How Cassandra Thurswell, the Founder of Kitsch, Made Cool, Quality Hair Accessories AccessibleFebruary 17, 2021
Be it glitzy hair clips, patent leather scrunchies or fashion-forward headbands, Kitsch has become my go-to for affordable hair accessories. So when I had the chance to chat with Cassandra Thurswell, the founder of the ever-growing brand, you could say I was excited to hear how the entrepreneur got her start in the industry. From self-funding her company at the age of 25 to her advice for future beauty bosses, read ahead for our conversation.
Did you always want to be in the beauty and fashion industries?
I remember giving a speech in my public speaking class in high school for my fictitious brand Fashions by Cassandra, so I think it's safe to say I knew this was my industry from a very young age. I started Kitsch at 25, so I was too young to have a long list of what some might consider professional career experiences. From working retail to being a waitress, all my prior jobs and experiences connected me with everyday consumers — and I still look back to them for inspiration.
What inspired you to launch Kitsch?
I saw a void in the beauty market (and still do!). There were amazing high-end brands making beauty accessories, but they were inaccessible. Then, I saw the drugstore and mass brand products, but they didn't excite me or inspire me. Kitsch aims to bridge the gap. We can be considered a splurge or a steal to customers and both parties come back for more.
What was it like to build the company from the ground up on your own?
I see many companies that do amazing things with outside funding. Bootstrapping is hard, complicated and stressful, but what it provided me was a personalized MBA in my business. I didn't have experts holding my hand or making connections, which made our growth slow and steady. Growing slowly on my own dime provided me the opportunity to see every angle of the business and take full responsibility for it. When I started, I honestly felt like I had already made it. Just starting is an accomplishment. My husband is my business partner and joined the company a year after I launched. We still operate from this place of gratitude for where we are in this moment.
Is there a certain ethos that you try to keep at the core of the brand as it grows?
I have this saying, “The secret to having it all is knowing you already do.” I think it’s so important to understand that wherever you are in your life at this very moment is enough. I think we get so stuck on the outcome that we forget the process should be equally as satisfying.
Do you have advice for young entrepreneurs who want to enter the beauty or fashion space?
I feel like fear is something that holds a lot of people back. Fear of opinions of others, failing, difficult challenges or even fear of success can stifle what you're feeling called to do. I'm a big believer in visualization. Sometimes when things seem too overwhelming or fear creeps in, I think it's ok to go to that dark place and play it through. Visualize yourself going through a hard time and coming out the other side prevailing. It won't seem as scary.
Fill in the blanks:
I would tell my 20-year-old self: This is all part of the plan.
My three desert island must-haves are: My family, my skin care and my laptop.
A beauty trend I regret trying is: Sheet masks.
My first memory of beauty is: Participating in dance recitals and wearing lipstick. I loved every second of it.
The first thing I’m doing post-Covid is: I don't care where it is, but the first thing I want to do is give my friends and family hugs. I'm really missing hugging people.
To me, beauty means: Acceptance of myself and those around me.