Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow is busy with a lot more than acting these days–she’s also a burgeoning businesswoman.
In addition to penning cookbooks and co-owning a number of gyms with her personal trainer, Goop founder Paltrow is overseeing the creation of two product lines with California-based Juice Beauty, an organic skin-care and makeup company beloved by celebrities like Alicia Silverstone and Kate Hudson. Juice Beauty is helping to create Goop’s first private-label product, Goop by Juice Beauty, an organic skin-care line due out in March 2016. As part of the arrangement, Paltrow is also serving as Juice Beauty’s creative director for makeup, helping to design an organic makeup collection for the company called Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments, which will be available in January 2016.
Juice Beauty founder and CEO Karen Behnke says she and Paltrow were attracted to each other, in part, because of their shared values. “I started thinking about how we could actually have an authentic relationship with a celebrity that would fit the authenticity of our company–we have 10 abiding eco values: try to source locally from the West Coast, et cetera,” says Behnke, who was introduced to Paltrow by Videolicious founder Amanda Eilian, an investor in both Goop and Juice Beauty.
After an initial meeting with Goop CEO Lisa Gersh, Behnke was invited to Paltrow’s home in Brentwood, California, where Paltrow served an organic chicken salad. “We talked about men and kids and just being a woman running a business and both being entrepreneurs–I think that was a big bond, female entrepreneurship,” Behnke says. “We shared the same lifestyle values. We want to have a fun life and take care of our kids and family–but we want to do it in the most organic, helpful, and, as Gwyneth would say, most nontoxic way possible.”
“We quickly came to how we could develop an entire makeup collection with certified-organic ingredients,” Behnke says. “Not one that is just sheer colors and things that don’t stay on really well, but actually real makeup with high-power, high-payoff pigments.”
“[Juice Beauty has] been experimenting with makeup for four to five years now, and we were ready to bring on a celebrity,” Behnke adds.
The Goop founder was already a fan of Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular collection–she had even sold it on Goop.com. “Some of her friends were using it, some of her celebrity friends, so she felt very comfortable with how we could develop a skin-care collection for her,” Behnke says.
But in Paltrow, Behnke saw more than just a celebrity endorsement. “She also had a business surrounding her and a CEO,” Behnke says. As part of the deal, Paltrow became an investor in Juice Beauty, and Juice Beauty has invested in Goop. (Paltrow has money in a number of other businesses as well, including the food take-out service 3 Green Hearts, Blo Blow Dry Bar salons, and The Arts Club, a private-membership social club founded in London).
Paltrow, Behnke says, has been directly involved in the decision-making process as both the makeup and skin-care lines have been designed, meeting with the Juice Beauty team in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“She’s not mixing the products, of course–we do have chemists,” Behnke jokes. “She has been working alongside me and our scientists and our product development team over the past several months, choosing all of the packaging and colors, the final textures, the final aromas, naming all the products.”
The skin-care line and the makeup line will both be available for sale on Goop.com and JuiceBeauty.com. The Juice Beauty makeup line will also be available in Ulta Beauty stores; a brick-and-mortar retailer for Goop’s skin-care line has yet to be announced.
The Goop skin-care line, Behnke says, will comprise seven “age-defying” products organized around a three-step (clean-treat-moisturize) regimen, and they will feature an ingredient from one of Paltrow’s “favorite countries.” (When Behnke told me this, I immediately guessed Spain.)
The Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments makeup line will include a range of skin tones and over 75 items, Behnke says, including products designed to match Paltrow’s complexion exactly. “You can imagine how fun that is, to have perfect shade matches–her perfect shade of lip, her perfect shade of cheek, everything. There will be a ‘Natural Gwyneth’ complete look and a ‘Glam Gwyneth’ complete look–that’s what we centered the collection on.”
“She’s a little bit darker than you think she might be,” Behnke adds.
Behnke, who also serves on the board of 24 Hour Fitness, founded Juice Beauty in 2004 after 20 years in the health and wellness space. (She started one of the country’s first corporate wellness companies, Execu-Fit Health Programs, in the 1980s–and sold the company to PacifiCare, which was in turn bought by United Healthcare, for several million dollars.) “I had never read a beauty product label until I got pregnant with my babies in my early forties,” she remembers, “and that’s when it just struck me: I never took the whole health and wellness concept to ingredients.”
“The first time I read a label, I went from, ‘Wow, I cannot believe all these unnecessary chemicals are in our beauty products’ to, ‘I can do that better,’ as most entrepreneurs feel,” Behnke says with a laugh. “So I bought the name and started the company from scratch.” Juice Beauty products are now available in over 1,400 North American stores. Suburban cosmetics chain (and Sephora competitor) Ulta Beauty is Juice Beauty’s primary brick-and-mortar retailer.
“Our goal is to equal or exceed the performance of conventional chemical[s],” Behnke says, mimicking her ideal customer reaction: “‘Oh my God, I love these products–what, it’s made with organic materials? Huh! Wow.’ That’s the goal.”
Creating beauty products from organic materials brings with it a host of unique challenges, Behnke says. Many beauty products are typically made with a water or petroleum base; Juice Beauty uses plant-based juices instead. “It took a lot the first five years to really get stability with the formula,” Behnke admits.
“A chemist can take artificial dyes and get the exact color every single time,” Behnke says. “What we are doing is isolating really bright pigments from flower petals and botanicals and various fruits and things, and creating these very high-powered pigments–and it’s hard. To top it off, for customer consistency, you have to create the same shade with every manufacturing run, so it’s quite intense.”
Plus, Juice Beauty products “have a two-year shelf life,” Behnke says, whereas traditional brands might have five. To compensate for the shorter lifespan, the company has adopted just-in-time manufacturing. “We’re always on line with small batches,” Behnke says.
For her part, Behnke says she enjoyed working with Paltrow on the two lines, calling Paltrow “businesslike, professional, and involved.” She says that Paltrow “takes feedback well” from the retailers both companies have been talking with.
Paltrow is also, it seems, a fun person to seal a deal with.
When the partnership was finalized, Paltrow served Behnke an organic cheese plate and apple cocktails to celebrate the arrangement. The symbolism of Paltrow’s meal was not lost on Behnke. “You know, green apple is one of [Juice Beauty’s] icons–and Apple is her child, of course.”