From sex toys to sportswear, Gwynth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop has become a go-to resource for its many now dedicated followers, who favor the founder’s personal recommendation approach when it comes to what to eat, wear and enjoy. From the humble beginnings of a homespun weekly newsletter, created at the actress’s kitchen table, the company opened its first permanent store in Los Angeles last September, followed by a series of pop-ups in other US cities including Dallas and New York. But last night we were among the crowd gathered at its first London pop-up, spread across four floors on Notting Hill’s Westbourne Grove, for one of the brand’s activation events.
Hosted weekly, the activations tap into our increasing love for experience-led retail, offering customers the opportunity to glean advice from a roster of experts as well as the chance to shop from the brand’s highly curated range of heath and wellness-focused products. Last night Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, former fashion editor Carmen Borgonovo, and Frederic Court and his team from Felix Capital, the Carmen-backed venture capital company that was behind Goop’s recent investment round, were among the attendees we joined at the store for its latest event, which centered around communication and body language courtesy of renowned voice coach Sheelagh McNamara.
With 35 years experience as an executive coach working in the UK, Europe, Canada and the United States, McNamara’s clients include Oscar nominees, politicians, judges, CEOs and the presidents of international companies. She has also worked closely with the profoundly deaf, Parkinson’s patients, and teachers recovering from voice loss and pathology. Against the background of less venture capital funding being made available for female-led initiatives, and the greater number of male compared to female entrepreneurs, she gave a powerful presentation regarding gender differences in communication, and how the simple placement of feet and how one holds ones hands, to how we enunciate can help or hinder our negotiation skills.
As one would expect this time of year, there was a range of Christmas gifts among the store’s LA-curated offering. And indeed, the pop-up space itself was specifically designed to evoke the chic US store, combined with a distinct London townhouse feel. It was conceived by Fran Hickman, the London-based design studio responsible for creating stores for other fashion brands, including Carmen-backed Moda Operandi, and we love the combination of Californian and British craftsmanship and focus on reusable materials.