Gold In Goop: Why Gwyneth Paltrow Built Her Million-Dollar Wellness Empire

Actress and lifestyle guru, Gwyneth Paltrow was at the top of her game, starring in more than 30 films, receiving an Oscar in 1996 for Shakespeare in Love and appearing on the front page of newspaper and magazines for her relationships with the likes of Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and ex- husband, Chris Martin.

Seemingly overnight, the star left her current position as an A-lister in Hollywood to become a multi-million dollar CEO for the popular, yet controversial lifestyle empire, Goop.

When asked if she may ever want to return to acting, Paltrow told Harpers Bazaar, “Literally never – nev-er. When I was acting I really burned myself out. When the flywheel kicked in, I was doing three to five movies a year. I really got to the point where even the little things, like sitting in the van going to set, getting your makeup touch-ups, and everything – I really don’t know that I can bear it.”

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The mega-star said during her last feature film, Proof, she was pregnant with her daughter Apple (now 15) and thought to herself, ‘I’ve had it’.

Knowing she’d take substantial time off with the birth of her firstborn, Paltrow simply never went back.

Today, the 47-year-old’s estimated net worth is $160 million – and living the life she’s always dreamed.

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Putting all of Hollywood behind her, Paltrow chose to de-stress, evaluate her life and finally, to share it. Many celebrities have tried and failed. How did Paltrow manage to connect with so many despite creating controversy and at times, saying the taboo?

Start Small

According to Indigo9Digital, build a loyal following before you monetize.

Sure, Paltrow now sells millions in recipe books, a clothing line, magazine sales and store-front locations internationally, but it didn’t start out that way.

It started with a newsletter (featuring recipes for Turkey Ragu and Banana-Nut Muffins) sent to 150,000 subscribers in 2008 and ten years later, the same newsletter, full of new ideas for quality lifestyle is going out to 8 million subscribers.

It was a slow build.

“I was doing something from a very real, very honest place,” Paltrow told Indigo. “There wasn’t anything commercial about it. So when we decided to foray into commerciality, there was something to trust.”

Despite Setbacks, Keep Going

The brand often draws controversy from the science and medical community because Paltrow isn’t afraid to try alternative products.

Perhaps the most well-known was the 2017 jade egg controversy. According to Good Housekeeping, the lifestyle brand began selling a $66 jade “egg” that claimed to improve hormonal imbalance, feminine energy and even orgasms.

When gynecologists quickly spoke up about the dangers of the product, Goop was fined $145,000 for “unsubstantiated marketing claims.”

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The most recent controversy seems harmless enough. A $75 candle called, “This Smells Like My Vagina” went viral and sold out in a matter of days and led skeptics to further question the lifestyle sites message.

That hasn’t stopped Paltrow from continuing to try new things and share them with others. In the six part series, The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow (now streaming on Netflix), four Goop employees travel to Jamaica on a “healing trip” in which they try psychedelics or magic mushrooms.

Paltrow has said of taking some mind-altering substances therapeutically, “there’s so much to unearth.”

Find the ‘White Space’

Paltrow consistently looks for the ‘white space’ – that area that leaves people wanting more. She’s setting trends instead of following them.

Interested in learning more about becoming a healthier person, she found herself at the front of large movements.

For example, in 2011, when Paltrow published her first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, and then a second in 2013, It’s All Good, largely focused on gluten-free, sugar-free and vegetable-forward recipes, society thought it was strange.

However, the gluten-free market in 2020 was projected to reach $23.9 billion and as we all know, is a societal trend today.

In 2016, Goop released their clean skin-care line, boasting non-toxic ingredients; free of typical sulfates, parabens or formaldehyde. Two years later, Sephora launched a similar line and demand has skyrocketed.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reinvent

The company has partnered with many established corporations including Sephora, Christian Louboutin and CB2 furniture. They have their own G. Label brand of clothing among other merchandise, but also offer variety at the Goop Shop and grew the merchandise brand by 50 percent in 2019.

Paltrow launched a Goop podcast in 2018 with guests like Oprah, Brene Brown, Joe Dispenza and Bryan Stevenson. The Goop website calls the podcast a list of industry disruptors, not afraid to shift old paradigms and start new conversations.

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She hasn’t completely disengaged with Hollywood.

The part-time actress continued her roll as Pepper Pots in the Iron Man series and reprised the role for The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). She was also cast in her husband (Brad Falchuk) Netflix series, The Politician but she’s made it clear that Goop is where her heart is.

The Goop brand continues to push the envelope, making critics loudly debate some of the conversations but concreting trust and transparency in fans. They are known for being willing to have hard conversations, confronting taboos and experimenting alongside willing consumers.

All that open honesty and trust building has paid off for Paltrow and whether you’re on the critic side or fan side of the coin, we’re waiting to see what she comes up with next.

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Sources: Harper’s Bazaar, Indigo9Digital, Good Housekeeping, Goop

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