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Grey Expectations

Cassandra Grey
After Farfetch bought Violet Grey, Grey and her team were given a nearly impossible task: selling beauty entirely online. Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi
Rachel Strugatz
February 21, 2024

Amid all the Farfetch bullshit from last week—the consummation of the Coupang deal, the defenestration of Line Sheet protagonist José Neves, the attendant and predictable executive shuffle—I suddenly realized I hadn’t heard a peep about Violet Grey. Farfetch acquired the beauty retailer for $55 million in early 2022 to become the backbone of Neves’s ill-conceived move into beauty. It was a terrible idea, both retrospectively and also at the time, because not only should Farfetch have clung to its platform roots, but plenty of other high-end retailers had struggled to sell beauty. Anyway, it happened… 

At the time, Neves argued that he had a secret weapon: Cassandra Grey, the business’s mysterious socialite founder. Post acquisition, Grey was elevated to a few new roles: adviser to Farfetch Beauty and head of its new (also ill-conceived) incubation arm, NGG Beauty, which was an offshoot of Off-White parent New Guards Group, which Farfetch acquired in 2019.