


Gwyneth Paltrow has her share of critics.

When the actress made the leap into the content business with her lifestyle website, Goop, it prompted a predictable round of eye rolls. And though the site has gained massive brand awareness, there have been rumblings its financials are less than healthy.

But the most common criticism lobbed at Goop and Paltrow as of late is that the site is full of exorbitant, ridiculously expensive items. To that charge, Paltrow is anything but oblivious. Speaking at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity on Wednesday during a taping of BBC’s HardTalk, Paltrow defended the site’s selections, insisting it has products “at every price point,” citing examples like an $8 lip balm and a $12 non-toxic deodorant.

She did, however, admit her team now plays along with the reputation Goop has earned for being upmarket to the point of absurdity. “We have a bit of fun now and we’ll affiliate link to a $15,000 gold dildo just to troll people,” she laughed.

The Goop team is also well aware that those kinds of posts are going to be written about by other sites – and even if the tone is scathing, it’s still getting people to talk about the Goop brand.

“We look for products that will create that kind of reaction,” Paltrow said.

Asked whether she knew she was building a brand when she launched Goop, Paltrow said no; she was simply interested in sharing tips she’d picked up from her years traveling as an actor.

“It wasn’t conscious…It was genuinely me wanting to find the best answers, answer my own questions [and] aggregate information for my friends or people who might be interested,” Paltrow said. “Through time, through the gestational period of the brand, I started to realize: there’s power in this.”

Paltrow also shared the origin story of the Goop brand with HardTalk host Stephen Sackur and the audience in Cannes. Around the time of Goop‘s launch in 2008, Paltrow spent a significant amount of time with Arnell Group founder Peter Arnell. It was Arnell, she said, who came up with the name by putting two o’s between her initials. The reasoning? “He said all big internet companies had two o’s.”

Today Paltrow said one of her biggest challenges is protecting the Goop brand. “It’s fascinating to safeguard the brand as you grow it. I find that to be the most interesting piece,” Paltrow said. “The brand is built with a lot of authenticity and I have to protect that as it scales.”

As for the future of the brand, she shot down any suggestions of a print product, but did say she’s pondering how Goop can live in the brick and mortar world. The site does at least one annual pop-up shop and Paltrow said the events have proven the worth of a physical space.

“We love the experience of creating the pop up and being able to interact with the customer and having that physical experience,” she said. “[Retail space] is definitely something we think about.”

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