Less than a year after launching lifestyle website, Preserve, Blake Lively is pulling the plug on it, saying that it just never really worked out.
"We have an incredible team of people who do beautiful work, but we launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It's not making a difference in people's lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way," she told Vogue on Sept. 30. "And that's the whole reason I started this company, not just to fluff myself, like, 'I'm a celebrity! People will care what I have to say!' It was so never meant to be that, and that kind of became the crutch because it was already up and already running, and it's hard to build a brand when you're running full steam ahead—how do you catch up?"
Preserve was what Blake used to announce her pregnancy last fall. She often was photographed wearing collections that could be found on the website that many people compared to Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle site.
"It's very exciting and it's also incredibly scary," Blake said. "I never thought I would have the bravery to actually do that, to take the site dark and to say, 'You know what? I haven't created something that is as true and impactful as I know it can and will be. And I'm not going to continue to chase my tail and continue to put a product out there that we, as a team, are not proud of.'"
The site was often criticized for its high prices. In admitting failure, Blake said she's prepared for the haters.
"Failure! Folly! We knew she couldn't do this, too!" she joked about what she expects people to say. "I know what it'll look like, what I'm facing publicly, that people are just going to have a heyday with this. But it's so much worse to continue to put something out there—to ask my team to put something out there—that isn't the best we can do. I'm going to take this hit, and the only way I can prove all the negative reactions wrong is to come back with a plan that will rock people."
She already has a plan on what she wants to do next, and she's "totally terrified" to do it. In her new endeavor, she said, she wants "to touch millennials through storytelling, and the idea is to create a shoppable lifestyle. And that's not to say to turn everything into commerce, but to make things easier: This is a thing that I created with my own two hands and this is how you can do it, or this is something that I found on my adventures and travels and this is how you can have it," she said. "It's about creating a level of ease for the people who identify with us. We've focused in so much that it's actually very simple, it's very clean, it's very direct."
Until that new site is ready to roll, she's ready to live in the backlash of Preserve's failure. She's confident it won't stay that way, though. "The new news will come out and I'll look like a hero and everyone will be really nice, and then the new site will come out and half will be nice and half will be mean again. I mean, champagne problems -- thank God these are the things I get to complain about."
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