When I heard that actress Gwyneth Paltrow criticized the media for drawing unfair comparisons between her lifestyle brand, Goop, and the businesses of every other female celebrity savvy enough to become an entrepreneur, I thought: good for you, girl. Enough of this "misogynistic" talk, as she calls it. The only thing Paltrow has in common with actresses like Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, and Reese Witherspoon is that they have all had to study lines from scripts, know how to hit their mark on set, and aren't, ever, allowed to age. Otherwise, their companies are marketed in various ways, their messages and goals differ, and I imagine they derive inspiration from very different sources. The only difference between them and the many male celebs who have started businesses is that they just happen to have XX chromosomes.
It's infuriating to think these ladies are constantly being made to feel like these are each other's competition. In truth, Paltrow and someone like Martha Stewart (who prefers Lively's Preserve brand, in case you're wondering and, yes, the fact that she was asked to compare them is problematic in itself) both have a right to exist because an audience exists for both brands.
In an effort to end stupid comparisons forever, I have created what I hope is a helpful little guide to these actresses' businesses. This proves that we shouldn't be comparing them, but rather that they all have very different uses and features that could appeal to different people or come in handy at different times.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop
Here's what Paltrow has to say about it: "I think that there's sometimes some miscommunication. We aren't a super-luxury site, but we're aspirational. We have things on there that cost $4. We have things on there that cost $500 ... Some of the criticism that Goop gets is because people haven't actually gone to the site and looked around and see what we actually are."
Here's what you'll find: Goop covers a lot of ground — almost too much ground if you're anything like me and have a Gemini's attention span. You can read about breastfeeding, discover the best non-toxic sunscreens and lip balms, learn how to make lobster pot pie and pre-holiday cleanses and detoxes, and plan a trip to New Orleans or Santa Barbara — all on the same site. The good news is that everything is carefully curated and, true to Paltrow's word, aren't "super-luxury" choices, but certainly aren't going to be found in your nearest Walmart, either.
Here's who I imagine visits the site: Imaginary me. The one who will one day drop $395 on Paltrow-recommended White Satin Achilles Sneakersr without promptly vomiting after signing off on my purchase. Healthy people. Healthy new moms. Healthy new moms who want to look young and beautiful but are mindful about the products they use and the foods they consume.
Jessica Alba's The Honest Company
Here's what Alba has to say about it: The actress was inspired to create The Honest Company while pregnant because she told The Hollywood Reporter she wanted "a trustworthy lifestyle brand that touched everything in your home, that was nontoxic and affordable and convenient to get."
Here's What You'll Find: Eco-friendly disposable diapers and wipes (cute ones, too), organic formula and bottles, vitamins for babies, kids, and adults, organic swaddles, and even hypoallergenic laundry detergent and soaps. All prices are incredibly reasonable — read: you'd never know the lady behind them makes millions of dollars a year.
Here's who I imagine visits the site: Moms and dads who are tired of using baby products that cause skin reactions or aggravate allergies. Parents who are looking for a more natural, eco-conscious alternative to standard baby products. Basically, millions and millions of people — and I'm sure that number will keep growing since mindful folks aren't about to stop having babies anytime soon.
Blake Lively's Preserve
Here's what Lively has to say about it: In an interview with Time, the actress described Preserve and her desire to start the lifestyle brand: "As an actress, I try to tell stories in the most honest way possible, and hope people will connect to that emotionally. With Preserve, I’m doing the same thing: meeting chefs, meeting artisans, designers, craftsmen. I’m moved by their stories and I’m sharing them with my friends. Instead of keeping that insulated as a personal pleasure, I’m sharing that in a greater way."
Here's what you'll find: The idea behind Preserve is that every single item in your closet has a unique history and story. Lively, who is known for her fantastic sense of style, doesn't just curate gorgeous dresses, jackets, and pants (most of which fall within the range of $150-$300), she gives designers and artists a voice. The site looks like California — the very act of clicking on various items feels soothing — and features men's clothing items, baby clothing, jewelry, accessories, products for the home, and gadgets for the country kitchen of your dreams. There's a special place in my heart for her "$50 and under page" because a $14 Gender Reveal Balloon on the same page as Oval Druzy Rings = hell yes.
Here's who I imagine visits the site: People who love boho chic. Those who are interested not just in fashion but in the artists who create fashion. People who want to surf and then retreat to their home in Big Sur for big outdoor cook-outs.
Reese Witherspoon's Draper James
Here's what Witherspoon has to say about it: The Wild actress is a newbie to the lifestyle business, having launched her online store and site in the beginning of May, reports CBS News. In a press release, Witherspoon explained the inspiration for her site: "I created Draper James to honor my past and allow others to embrace the beauty, style and excitement that embodies what is happening in the South today."
Here's what you'll find: An entire page of "Southernisms," or Southern quotes, that include, "I love a luncheon." Profiles of famous women who come from the South — since the site is in its early stages the only celebs you'll find right now are Witherspoon, Molly Simms, and Ruby Amanfu. Mint julep cups, magnolia and horseshoe paperweights, jewelry and accessories you can totally picture Southern Belles wearing, as well as ultra feminine dresses, pants, blouses, and denim. Looking for something ripped or purposely torn? Look elsewhere, Yankee.
Here's who I imagine visits the site: Southerners and the Northerners who desperately want to be Southerners.
Images: Getty Images