How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million

A fairly amazing profile by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. A lot of the love I've seen on social media notes how balanced it is, but that's part of what I think is so amazing about it: to me, it doesn't read as all that balanced (and rightfully so) but she twists it just enough to fool many folks -- including, one would assume, Paltrow's own people. Is she being ironic or being ironic about being ironic? Well played.

Some choice bits:

So how do you bring them in? There have been pop-up Goop stores everywhere from Dallas to Miami. There would be a digital pass to the summit. But you can’t taste a plate of ancient grains and avocado in citrus dressing on a computer. You can’t feel someone push warm oil with a jade roller over your skin through an iPad. You can’t eat a piece of chocolate that will supposedly not just regulate your hormones but restore your sex life — chocolate! — on your phone. You can only watch some panels and one-on-one conversations. So she’s thinking they might take the thing on the road. Can you believe this? She was incredulous. She still remembers sitting in her kitchen in London, celebrating a day when $45 had come in because of an advertising partnership.


But something strange happened. Each of these pronouncements set off a series of blog posts and articles and tweets that linked directly to the site, driving up traffic. At Harvard, G.P. called these moments “cultural firestorms.” “I can monetize those eyeballs,” she told the students. Goop had learned to do a special kind of dark art: to corral the vitriol of the internet and the ever-present shall we call it cultural ambivalence about G.P. herself and turn them into cash. It’s never clickbait, she told the class. “It’s a cultural firestorm when it’s about a woman’s vagina.” The room was silent. She then cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA!” as if she were yodeling.


The next morning, I had another article to write. But my hotel was on the beach, and the ocean was just a block away. I still had a bottle of Madame Dry Rose Water, which is “botanically infused, positively charged” water that is filtered through rose-quartz crystals, and a bottle of Lifewtr, which is just water without vowels. I thought, for maybe the first time in my life, that work could wait. Self-care. Wellness. It started now. I had a long trip home ahead of me, and now I was someone who said “self-care.”
I walked down to the beach with my waters. I sat on a bench as I drank them. I became buoyant with hope. I could feel my posture straightening. I was so free of anxiety and so full of forward motion. I couldn’t remember feeling that way ever before. I could do this, I thought. I could change. I could be someone who pursued only the best. The ocean air. The sand. The sky. All the wellness, it was mine. I could stop smoking. I could exercise. I could hydrate. Look at all the kinds of waters we have! Look at all the kinds of moisturizer! All the ingredients, all of them so beautiful. Everything beautiful, lovely and clean. What if you could pay the price — time, intention, a serious allocation of funds — and make it all this way? I could. I would.

[Narrator: she would not.]

Really though: So. Damn. Funny.


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