As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Valérie Grandury.
Valérie Grandury is the founder & CEO of Odacité, a leading prestige skincare line. Founded in 2009, Odacité pioneered the clean beauty movement by offering a line of products formulated to deliver superior performance and absolute purity of ingredients.
Odacité currently sells through 400+ doors across 17 countries around the world, including prominent retailers such as Nordstrom, Blue Mercury, Space NK, The Detox Market, Le Bon Marché, Lane Crawford, Galeries Lafayette, Harvey Nichols.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Odacité was born out of reinventing my life after having breast cancer. Cancer was a major wake-up call and came with a bad prognostic. I knew that in order to heal, I would have to change everything, and I did! I quit my job, went back to school to become a health and wellness coach, adopted a raw vegan diet, started yoga, and meditation daily. It is through this journey that the idea for Odacité was born.
As most French women, I love skincare and I’m very serious about it! French skincare is all about the concentration of actives and results … I wanted to marry that efficacy of French skincare with the green California lifestyle, what I call the best of two worlds!
It is through this French-California fusion that Odacité was born, so that each formula can be as pure as it is effective, without forgetting the pleasure of the senses. I’m French after all :-)
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
When we launched we had to be mindful of were we put our money, PR was were I felt we could save some money… I thought I had signed a great “deal” with a girl who gave us a nice discount on a six- month PR representation.
She turned out to be so useless paired with an arrogant “I know better” attitude! Still today it hurts to have wasted money and time with her…
Then I realized we had such a newsworthy stories and products, I could go direct to beauty editors in NY. Thanks to Google, I figured out their names and emails of beauty editors, sent them an email entitled “Meeting you while in NY,” booked a ticket for NY, stayed with friends to limit expenses.
On that first press tour, I managed to meet Vogue, Elle, People, Departures, Glamour and InStyle and it was the beginning of great relationship with the press. I still go once a year to present newness, this time with the best PR person.
The lesson I have learned: Hire the best PR — even if expensive — or do it yourself!
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I’m a funny reader, in the way that I always read at least 3–4 books at the same time, looking for the inspiration I need at a given time.
I love biographies of entrepreneurs; their journeys are always fascinating. One that inspired me in my career is Helena Rubinstein biography by Michèle Fitoussi. Absolutely fascinating how this woman invented beauty.
Right now — because stress management takes whole other level in the middle of the pandemic — I’m reading “The Power of Full Engagement,” about managing your energy and not your time. While I’m aware that your energy is the key to high performance as well as health, happiness and life balance, I need to be re-inspired to focus on my energy, not my time, both on and off work.
I’m also hooked on “All The Wiser” a podcast that truly inspires you to live your life to the fullest. Each episode is an extraordinary, raw and inspiring interview of people that have gone through the toughest challenges and major life-crisis, but turned them into positive outcome. A reminder that we can be incredibly resilient in adapting to negative events and hardships, that can help us grow into the person we really want to be… and ultimately happier individuals
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
My purpose was to start a new conversation about beauty, one that said, “When it comes to skincare you don’t need to sacrifice performance for purity of ingredients.” My vision was to create beautiful sustainable products that deliver extraordinary results on the skin, while respecting human and environmental health.
This was the beginning of the clean beauty movement! Today, as awareness is growing about toxicity of personal care products, the green beauty movement has become the fastest growing segment of the beauty industry.
This clean-sustainable purpose driven mission is even stronger today; we owe it to this beautiful planet, its wildlife, our children and all the generations to come.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Having had to go through breast cancer — and healing against the odds — has made me a lot more resilient and a believer that we can overcome the biggest obstacles. I now know that we have this extraordinary force inside of us, we are stronger than what we think we are…. Celebrate and be grateful for the ups and when the down come, know that nothing is permanent — even bad things end — stay positive, be creative and build your community.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
My husband and I are lucky to live surrounded by nature, we don’t have young children at home which makes is easy for us to adapt to the lockdown, and my dogs are happy to have us home every day… so I count my blessings.
The rest of my family is split between California, France, Germany, and Spain… not knowing when I will be able to see them again in person, is for sure challenging.
We turned this pandemic into an opportunity to deepen our conversation to more meaningful subjects that bring us closer together. Taking the time to listen to each other on simple questions like “how are you doing… What makes you happy… where do you find meaning in this pandemic…”
One day as I was feeling down my son, in all its wisdom said “Maman, this is time to unlearn and relearn,” his answer gave me vision.
My other son who lives in Berlin is expecting his first baby any day, I’m so sad I had to cancel my trip to Germany… while I won’t be able to hold his baby in my arms for a while, we are going to facetime every day and share this magic moment virtually.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Most of the Odacité team adapted well to working from home, managing time and maintaining engagement and focus.
As all the stores that carry Odacité are temporarily shut down, we became super creative and prioritized our energy and work on our online business. We focused on creativity and answering the needs of our community. We put in place a new strategy which includes video consultations with our estheticians, free sampling, lots of video, IG live, partnership with like minded brands… this really helped us stay positive and motivated and we doubled our online sales.
The hardest part for me is not being able to be in one room with my team and brainstorm — video conference does not replace that human energy — but I know we will be together again when safe!
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Stay in communication, there no such thing as over-communicating in this time of uncertainty. Reach out, help each other, inspire… We can’t be with loved ones, but we can send a little package…I love to send flowers!
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
Post-covid economy will be greener, more sustainable, more plant-based with a focus on health and wellness, this is where I see growth and opportunities.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
So hard to foresee… more hand washing for sure and I hope more care for the planet.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
We are doing a big focus on growing our online business, improving our website, listening and answering the needs of our community. We are working closely with our retail partners — as stores reopen — with larger sampling programs.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
I think this pandemic has accelerated the trend that shopping is going online, so focus on your online offerings.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” A reminder that daring to do things we are afraid to do, is often the key to building the life that we want.
How can our readers further follow your work?