As beauty director of Gwyneth Paltrow’s e-commerce lifestyle website Goop, Jean Godfrey-June oversees the site’s beauty editorial and does what she loves most: writing articles about beauty products.
Goop, a curated catalog of products liked by Paltrow, is an eclectic mix of commerce and content. Readers can shop Tory Burch, find a guide to Brooklyn, or read about arts and culture. Readers can also shop, “Goop’s Most Wanted.”
Under the beauty section, Godfrey-June answers reader’s beauty questions in an, “Ask Jean,” series, from what beauty products smell like, to using essential oils. She also writes articles every day.
The Californian-native spent a majority of her beauty career in print. She’s worked for Elle, was the former beauty director at Lucky, and has been regularly published in Vogue, Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post, among others. A year ago, she joined Goop.
After beginning her career covering architecture for “obscure magazines,” like Unique Homes, she credits her grandmother for shifting her to beauty:
“My grandmother was always like, ‘When are you going to work for a magazine that I can buy in the grocery store and show my friends?’” Godfrey-June said. So, she made the leap. Rather than sending pitches to magazines, she sent articles she’d already written and before long they were picked up. A story on make-up artist Bobbi Brown creating lipsticks spiked Vogue’s interest, and launched of her career in beauty, she said.
Glossy caught up with her at the recent FounderMade Beauty Summit in New York to discuss how digital has changed her role, how she views the wider beauty industry and what it’s like to work with Gwyneth Paltrow every day.
How has social and digital media changed your job?
It put me out of a job. My history is in print media and that platform has really evolved in a negative way for most people who worked in it. Social media has absolutely changed the landscape.
What do you mean it put you out of a job?
Print media used to be the only way that consumers could learn in a somewhat impartial way about beauty and fashion. The internet has completely changed that and has taken money out of it. Marketers now put their dollars into the internet, where they used to buy a physical page. Those are the paychecks of the journalists that worked in print media. The magazine industry is much smaller and less influential than it once was.
There have been some rising tensions between bloggers and and beauty editors lately. What’s your take?
Beauty products are something that everyone is entitled to an opinion on. Is a beauty editor’s opinion on a lipstick more credible than a beauty blogger? Not necessarily. But when I hear that someone’s been paid to say something, if I see a fashion blogger wearing something that they’d never wear, I’m like “ew.”
Are bloggers a threat to traditional media?
Traditional beauty media is one-nineteenth of what it used to be. There are still wonderful brands out there in terms of print magazines that people love, but it’s not bloggers that have gotten rid of them it’s the internet and technology. The [editors and publishers] who were smart and who started using social platforms early, still have a career.
What’s the most challenging aspect about being a beauty director in today’s digital environment?
The most challenging aspect of work today is that there’s too much work. Our devices and technology have enabled 24/7 work. I work all the time and so does everyone else I know.
You said the beauty industry isn’t transparent. Explain.
You can put the word “natural” on a beauty product that’s full of byproducts from coal combustion, cancer causing agents, all kinds of nasty stuff. You can add a drop of something organic and put the word “organic.” There’s no standards at all for products. So for the people who make products like Goop, that are non-toxic, less toxic, we have a real challenge because we’re transparent and our competition is not.
What’s it like working with Gwyneth Paltrow in the office every day?
She talks a lot about people not realizing she’s made a career change. She’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever worked with and the office environment is so inspiring. Most people in any kind of marketing or magazine situation say, “Oh this is going to give us bad press.” And she’s like, “Say what you feel.” She’s not afraid and that’s one of the things I respect the most.
A video posted by Jean Godfrey-June (@jeangodfreyjune) on