Five things every start-up can learn from Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP

Regardless of how you feel about Gwyneth Paltrow, no one listening to her keynote at #BlogHer15 with co-founder Elisa Camahort Page could claim they weren’t riveted by what she has to say.

It got personal, with the pair discussing the GOOP founder’s divorce, experience of co-parenting and her father. However, the most interesting insights were on how she transformed a lifestyle newsletter into a lifestyle behemoth.

GOOP was the first of its kind. It launched in 2008 and forged the path for countless others including Blake Lively’s Preserve and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company.

The site has continued to gain credibility and investment through partnerships with big industry names such as Stella McCartney, Diane Von Furstenberg and Frame denim. In addition, it has grown over the last few years via advertising, an expanded team, pop-up shops and “contextualized commerce”.

Trailblazing: GOOP paved the way for The Honest Company and Preserve

Trailblazing: GOOP paved the way for The Honest Company and Preserve

Here’s five, must-read takeaways from Paltrow’s keynote…

1. GOOP was started as an answer to a gap in the market: “I wanted to have a place to organise my stuff and to answer my own questions and I was originally was going to put my stuff online and have it be private. [Friends] suggested that I put it in a newsletter form, I look back now and think, what was I thinking? The inception was for my little community, I stupidly didn’t think larger when I first did it. If you have a strong view people gravitate towards that…there’s white space everywhere, the more you know who you are and what you’re doing, the more that white space is revealed.”

2. Figure out who your audience is: “I remember thinking when I first sent [the newsletter] out I had a moment where I thought, “who am I communicating with?” I had a lot of passion and I’m very passionate about travel, health, wellness, food and trying to become a better person. In essence, I was using the website to get closer to myself in a way and to get closer to my community.”

3. Tiny projects can become huge: “I wondered how I would do this if I wanted to turn it into a business – would I have advertising, would I sell anything, what would I sell? It was a slow evolution and my original CEO asked if I wanted to turn it into a business and said, ‘I can help you do this’. I didn’t think I had the experience to do it. Then I moved to LA and Lisa Gersh came on and was like, ‘Okay, this is what’s happening’, and I was like, ‘All right!'”

4. Choose carefully which criticisms you take to heart: “You really have to find a way to separate the words of people you respect – stranger or not, positive or negative – and people who are just in pain and projecting their own sh*t onto you.”

5. Your brand shouldn’t need you to be loved: “I don’t want the brand to be inextricably linked to me. I want in 20 years for it to be that someone asks me didn’t you have something to do with that; I want to work towards that.”

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