Gwyneth Paltrow won’t get pushed around by venture capitalists
Even if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow, venture capitalists don’t necessarily cut you a break.
But it’s a good problem to have for the Oscar-winning actress turned chief executive officer of lifestyle brand Goop. Instead of selling the company she founded in 2009, Paltrow, 47, is tightening her grip and pushing further into retail.
Two years after hitting a $250 million valuation, Paltrow says Goop has all the ingredients to expand its offerings, which could start with food products. The online brand already uses pop-up stores to support a handful of brick-and-mortar locations in California, New York and London, and marketing is the least of her worries.
There’s no shortage of scrutiny around the brand behind vagina-scented candles, and a six-episode Netflix series has raised its profile and fueled criticism. During an interview with Bloomberg at the opening of a cybersecurity center in New York, Paltrow spoke about why she doesn’t want more venture money, what’s next for Goop, and how to save retail from the apocalypse.
Are you pushing for more funding this year?
We’re at the point where we don’t need other people’s money. Hopefully we’ll stay that way. We’re focused on profitability right now and watching some interesting corrections in the market. We just want to focus on getting the business in a really sustainable and healthy place. Luckily everything is going in the right direction.
Does that mean you’re not prepping for a sale?
I always say I’m open to any outcome, but I’m focused on getting it to scale. We have so much addressable market and more people to reach. We’re a few years away from that, though my VC’s would probably like some kind of exit quicker. Part of the value of Goop is that we’ve built it slowly and with a lot of care, so I do think they understand that we’re on a longer trajectory than other brands.
Would you open more physical stores?
We’re open to one more retail location this year. Obviously we’re reading all the time about the retail apocalypse, and that hasn’t been our experience. A lot of digitally native brands are experiencing positive outcomes in retail because people are making those connections online and they want the experience of touching the brand. But in certain instances you have to keep them few and far between.
How would you save struggling retailers?
If you look at stores like Nordstrom, for example, who have that pop-in model and they’re driving foot traffic in different activations – that’s really going to be the savior – bringing experiential elements into retail, get that throughput by giving people a reason to go somewhere that they can’t do online.
Sephora is just starting an integration with OrangeTwist, so if you want to go have a quick facial or laser or whatever, it’s an integration. So you would go and there’s all kinds of cross-selling. But things like that are going to be really necessary in the future because e-commerce has become so easy.
What categories will Goop pursue next?
We’re doing a lot of research into the food space. I’m very excited about that because food is one of my main passions in life and it would be amazing to bring good clean food at a great price to people.
How will Goop build on the Netflix series?
We’ve been thrilled with how much attention the Netflix show has gotten. We’re always trying to find new channels to bring our content – we’re kind of pushing what a lot of people think are boundary-pushing ideas into the cultural conversation. They’re really not that radical, especially the Netflix subjects, but I love that we’re creating those conversations. We really like being that kind of provocateur because we’re doing it for good.