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22 Sep

The Goop store in London is closing – is

The Goop store in London is closing – is

The roots of recent day Wellness Culture can, undoubtedly, be traced back to Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. So what does it mean that the corporate is permanently closing down its West London Gooptique – it’s first and only store outside of North America? This week, the news broke that Paltrow had signed the forms to shut down the UK branch of her business, which never reopened after its pandemic closure and had reportedly lost £1.4 million since 2020. 

Considering the boom that the wellness industry has seen within the last five years, this closure comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Global Wellness Institute valued the global wellness industry at $4.4 trillion in 2020 and predicts this may grow to $7 trillion by 2025. Goop itself seems to have gone from strength to strength (several lawsuits aside) since launching in 2008, expanding from a newsletter written in Paltrow’s kitchen to a business which boasts a sex toy, cruises, wellness summits, a Netflix documentary series, exploding vagina candles, skincare products, and a clothing label. In December, Goop was awarded the title of Brand of the Year by WWD, which described the corporate as a “bona fide beauty sensation”. 

So what’s behind the seeming failure of the Westbourne Grove Gooptique? Is it just the pandemic? Quite a lot of businesses struggled with the forced closures during lockdown, and the Goop store never got its momentum back when the high street began opening up again. Could or not it’s that in a cost of living crisis people aren’t shelling out for £120 picket spoons like they used to? And perhaps that rent in W11 is extortionate? Is it that Goop is experiencing the identical difficulties as Glossier, each brands that pioneered a recent market after which struggled when it got flooded with similar brands copying the model? Wellness is way more ubiquitous now, and for those who can get your mushroom teas and libido gummies at every cafe and Urban Outfitters, why go to Goop?

This news could have a bigger significance for the wellness industry, and even be an indication of growing disillusionment. People may now not want their wellness served within the wealthy, white lady variety. With the rise of luxury self-care and the commodification of the concept of wellness, growing prices have increasingly made the industry inaccessible to all however the very wealthy. Meanwhile, the whitewashing of practices like yoga, meditation and breathwork has shut out and alienated the cultures from which they originated and created hostile environments for people of color. All of this has given wellness a fame for being exclusive, outdated and inaccessible to those that arguably need it most. Paltrow, and her $8,100 infrared sauna, is undoubtedly a figurehead of wealthy, white woman wellness.

This news also marks the move away from moderate wellness, and the growing schism inside the category which has seen people and trends move in one in all two ways. In a response against wellness culture, we’ve witnessed the return of messy, sexy make-up trends like indie sleaze, anti-perfectionist, bad beauty and post-shag. Brands like 4.a.m and Akro are embracing vices and staying out all night, while the heralding of the return of “heroin chic”, although much criticised, suggests looking healthy and well shouldn’t be as prized because it once was.

Alternatively, for many who have stayed committed to wellness, the boundaries are being pushed further and further to the intense. While “self-care” (as defined by brands) used to encompass bath salts and a deep conditioning hair mask, we’re now swapping scented candles for cryo chambers and IV drips. Supplements and ear seeds suddenly seem less whacky when you find yourself often submerging yourself in temperatures of -100 degrees celsius and getting vitamin injections each time you may have a hangover. 

So is the closing of the Goop store a harbinger of the tip of wellness? Is it only a forgettable blip within the rise and rise of Goop? Is it an indicator that wellness is undergoing an extreme transformation that may leave those brands and coverings in the center scrambling for relevance? Time will tell – but within the meantime, you’ll have to begin buying your vagina candles online.

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