With her chic brunette crop, lithe frame and porcelain skin, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey reminds us of a modern day Audrey Hepburn; her glamorous sense of style and penchant for grand, romantic statements (one of her many mantras: “In polite society, your first mistake is asking permission.”) only add to that association. Cassandra, a former marketing consultant and fashion entrepreneur, launched her beauty business, Violet Grey just over a year ago. Today it includes a gorgeous online magazine called The Violet Files (think: high glamour muses of yesterday and today), super-curated e-commerce site (Tom Ford, Nars, La Prairie) and beautiful boutique (on Melrose Place, natch). A muse in her own right, we can’t wait for you to get to know the glamorous Cassandra, our latest Woman of Style.
Early Life & Career
"I was raised by nomadic artists who moved around quite a bit. I learned that there are many types of lives people are living. I learned how to make friends and adapt to many different dinner tables."
Her First Job
"When I was nearly six, I pressed flowers between two sheets of glass and sold them at the art fair for 12 dollars. My first job with an employer made it abundantly clear that I would be more suited to work for myself."
On Career Growth
"Everything I have ever been exposed in my life has helped me prepare to build this company. I always knew I would start a company when I was 30. I worked as a creative marketing consultant for most of my life, which was a little like dating a lot of different boyfriends at the same time. I consider that time to be my education. I learned a lot about what kind of company I wanted to build. I don't think I would have been able to commit to one company if I didn’t try a lot of other things first."
Role Models And Mentors
"Oh gosh, I have had so many mentors. I have never been shy to pick the brains of those I admire. There have been many times when I have called complete strangers and asked them to kindly meet with me. I've found that most successful people enjoy providing guidance to those who really appreciate their guidance."
Somebody once said the wise learn from their mistakes, and the wiser learn from the wise.
Her Typical Day
"The fact is that every day is pretty different. My most productive days look like this: 6am: Coffee and papers, 7am: Boxing, 8:30am: Office, 9am to 10am: Tackle call list (people I need to respond to via phone or email), 10am-7pm: Back to back meetings with each of the different departments of Violet Grey - Editorial, Merchandising, Marketing, Product, Tech, Legal, Production, Partnerships and Brand. It’s always been my dream to have my very own set of departments."
What She Looks For In An Employee
"I look for a producer mentality. I look for people who can manage people and plates in the air. People who can nurture and lead by example. To me, there are two types of people; people who get it done and people who don't. Good producers always get it done."
The Violet Grey Girl
"I imagine her to be discerning and ambitious in tailored trousers. She is busy and her time is valuable. She is looking for a trusted source to build and maintain her cosmetic wardrobe."
How She Plans To Grow The Business
"People build great companies. The most important part of my job is recruiting talent and nurturing the team I have in place. I think with the right team and the right culture you can build anything."
Style & Personal Life
Her Beauty Essentials
"I am into skincare and have 12 items in my regimen that I never leave home without. In terms of makeup, I prefer a dewy, “no makeup” makeup look. This is what I could get by with if I couldn’t have anything else: La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation, Nars The Multiple in South Beach, YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch, Beauty Blender, Dior Addict Lip Glow."
What She Puts On When She Wants To Feel Glamorous
"Black lace underpinnings and JAR perfume."
The Accessory Every Woman Needs In Her Wardrobe
"A highlighter. Life is better with cheekbones."
Her Home Decor
"Warm, sophisticated and cozy. I like a neutral color palette and gravitate toward classic shapes that don't have too much personality. I prefer the art to do the talking in terms of emotion and color."
Her Trick For Finding Balance
"I take care of myself and I keep my priorities straight. My family, my heart, my work, my brain, and my body in that order."
My favorite day-off rituals: television and reading books in bed.
Her Dinner Party Style
"Dinner parties with a curation of characters from different walks of life. People who don't often socialize together are always interesting."
Her Travel Essentials
"My man, my skincare regimen, slippers and note cards (the plane is a great time to write letters)."
How To Live More Glamorously (Without Spending A Lot Of Money)
"Don't be a product of your environment; make your environment a product of you. Style is not about money it’s about having a point of view and surrounding yourself with what makes you feel honest. I would say if you are going to spend your money, spend it on good sheets and towels. The good ones last a lifetime and only get better and better over time."
What Most People Don't Know About Cassandra
"You mean, what I don't post on my Instagram? I can't live without my Tom Ford bar soap. I am a chess champion."