BeautyBoss: Cassandra Grey, Founder of Violet Grey

Cassandra Grey

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Two years ago, Sephora created Accelerate, an incubator program providing a lump sum of money to the participants – they receive $2500 – the initiative aims to help women who wants to build beauty businesses offering them the right education and connecting them with like-minded mentors. Corrie Conrad, head of social impact at Sephora mentioned Accelerate was created after they noticed a gap in the business: that is 85% of venture investment went to men, meaning there is a lack of female leadership. Thinking about female entrepreneurship, at Glam Observer we thought that introducing you to female beauty leaders owning established companies or start-ups was our way to make women working in this industry more visible. It is only talking about these female leaders that you will know them, and who knows discover a passion for beauty entrepreneurship!

Cassandra Grey

Why Cassandra Grey?

Cassandra Grey has an interesting story because she started a beauty business celebrating a town she didn’t like at first! Back in New York, she drafted the business plan of Violet Grey, but it was her reluctant move to L.A. that contributed to create the ethos of the brand. Violet Grey wouldn’t be what it is today had it been born in New York. Cassandra went against her bias about L.A. and Hollywood by exploring the city and its culture to then fall in love with it and realise its potential. Hollywood is where every movie is produced, all the celebrities are hence why an  army of make up artists and hairstylists is living there making it a place where image and beauty are important. Rightly Cassandra’s says herself that “Hollywood is the most influential beauty culture in the world”.

It is rare to find a female entrepreneur starting a business in that way, especially in beauty. Some women start a company because they can’t find a product but for Cassandra it was answering to the saturation of the beauty market. With Violet Grey, she aimed at offering women a curated selection of the best beauty products.

Who is Cassandra Grey?

Cassandra has an atypical story. A native from San Francisco she grew up in Quakers community before living in a Native American reservation. Again it is rare to find a female entrepreneur with that kind of background! But despite that hippie lifestyle, she always knew she wanted to start a business in her early thirties which meant living in New York.

What is Violet Grey?

Violet Grey is a physical and online shop offering the best of beauty products to women. Cassandra created it to respond to the beauty market saturation of products by selecting the best beauty brands to sell on her site. Consider Violet Grey the Net-A-Porter of beauty.

On her career

Before starting Violet Grey, Cassandra was a branding and marketing specialist who has worked with the likes of LVMH. She specialised in influencer and event marketing and branding.

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On what makes her a beauty boss

Her curiosity and thirst of learning. She has a keen interest in observing beauty as a cultural phenomenon in different countries. She does so by buying magazines from all over the world.

Cassandra Grey

Her understanding of influencer marketing. For Cassandra, beauty experts are a new kind of celebrity. Because hairstylists, make up and nail artists are professional experts, they are even more bankable than a blogger or a celebrity endorsing a product. Their knowledge of products make them the best editors hence salespersons. Think about people like Jen Atkin – the Ouai founder – who created a brand reflecting all the knowledge she acquired as a hairstylist. That is exactly the new type of influencer Violet Grey is working with.

Her understanding of storytelling. Violet Grey’s strength is based on the fact that Cassandra uses what Hollywood  stands for – a place where stories and characters are created through style, make up and hairstyles – to build the storytelling of the brand.

If you enjoyed this article of our Beauty Boss Profile and you know cosmetic brands led by women please shoot us an email at emmanuelle@glamobserver.com or let us know in the comments below!

 Photo credits WSJ
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