Is Gwyneth Paltrow the Ultimate GlobalWoman?
This week I surprised myself.
Something that I would never have believed would happen, happened. I found myself agreeing with Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth of the oh so perfect life and pedigree. Whose insides, from what I’ve heard, are as purified and pristine as her outside. Gwyneth, whose daily life is likely as far removed from mine as can be.
I’m not one of those people who have an active dislike for GP. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the animosity directed her way, and wondered if it’s connected to her being a powerful woman with agency, access and autonomy, living life on her terms. To be honest, and somewhat embarrassingly, I didn’t know much about Gwyneth Paltrow. After all, we don’t move in the same circles.
Until this week
I read an interview with GP on Fast Company which challenged my perceptions of her. Gwyneth, it seems, is human. Very human. So human that I recognised aspects of myself in her entrepreneurial journey.
In September 2008 Paltrow launches her lifestyle site GOOP out of her kitchen, as a weekly email newsletter. Initially the focus was a place to share her personal recommendations with her friends as well as to get her own questions answered on health, fitness and the psyche.
Gwyneth gets pushback
Pushback for being removed from the cares of everyday, ordinary life and seen as elitist and out of touch. Pushback for using her star power to be more than a ‘movie star’. Pushback for daring to express herself the way she wanted to and creating her own platform to do it on.
Paltrow pushes forward
When pushback occurs, Paltrow encourages her team not to feel scared, not to hold punches, because she know’s that what they’re doing has value. More power to her. Paltrow knows that controversy (remember Conscious Uncoupling? Vaginal steaming?) can bring big readership numbers, some of who wind up becoming unwitting Goop converts.
After all, traffic is traffic
Paltrow strategically grew GOOP out of her personal vision and values for her life, patiently and cautiously. Tweet This
- GOOP is a values based brand
- GOOP evolved slowly
- Until recently, she used all of her own money to fund GOOP
- Unknowingly, Paltrow used the weekly email newsletter to build trust
- She was clear about the the market she was serving
- She focused solely on the market she was serving
- Paltrow focused on the content before she ever thought about how Goop might make money. (It does help to be a Hollywood movie star to do this)
- When she reads ready to move into e-commerce, she patiently tested the waters with one product – $90 t-shirt
- When the business was ready, she diversified the business model
- GOOP newsletters have a 40% open rate and drive approximately 35% of Goop’s traffic
Five takeaways for the GlobalWoman Entrepreneur
1. Vulnerability: “I had trepidation about taking that leap and defining myself as an entrepreneurial person. Who am I to start a business?”
2. Sincerity + trust: “I was doing something from a very real, very honest place. There wasn’t anything commercial about it. So when we decided to foray into commerciality, there was something to trust.”
3. Self-belief: Initially, the website was simply an archive of past newsletters. “When I think back on it, I’m afraid to press send,” she says. “But at the time, I had this belief in what I was going to do.”
4. Create engagement experiences: “It seems that when people really engage, they understand who we are and what we’re doing.”
5. Scale needs structure: Paltrow recently hired a CEO who’s coaching the GOOP team to focus on their lanes, build structure, create process for scale.
Creating your own revolution that does not, and need not, follow the rules is the GlobalWoman way.
Until next time,