By: Grace Valentine
From essential oils and skincare, to designer dinner plates and $10,000 earrings, to lifestyle and wellness advice, Goop has it all. Even adult play toys.
However, the $250 million e-commerce company founded by celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008, is controversial and polarizing. Some super fans claim Goop has changed their lives, while critics believe it’s selling over-priced goods and even making false claims about some of them, including endorsing questionable medical advice and wellness methods.
Paltrow, an actress known for her Oscar winning role in Shakespeare in Love, started Goop in 2008 to answer women’s questions on health, fashion, food and travel.
Goop has in recent years developed six pop-up stores around the country: New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Manhasset, NY; London and Dallas. The Dallas Goop pop up store originally debuted in 2014 for a month but is now back as holiday gift shop in Highland Park Village through Dec. 24, 2018.
The Dallas store can be a daunting place to visit for an SMU student on a budget. One shopper recently ran into haughty salespeople and over-priced goods.
“I haven’t made up my mind about Goop,” said Delaney Sullivan, a senior accounting major.
“Some of their products are really good but the store workers and some diehard fans can be very intimidating.”
A recent lawsuit regarding the Jade Egg sold on Goop.com has elicited more questions about the company. The lawsuit revealed that there was no scientific proof that the Jade egg, which is inserted into the vagina, had the medical benefits such as muscle tone, hormonal balance and feminine energy that Goop had claimed.
“I would hope that Gwyneth would test her products out before selling them, and it might have balanced her hormones which could have been why she decided to make that claim. But I do agree that the company should only make claims that are fully backed by science,” said Lydia Brooks, a sophomore Fashion Media and World Language major at SMU.
Madeline Fennel, a senior at SMU and user of Goop products, believes the lawsuit is an important example for all brands.
“In our age, deceptive advertising is such a commonality. If Goop or any brand, is advertising a product for specific claims like increasing energy levels, they should be able to show statistics and a scientific study to back those claims up,” said Fennell, a Fashion Media and Advertising major.
Goop has recently been in the hot seat with its product “Body Vibes”, stickers that claim to restore energy balance in the body. The company also claimed the stickers were made from the same material as the lining in NASA space suits. However, a representative of NASA told Gizmodo, that they do not use the conductive carbon material Goop was claiming in their spacesuits.
Miles Lascity, the Director of Fashion Media at Southern Methodist University, attributes Goop’s success and longevity to the star power of Paltrow. But he warned that Goop could get into serious trouble with false claims if a product negatively affects a consumer’s health, which could trigger class action law suits.
In addition to her Academy Award, Paltrow has won a Golden Globe Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. She has four cookbooks and four singles in which she was the lead artist. She also is known for marrying Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay. The couple, who have two children, divorced in 2016.
Paltrow’s Goop has endorsed or sold such eye-raising products as gold-plated dumbbells, Christian Louboutin x Goop exclusive heels, Psychic Vampire Repellent, and gold handled floral scissors.
“I think that Goop is a toss-up. Some of their products are great and completely worth the money and then honestly, most are over-priced. I am always intrigued on the new products Goop releases, but am hesitant to shell out $100 to try a new adaptogen,” said Fennell.
However, Fennell also believes Goop can also offer a positive experience. After struggling with acne her whole life, she said two products, GoopGlow and the Exfoliating Instant Facial, improved her skin and are now must-haves.
Goop fan and SMU senior Libby Laughlin enjoys Goop despite its reputation as being ostentious and over-the-top.
“A lot of times, people don’t take the company seriously, but Gwyneth didn’t have a huge story in The New York Times for no reason. For every outrageous product or article that is posted on Goop, there are 30 normal, practical pieces,” said Laughlin.
Laughlin also is a reader of the articles on Goop and is grateful for their recipes and advice.
“I started reading because I had just been diagnosed with Celiac disease and Goop’s blog provided a variety of great recipes,” said Laughlin.
SMU sophomore Lydia Brooks is impressed with Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow’s ability to turn a blog into the success it is today.
“The brand appears as such a random collection of items, but yet still brings in significant revenue. Plus, she started out as a newsletter and now Goop is a multimillion dollar business,” said Brooks.