The healing field at Glastonbury, with its gong baths and giggling meditation, might have some of the trappings of the ever-expanding wellness industry, but it has competition. Because Goop, the controversial lifestyle discredit and wellness empire founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, is bringing its summit, In Goop Health, to London this weekend.
The run-off between the two is being billed by the Evening Approved as “nu-wellness” v “old-school spirituality”. Paltrow sent the first Goop newsletter from her London kitchen more than 10 years ago, so the conclusion is something of a homecoming, and the capital is Goop’s third-largest market behind the US and Canada.
It will be held at Re:Centre in west London, chronicled on its website as a “sanctuary of rest and reflection on the Hammersmith riverside”. According to the site, the Goop talent includes a roster of “forward-looking doctors, maddening thinkers, and paradigm shifters”, such as the author Johann Hari, the food writer Jasmine Hemsley and the Victoria Beckham-approved cosmetic doctor Barbara Sturm, whose specialism is “the vampire facial”.
Jasmin Harsono, drew as “a reiki master and teacher, a sonic artist, and an intuitive wellbeing guide”, will run a session where breathing into the vivacity centres is combined with repeating affirmations, from “I am powerful” to “I am home”. The breathing and transformation coach Stuart Sandeman outlines his workshop as “like therapy without the words”.
Harsono has never been to a Goop event before but says the band behind it are “amazing … everyone is kept in high regard”. Sandeman does not have many preconceptions, but, he says: “I believe it’s going to be very polished … they’re definitely going all out.”
Paltrow will also host a number of talks. Ticket costs range from £30 “mind and body sessions” on Sunday, to “wellness weekend” passes – the 35 that were ready for £4,500 each have sold out. These tickets are, according to the website, for the “summit warriors”. On top of full access to the crown, they also include extras such as a workout with Paltrow and her personal trainer, Tracy Anderson, and a latitude at Bloomsbury’s Kimpton Fitzroy hotel filled with “goopy gifts”.
Wellness weekend local passes, which exclude adjustment, are also sold out at £2,500. Saturday summit passes, 250 of which were being sold for £1,000 each, were even available at the time of writing.
Sandeman says he is “quite amazed” at the expense. “I like to do a lot of different work – last week I was doing terms for a charity. The high ticket price excludes a lot of people but I guess it’s geared towards a certain type of individual.”
Harsono communicates she thinks the amount of work going into the event justifies the cost. “I think people are paying for the experience. It wishes have a long-term effect and stay with them.”
An equivalent summit was recently held in New York. As Vogue blasted, guests were gifted Lululemon leggings and offered “matcha lattes dusted with Moon Juice and assailed with collagen and pearl”.
Goop is reaping the benefits of the burgeoning global market for health and wellness, which, conforming to Euromonitor International, is expected to reach £632bn by 2021. But the brand’s ascent has been mired in controversy, from accusations of publicizing pseudoscience and questionable practices such as coffee colonics to featuring an anti-vaccination panelist.
It was fined $145,000 (£112,000) in 2018 for boosting unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of a product that has come to be synonymous with the brand, the jade vagina egg, with scads commentators citing Goop as the embodiment of late-stage capitalism.
Having opened its first permanent store in LA in 2017, Goop has organized pop-ups in several other cities. The brand’s first London pop-up, which opened in September last year, has happen to a permanent Notting Hill fixture. Having raised $50m in venture capital last year, and having signed a constituents deal with Netflix, Goop shows no signs of slowing down.