Beauty: goop Pops In to Toronto, by Joy Elkayam

I recently learned that Nordstrom was hosting a goop “Pop-In Shop” in Toronto for 6 weeks. After a few strikes at my keyboard, I learned that goop-In@Nordstrom, officially, is one of eight Pop-In Shops across North America. While goop’s products have appeared in some select stores in America, this partnership with a major retailer in multiple locations at once, is a goop first.

For those who don’t know, goop is a highly successful, and at times controversial, online holistic wellness community founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow to share her recommendations and discoveries. It donates a portion of profits to initiatives such as The Edible Schoolyard, The David Lynch Foundation, Pencils of Promise and DonorsChoose.org that work with schools for children’s wellbeing.

The “goop lifestyle” is categorized into skin care and makeup, fashion, travel, fitness and health, mindfulness and self-discovery, arts and culture, cooking and recipes, and style and design. While I definitely love scrolling through recipes, wellness articles, and the fresh, clean images splashed on goop’s site, it is more than your typical “eat healthy, sleep well, stress less” lifestyle site. I personally enjoy the range of unique products and content to explore. However, I do raise my eyebrows at certain items such as the Medicine Bag, a pouch which holds “magically charged stones”, or the Moon Juice Dust, an extensive line of powders “that do everything from stimulating brain function to improving your sex life”.

After reading a few online reviews that mostly balked at some of the outrageous prices (without actually visiting the store), I braced myself and made my way over to one of the busiest malls in the city on the weekend to investigate the hype. The Pop-In Shop was hard to miss, set up right in the middle of a major throughway where shoppers came and went. When I first laid eyes on it, I thought it was rather small, but once I walked in, I quickly revised my perspective. The store felt open and expansive. The dark-coloured walls were lined with products, with one display stand in the middle coupled with a small clothing rack. Yoga gear was on one shelf, with a large chair in a corner on a lush red carpet. Cookware had its own section. The remaining space was filled with personal care items. After eyeing the place, I started off looking at small black boxes on the middle display table where I found essential oils and the notorious $95 candle. I approached the salesperson to ask if items like that left the shelves. She informed me that a few skin care products were almost out of stock, from affordable lip balms to a highly recommended face serum priced at $240.

While I scoped out the entire store, my first priority was to check out goop’s skincare line. Since goop do not ship to Canada at this time, it’s not every day that Canadians can check out these products in person. goop’s packaging, and look and feel in general, are very minimalistic and clean. The products featured high quality organic and natural ingredients. But with all of the products being fragrance-free, and the contents generally looking similar to one another, I found that my attention was drawn to products packaged with more vibrant, sensory and artistic appeal.

I was expecting to find all the prices in the store to be steep, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were affordable items such as essential oils for $12, and some skin care and makeup products below $40. Just as with the online store, I liked seeing the sprinkles of what makes goop goop, such as body and facial wipes infused with eucalyptus, and air spritzers that contain “crystals charged in the full moon, to arouse passionate intentions”. What I would have liked to see, however, were organic clothes. The clothing items on the rack were pricey, yet did not seem to be eco, so they did not feel like part of a holistic lifestyle experience.

Overall, I liked the Pop-In Shop experience better than I was anticipating. Even though it didn’t have that homey feeling of grabbing a cup of tea and curling under a blanket that I tend to gravitate towards, and while I would have preferred a more light spring-like backsplash, the presentation was elegant and clean. It was a great space for goop fans to check out some of Gwyneth’s personal favourites.

Joy headshotJoy Elkayam Joy Elkayam is currently the Production Manager and an editor for Parvati Magazine. She is also a volunteer at Parvati.org, dedicated to realizing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Before landing in teaching in a kindergarten, her career started out in health care as a coordinator in research and cancer screening. She is living in Toronto, Canada with her husband.

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