Caitlin McBride: 'Even Kourtney Kardashian's name can't save the mess that is Poosh'
Is there anything more that says, ‘I know what women want’ than a topless Kourtney Kardashian holding an iPad in a well-decorated living room for no apparent reason?
If you're as confused by this statement as I am, congratulations and welcome to Poosh. Poosh is the inexplicably named lifestyle website and brand launched by Kourtney on Tuesday. It follows in the footsteps of Blake Lively’s now-defunct Preserve and there is an air of the so-obvious-it-hurts advice that made Pippa Middleton's party planning book Celebrations a flop; but the fact remains that there's money to be made in the celebrity lifestyle pairings.
While Jessica Alba's €1bn The Honest Company provides an all-natural products, and to a lesser extent, Sarah Michelle Gellar's Foodstirs caters to the organic snack crowd; when it comes to straddling the line between editorials, newsletters and products alignments, Gwyneth Paltrow's goop reigns supreme.
And Poosh is no goop. Paltrow launched the brand in 2008 and while she's been condemned for promoting vaginal steaming and bee stinging beauty treatments, it's undeniable she knows her audience and serves them accordingly. Kourtney's much-hyped website on the other hand is little more than a drop in the upscale blogger ocean with no identity and a frustrating lack of clarity.
Instead of building an audience first and cultivating brand loyalty, Poosh goes headfirst into monetising its recommendations - each piece references at least a few products, which range in price from expensive to very expensive.
The website is beautifully designed and easy to navigate and unfortunately, that’s where the compliments stop. Poosh demonstrates a basic lack of understanding of consumption across platforms. The rules of Instagram do not apply here.
Half-naked pictures on the beach garner millions of likes there due to the nature in which we scroll social media, but the idea that a ‘How to look good Naked’ piece, which features a nude Kourtney hanging off the edge of a bathtub with a bucket filled with Veuve Clicquot is alarmingly tone deaf in 2019. Throughout the site's homepage, there is no explanation as to why she is half-nude in every picture.
The picture accompanies a blog post entitled 'How to look good naked', which is glorified native content, linking to expensive body scrubs, creams and candles because “lighting is everything”. Inside, she is posing on a bed wearing Calvin Klein underwear, a brand with which she has a long-standing partnership.
Kourtney, for all the natural-born business prowess she and her sisters possess, is learning a hard lesson that editors have to work a hell of a lot harder to get the same eyeballs as you would on social and having Kardashian as your last name isn't enough to sustain a long-term business model. After all, Lively had a substantial foot in the lifestyle industry with myriad luxury brand partnerships and Preserve still closed after being open for just over one year in 2015.
In an interview with Vogue, Kourtney described Poosh as a "place of discovery", with soundbites like, "The mom guilt was so real" and "my fitness routine went out the window when I first had kids" with little clarity as to what purpose this brand is, or even supposed to be.
With food, her tastes are famously limited as she prefers an organic, sugar and gluten free diet for her and her children. This is reasonable lifestyle in Los Angeles, but to the wider, cash-strapped mothers to whom she's targeting, it doesn't offer enough of a balance between aspirational and accessible. With her well-documented preferences and access to the best-of-the-best, it stands to reason that she would have health insights she could share with the wider world.
But the big draw in her ‘Ingredient Spotlight’ is turmeric. Turmeric! The most overused buzz ingredient over the last 18 months. The secret to Gwyneth's success is that she's a leader not a follower and because goop praised turmeric in 2017, Poosh is writing about its benefits two years later.
While goop and Into The Gloss and co were game-changers in the noughties, Poosh is about nine years too late to the party - and being late isn't fashionable anymore.