*Violet Grey sent a very nice email apologising and inviting us back to the store shorty after this post went live and we greatly appreciate the gesture.
8452 MELROSE PL.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA 90069
Monday to Saturday: 10am – 6pm
How do they describe themselves?
‘The best in beauty from those who know best.’
Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey is the wife of Brad Grey, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Paramount Pictures, giving her the kind of access to movie stars that other websites can only cry to their mummy about. And she uses it. Michelle Monaghan, Mandy Moore, Emilia Clarke and Sarah Paulson are just a few of the names featured on the site with exclusive interviews and features recently. There’s money behind this project, a lot of it. The store costs alone must be extortionate. Who knows what the end game is?
Violet Grey is a brand name, not a real person, and the ‘Violet Code Approved’ stamps are just that, marketing. Good brand marketing, but still, ultimately designed to sell you something, not give you solid product advice.
Instore shopping? Wealthy people who want the carrier bag to take into Fig & Olive up the road while they lunch on kale.
Online shopping? Space NK/Bergdorf customers – think Into The Gloss for Platinum/Black Amex card holders. I just know they will take that as a compliment. It isn’t.
Who was shopping?
Myself and Stef – YouTube/StephanieNicole
Dressed smart casual, made up, blow-dried, carrying good handbags. I’m saying this purely for context. It absolutely should not matter, but we all know it sadly does (to the staff, not us).
Time spent instore?
10/15 minutes approx
Time of visit?
No/Yes, but do not take a small child to this store. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
What do they sell?
Tom Ford, Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, La Mer, La Prairie, Le Labo, all the ‘Le’’s. Full list of brands here: www.violetgrey.com/brands
How’s the selection? Full range or selected items?
‘Carefully curated items only.’ AKA bestsellers.
Any online or instore exclusives?
They seem to have a lot more available online than instore. The shop is a fancy showroom.
Is it easy to find what you need?
No. It’s an expensive jumble sale. Chanel. Chanel is easy to find, because even in this situation, Chanel teaches the other brands who’s boss by having an entire display bay area to themselves. Literally made me laugh out loud. Classic.
Were all the items in stock?
I don’t know – we didn’t stick around to buy anything. Although in their defence, they didn’t have anything we couldn’t get anywhere else or didn’t already have, so it’s not like we were excited. Safe to say this was not the case in the next store we went into, where we both dropped a considerable wad. (Upcoming)
Customer Service – pushy, pleasant or peasant?
Peasant. You are absolutely given the once over when you enter. By both staff. They both said ‘Hello’ at different times and carried on cleaning and doing paperwork, something that would never happen in a top London beauty retailer after 10/11am. ‘All paperwork off the shop floor’ is a long-established golden rule.
Transactions completed quickly and accurately?
Is the store clean and are testers available/useable?
It was too cluttered to be able to tell. Testers were available.
Genuinely cannot remember. Sorry. I was a little wide-eyed with disappointment.
Returns are accepted for up to 90 days as long as they are unopened, unused etc. No exchanges, no word on damages/allergies. I would assume they would take back items that were damaged.
What’s good about it?
It’s a beautiful store. There are exquisite Edith Head drawings all over the walls, it’s exceptionally lit, and in a lovely location. Nice bathroom, which they let me use, so a score for that.
What’s not so good about it?
I’d show you but you can’t take any pictures inside. You can take photos for ‘personal use only’. Like ok Barry, I want a picture of your shop for my own private album.
When I asked (very nicely) if I could take photos or vlog I was told ‘No. You can apply to our press office for any visuals. We like to control our image.’ (Kind of like when you arrive at Immigration in an airport, except there are two-hour queues in airports because they’re full of people, and the staff are friendlier.)
When I googled images, I realised why. This is what you are presented with if you search Violet Grey images:
See that lovely big space and the nice chairs? Yes. All gone. The room, which is much smaller in reality, now has a huge table in the middle full of stock. It doesn’t look like it has been presented, hence, perhaps, the photo ban.
Beyond the logistics, it’s the same old story for high-end service, where the staff seem to think they either own the store or actually are the name on the box. We’d been in there for a few minutes when the sales associate said to Stef ‘You know how this store works right?’ She very politely said ‘Yes thank you.’ But her eyebrows said ‘It’s not rocket science babe.’ Or maybe that was my eyebrow.
Would I revisit?
Do you need to visit?
No. Use the website and follow their Instagram instead. Much better. http://www.instagram.com/violetgrey
What’s the website like?
A little like the shop, high on style but with a tad too much going on. It’s trying to be Into The Gloss, with a little more ‘we know it all’ attitude.
Affiliate links for bloggers?
Yes. Good % at ‘up to 12%’. Although you’ll be limited in your options for colours, and this line made me eye roll: ‘If you are a suitable fit, we will extend an invitation.’ You’re alright Barry. I’m good.
We were both disappointed. After all the hype we were expecting much more, from service to offering to all-round experience. Style over substance. Which would appear to be exactly what they are going for.