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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Comes to Austin

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Until April 28, you can shop Goop’s most popular—and infamous—products. 

By Courtney Runn

Goop is an easy target. The lifestyle wellness brand created by Gwyneth Paltrow has taken heat for everything from promoting vaginal steaming to claiming a set of stickers were made of the same “conductive carbon material” that NASA uses (NASA denied the statement). Last weekend, Paltrow even made fun of her own brand in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Ahead of Paltrow’s keynote at South By Southwest, the simultaneously infamous and beloved brand popped up on South Congress Avenue, giving Austinites a chance to draw their own Goop conclusions. When you enter the minimalistic, white space, you’re immediately greeted by a potted tree. Crystals, yoni eggs, kitchen items, clothing and nontoxic beauty products litter the room. Unlike the SNL caricatures of Goop workers, the pop-up’s staff immediately rattles off the benefits of each product, backed by their own personal experiences.

From the kitchen section, a book entitled It’s All Easy, with Paltrow’s smiling face, stares up at you. The wellness section includes Lauren Roxburgh’s Taller, Slimmer, Younger. Paltrow’s voice seems to bounce off the walls, affirming customers they can have it all—her lifestyle, her glowing skin, her physique. And it’s as easy as paying $85 for crystals.

Paltrow knows the perception of herself and her store. She’s seen the headlines and heard the criticism and, at 46, she doesn’t care. In her keynote conversation with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Paltrow opened up about the humanness that infuses her business decisions and Goop journey.

“I’m 46 and I love being in my 40s,” Paltrow said. “This incredible freedom comes with being a woman in her mid-40s and really understanding this is who I am. I’ve stopped worrying so much about what people think about me.”

Paltrow partially credits her dad for her Goop success, noting he saw the CEO in her before she did, as Harlow put it. While he passed away before seeing his daughter’s entrepreneurial success, his voice continues to guide her through moments of self-doubt. 

Reflecting on the early stages of Goop before it launched in 2008, Paltrow says she was experiencing an identity crisis as an actress. 

“Am I worth anything if I’m not famous?” she remembers asking herself. 

Like many women, Paltrow struggled with imposter syndrome since, in her words, she had “no business in starting a business.” Male reporters have even asked her whether there’s an unseen man at the helm of the company. From secretly Googling mysterious acronyms in meetings (“What is an AUR? Why is it different from an AOV?”) to emulating business qualities she saw in male leaders, she slowly began to learn on the job.

Paltrow’s stamp on the company is evident and evidence of the fastidious research and intentionality she brings to Goop. She gives every new employee a book on their first day, offers unlimited vacation and closes the company for two weeks in August. Company culture drives her leadership and she regularly turns to her business mentors and idols to guide her decisions. The company continues to grow, and with a Netflix show on the horizon, Paltrow is showing no signs of slowing down. And while she embodies the brand, she never wants her name to eclipse Goop.

“I’m really intentionally trying to build a business that’s far bigger than I ever was as a celebrity,” she said. 

When asked about the role of CEOs to speak out about political and cultural issues, Paltrow was quick to respond that getting on a soapbox is “preaching to the converted” and it shouldn’t matter what she thinks or who she voted for. Onstage, her celebrity faded as she discussed the need for vulnerability in business leaders and leaving work by 4 p.m. to help her kids with homework. Sometimes it’s hard being “so Gwyneth Paltrow,” she said. But she still is Gwyneth Paltrow and until April 28, when her pop-up blesses another city with its trendy aesthetic, you can pretend to be Gwyneth Paltrow too.    

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