Turns out not everyone can have their own lifestyle site.
At least, not on the first try. Blake Lively broke the news to Vogue.com that she is shuttering Preserve, the lifestyle and e-commerce site she launched last summer that earned comparisons to Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop. Preserve's distinction was a focus on small brands with stories, each of which is highlighted alongside the products.
The site is supposed to officially shut down on Oct. 9. Until then, Vogue.com reports, everything online "is currently on a very deep and very inviting sale."
So what will you find on Preserve? Who are the products meant for? Figuring that out was always sort of the problem.
"It's women... Women are our biggest audience," Lively told Time when grilled about Preserve's target audience back in June, when she admitted the site wasn't where she wanted it to be.
"I believe I am the Preserve customer. It's my vision and I'm the one creating, curating, and driving this. If I look to myself first, I'm a woman for whom family is the most important thing in my life. I love stories, I love quality stories. ...
My niece can go on Preserve, and my grandma can go on Preserve. That's the reason it's the concept of 'preserve.' It's preserving what lasts. That should be able to hit any generation. Our biggest audience would be millennials."
If that sounds a little imprecise or confusing, it's because it is. Storytelling is a noble goal, but it's a vague one for a style site selling products. The big selling point of Preserve should have theoretically been Lively's lifestyle. "Our goal has always been to touch millennials through storytelling, and the idea is to create a shoppable lifestyle," Lively told Vogue.com.
As far as Goop goes, Paltrow lives a gorgeously luxe, hyper-curated life that plenty of women can identify and emulate.
Lively, on the other hand, is harder to pin down as a lifestyle guru. She can wear the hell out of a red carpet dress, of course, and has inspired many women's #hairgoals with her famous long blond mane. But a "smiling blonde, good-natured all-American" persona isn't quite a lifestyle in and of itself.
What a "lifestyle site" really needs. Which is why Preserve, with its black Gothic aesthetic and dreamy, hippie-inspired clothing, was a little confusing from the start. Lively told Time that her team's biggest challenges involved creating an efficient site layout and handling an onslaught of press attention.
But the bigger issue might have been that the reasons to love Lively and envy her life weren't apparent in Preserve, which was brooding and scattered and laden with a vintage, heirloom vibe, with no sunny smiles or American prep to be seen.
Instead, the clothes are heavy on prints, often in muted colors. There are also kids' clothes and home decor items on the site, along with beauty products, lending the website the musty air of a cluttered attic.
Tons of products wouldn't be quite such a problem if they held together with a familiar, appealing theme — or if they were trendy. But an aggressive Free People-meets-Isabel Marant aesthetic will only appeal to a fraction of customers, especially those millennial female shoppers currently filling their closets with simpler, sleeker basics from Zara and H&M.
There are some shoppers who will love that look — and luckily for them, everything at Preserve is on super sale right now. Go and scoop up those pricey floral dresses and scented candles before they're gone.
Sept. 20, 2015, 3:19pm: This article has been updated.