Since its launch in 2012, Violet Grey has made a name for itself among multi-brand beauty retailers, thanks to a carefully curated selection of products that helps consumers cut through the clutter and get straight to the good stuff.
As the company continues to grow and develop its offering, it’s making a big push toward content and storytelling to help consumers learn what Violet Grey is and what it stands for, said CEO April Uchitel.
“I was a huge fan of Violet Grey before I joined, but I had never really shopped Violet Grey,” said Uchitel. “I really wanted to unpack that, and it led me to discover a lot of our foundational pillars — and if I wasn’t aware of them, I’m sure our audience wasn’t aware of them. So what we’ve done is really dig into these pillars to make sure that we can animate them and bring visibility to some of the things that we assume are straightforward that might not be.”
In this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Uchitel to discuss how Violet Grey differentiates itself from other retailers, how it’s using editorial content to make luxury seem more accessible and how it’s strategizing to build brand awareness. Edited highlights below.
What sets Violet Grey apart
“It’s about the ecosystem. We do things that no other retailer does that are time and capital intensive to be able to provide the best value to the consumer, and we need that consumer to understand what the process is. It reinforces the trust and credibility on all sides. It’s really been about connecting all the dots through a content lens, and what we really want to do is show our process. So if you imagine a table of hundreds of mascaras, and then we edit it down to the best five. That’s really powerful, and that’s where you can really see the work that goes into all of the products we curate, from an ingredients perspective, efficacy perspective, packaging, founder story, if there’s a clean element, a sustainable element — all these things factor into who we choose, and then it’s on the content team to really tell that story.”
Using editorial to make luxury accessible
“It’s all about relatability. You can be a superstar and still be dealing with acne. You can have things that you’re focused on in your life that are core, aspirational things that are not about beauty at all, and that can really help tell a story that someone who is reading can connect to. That’s the power of content, especially in the land of YouTube, influencers and Instagram, where we’re all creating the best versions of ourselves. Beauty allows us to do that to a certain extent. I wear a strong, red lip — it’s like my Superman cape — and when I put it on, I know I’m good to go. That’s the power of beauty, and everyone has that thing. The more you see people you relate to, or even people who feel way out of your realm in terms of celebrity, talking about things that help them be the best version of themselves through the content, that’s where the relationship gets really strong.”
Building brand awareness
“In the table stakes of e-commerce, we don’t do a lot of the referral programs, and we don’t do any promotions. We have two events per year where we drive a lot of volume, and they’re there because that’s how the world works. To go up against Black Friday and Memorial Day, you have to have something. Outside of that, it’s really about the access and all the other things we provide. Being able to do that in a way that really does help her — through high-touch customer service, through opportunities to get early access to products or maybe even test products. There are ways we can engage her in a different way. Right now, LA and New York are our biggest markets, so being able to talk to the other cities is important, but there are still a lot of people in Santa Monica who have never heard of Violet Grey. When they do find us it’s, ‘Oh my god, how did I not know this existed?’ Then when they find out the back story, they’re even more sold on us. That’s now really our focus — to make sure that the brand awareness is there and that the education is, too.”