Gwyneth recounts the most difficult part of her goop leadership journey: “pressing send”
Pressing the SEND button is one crucial decision that could make us think and rethink for the nth time before finally doing it. Like saying “yes” to a marriage proposal, it could be life changing. And change has a plethora of meanings and outcomes for all of us.
Even Hollywood royalty Gwyneth Paltrow hesitated countless times before making the pivotal click that sent the first goop newsletter to the world. It was a significant decision that would eventually change many women’s views and choices and empower them in the process.
From a humble online newsletter in 2008, goop has grown and expanded to become the lifestyle brand that we know today. It sells a tightly edited array of products, as well as its own product lines which include skincare, fragrances, apparel, bath and body, and supplements. It also has a podcast, a book imprint, permanent and pop-up retail experiences, a live event series and an original series with Netflix, The goop Lab. The series, which premiered in January 2020 with six episodes, has been renewed for a second season.
But it all began with the deceptively simple act of pressing the SEND button.
“I think the hardest day almost was the day that I decided to press SEND on the first newsletter because it was really me planting a flag and saying this is who I wanna be and I don’t know how I’m gonna get there fully but this is who I wanna be and this is what I wanna do,” Paltrow recounted to PLDT-Smart FVP and Head of Corporate Communications Cathy Yap-Yang in a fireside interview during the Philippine Digital Convention (PH DigiCon 2020) hosted by PLDT Enterprise.
The Academy Award-winning actress related that sending that first newsletter drew a lot of strong reactions: “I remember sending out this little weekly newsletter with some recipes and some wellness ideas and travel things and the New York Times wrote this huge piece about what was I doing and why was I doing this and everybody was so confused by it.”
She said, “having the courage to do it and to keep doing it – in the face of people criticizing us or trying to put holes into what we were doing – and just staying the course and really keeping the bull’s eye in our sight, knowing we’re doing this because we really wanna show women that they can be whatever it is they wanna be. They have the right to ask questions about whatever aspect of their life that they want to. Every woman deserves agency, she deserves to be powerful. We just kept going.”
She knew, early on, that digital connectivity is an essential part of business, especially in these pandemic times when most people are restricted to their homes.
Around her, she’s seeing all e-commerce businesses. “All digital media platforms that those who are creating good products and content, are offering good service, everybody is growing. So that’s good for those of us who are lucky enough to have a digital component and it’s been harder for those of us who have physical businesses as well or people who are only in physical businesses. But I certainly am thinking about ways to grow and to continue those customers through the digital platform. It’s a much more efficient business and you know I’m worried about what this next year’s gonna hold, politically and from the standpoint of the pandemic.”
At the goop summit this year, which was conducted virtually, her team was able to make it much more accessible for their customers both from a geographic perspective and from a price point perspective. “It was a super successful event for us and people were very well connected to our mission and to each other. We created this amazing community and it was great. We’re gonna do another one next year on the first quarter because it was so successful,” Paltrow enthused.
“What happens digitally is you afford people the opportunity to dip their toe into the water for the conversations that might be difficult and they don’t have to necessarily participate. They can observe. They can be anonymous. And I think it’s for those women who are just exploring this idea of physical and mental wellness,” she added.
It took several years for this artist-entrepreneur to navigate the unpredictable waters of business. She made a lot of mistakes, learned from them and moved on, realizing that the challenges kept her on her toes. And she stayed the course.
Now the CEO of goop, Paltrow noted that “This business has been very interesting and such a steep learning curve for me and I have learned on the job. I have made so many mistakes, I have wasted millions of dollars. I look back and think, my God, I wish I have known X, Y, and Z before I had made this mistake or that mistake but I think I’ve come to a place where I’m very philosophical about it and I’m proud of myself for taking the risk, I’m proud of myself for all of our failures because we’ve learned so much through the process.”
On the perceived incongruence between acting or being an artist and an entrepreneur, she explained that “to be an artist is very entrepreneurial, and people don’t always make that connection. But when you’re an artist you have to hold this big idea of who you can be and what you can achieve. You have to have a certain level of belief that only entrepreneurs have and you have to keep going when everybody tells you no. You manifest your life for yourself and that’s what entrepreneurs do.”