April Uchitel is the badass CEO of Violet Grey, one of our go-to spots for the newest and best in luxury beauty. She sits down to talk with us all about her go-to regimen, what it’s like moving back to LA after years in New York, and how her beauty philosophy translates to home and style.
Name, Age, Where do you live?
April Uchitel, 52, Laurel Canyon
Give us an overview of your career.
I spent about 25 years in fashion. 9 of those at Diane Von Furstenburg where I ran Global Sales and Strategy. I realized fashion was broken and needed to move into digital from a relevancy perspective as well as career growth. I started consulting and advising on digital boards and mentoring in the CFDA. One of my consulting clients was a mobile marketplace called SPRING and I saw the potential to revolutionize shopping on mobile and take out the middleman. I joined full-time as Chief Brand Officer and officially moved to tech – spending nearly 4 years building a marketplace from scratch and curating and onboarding brands to a new platform. While there I started working with beauty brands and this eventually informed my next steps!
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now.
I am the CEO of VIOLET GREY – a luxury beauty content and commerce company. I started a little over a year ago having decamped NYC for LA and no idea what I was going to do next after I exited SPRING. I reconnected with the founder, Cassandra Grey and she shared her vision for the future of the company and asked me to build it with her. So here we go!
What is the best part about working at Violet Grey?
I love the brand itself, what it represents in the industry and our brand partners. VIOLET GREY is held in very high esteem and the team we have built over the last year is epic. Our possibilities are endless!
How has your beauty regimen been influenced by working at Violet Grey? What is it?
It has been completely influenced! I was one of those people that used whatever I got for free or someone gifted me. I have learned so much about efficacy, ingredients, devices and routines that I had no idea were out there! Also as you age you become much more aware of how good products make a difference. I am not a plastic surgery person – so I want to do all that I can to stay as youthful as naturally as possible!
Being at VIOLET GREY has completely transformed the way I think about and treat my skin. I am also super spoiled as we get so much product for free – so I fully take advantage of that. I learned years ago not to wash my face 2x a day as that can be really drying, so I only rinse my face in the morning. I use Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel pads 2-3x a week and alternate days between Melanie Simon Serum C and Dr. Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. I then use Angela Caglia’s rose-quartz face roller to de-puff and boost circulation. I use Augustinus Bader The Cream with a drop of Dr Sturm Glow Drops. At night, Bioderma to remove makeup and wash my face with Royal Fern cleanser. I alternate between Vintner’s Daughter (if I am feeling really dry) and Augustinus Bader and ALWAYS apply Lucas papaw ointment on my lips or any other dry spots. I mask at least once a week. Hanacure and Erno Lazlo are my favorite. I also Dermaflash as needed. PHEW!
How do you like living in LA compared to New York? Was there any culture shock for you?
I lived in LA in the 90’s but spent 19 years in NYC. I was a little hesitant to move back as it was groundhog day when I left – but SO much has changed! All eyes on LA! There’s this amazing entrepreneurial energy across so much more than entertainment – beauty, wellness, tech, nutrition. There are so many startups and female founders. I’ve been really lucky to fall into a network of seriously badass women, connect back to the MANY NY bad asses in my NYC network and then bring together a lot of New Yorkers who’ve made the move to LA in the last 2 years. There is a female force in LA that I intend to harness in any way I can.
Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?
Oh man that is a hard question! I have young kids so I tend to look out 2 years out, max! Turn VIOLET GREY into a billion $ company, devote more time to activism and self care, go on epic global explorations and separately domestic road trips in our Sprinter with my husband (when the kids are out of the nest…)
How do you keep your work/life balance?
I super suck at this. A big goal for 2020! Any advice? 🙂
What’s your go-to splurge that you just can’t quit?
Grande Whole milk Chai Lattes from Starbucks.
How does your beauty philosophy leak into your style, home, and life philosophies?
I like the less is more – less but better – quality over quantity philosophy. When we moved from NYC to LA, we merged two significant properties (we had a large weekend house in Upstate NY and a loft in Tribeca). We purged and purged and simplified our life taking on the stuff we really loved. It was hard but also so liberating and now we have no storage, attic or basement and focus on the pieces we love and the things we need.
What’s one product you would add to our list of Groove-Approved items?
What’s the best thing you’ve read lately?
Sadly I can not find the time to read! Another goal for 2019!
What’s your favorite hostess gift to give, and the best hostess gift you’ve ever received?
I love to give a classic Diptyque candle. Best gift I received was a super thoughtful vintage jar containing about 10 white milkglass balls with a black letter U on each (like billiard balls) for Uchitel. It was so fun and thoughtful and currently sits out on the coffee table!
How do you treat yourself?
I love to arrange fresh flowers all over the house. If there are none in the garden, I go to farmers markets or even Trader Joe’s. I can spend over an hour cutting and arranging in creative vessels to spread beauty all over the house.
What would your superpower be?
I would LOVE to be an intuitive – to be able to read minds – to connect with past spirits and see futures. That or just have a photographic memory!
What is your go-to outfit?
I love denim on denim. Fashionable shapes (love a good jumpsuit!) mixed with a great boot or sneaker.
If you had a warning label, what would it say?
She is intense, driven, and does not suffer fools. She talks VERY fast and expects people to get it, but she is incredibly generous and loyal.