News Article

Topanga Messenger Online

The Audacity of Odacité by Flavia Potenza

DEC 16, 2010
Seven years ago, Valerie Gundary learned she had breast cancer, so she changed her lifestyle, changed her life and created a nontoxic skin care product line and the Detox Market.

Most of us never think twice about what we put on our skin. Chemicals added to almost all skin care products, no matter how glamorous or prestigious the brand name, contain preservatives that guarantee shelf life of up to four years and many are known carcinogens. Parabens and phenalthalates have been banned in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere because they've been linked to among other things, breast cancer.

"Six years ago, I felt like my life was over and I was really down, says Odacité president and CEO, Valerie Gundary. "But it was the event I needed to come to what I really liked to do."

Her fight against the disease led to a mastectomy and chemotherapy. It was a no-nonsense wake-up call. "While I was in the hospital, a voice in my head told me, ‘You have to change everything.'"

And she did. "I used to be a film producer, a stressful job, so I sold my company, my house in the Hollywood Hills, moved to Topanga and decided to detoxify my life."

The Healing Journey

The first thing Gundary did to heal was go to the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego where she detoxed on raw foods. "I also detoxed from past traumas that are just as toxic and reconnected with my spirituality. OHI has a testimonial session every Friday where people tell their stories that are always about changing their lifestyle; miraculous stories are always about changing something that is making you sick in life. "

Gundary revisited everything about her life, followed a vegan diet, added meditation and yoga, studied the "Power of Plants" and everything healthy. "It made a huge difference," she says. "I detoxed for six months and mixed it with conventional therapies of a mastectomy and chemo. I didn't want to do radiation or drug therapy and then went on this diet. I go back to OHI every year and it's the best holiday ever. I'm away from everything for a week and it allows me to be myself with no external stimulation.

The Birth of Odacité


During her healing process, people started asking her for advice about alternative routes for health. She started counseling and coaching people, then went back to school. Still, she felt she had something more to do and wanted to share what she had learned.

"I'm in my fifties and everything I'm good at is chrystallized in making Odacité and helping women prevent things that I didn't prevent for myself."

She had started making her own skin care products because none of the organics had a manufacturer's date on it. "If you want a nutritional value in a product, it has to be fresh," she admonishes. "I didn't have the energy to start another company, but it's interesting how the universe comes to you."

Out of the blue, a friend and financial guru in Silicon Valley, Romain Gaillard, called her for coaching. She invited him to spend the weekend in Topanga and she would trade her coaching for a business plan. "He watched me make my products and thought it was amazing. I asked him if he thought I could turn it into a company. He replied it would be hard for him to do a business plan because there was no business model for what I was doing."

"You just need the audacity to do it," he told her and that's where the name originated.

"We used the ‘O' because it was organic, ‘O' for the planet and ‘O' for the female symbol," Gundary recalls. "Then, being French, I wanted it to sound French and changed the spelling from the French word, ‘audacité,' to ‘Odacité.'" Gaillard partnered with her and they created it.

The next step was finding a lab to make it and they spent a year scouting for labs and refining the product.

"The process of finding a lab was conducting a series of interviews with labs that specialize in formulating organic products," she says. "The hard part was to convince them to follow us on the concept of freshly made. It took us six months to find the right one that was animated with a passion for organically pure products."

She chose ingredients for their track record of high antioxidant activity. "We tried to design a very potent line that would deliver anti-aging benefits, difficult to do in the organic world, because when products are manufactured to have a two- to three-year shelf life, they lose their antioxidant activity. Worse, oils can become rancid and filled with free radicals," Gundary says. "The Federal Drug Adminstration (FDA) does not rule on skin care. There actually is very little regulation in skin care and this is how we end up with so many toxic ingredients in personal care products."

Gundary launched the business in June 2009 – right in the middle of the recession. But people were looking for something organic, freshly made and good for you. "You can research every ingredient in my products and know why it's there," says Gundary. "We have a lot of pregnant women using our products."

She began marketing Odacité with an interview in France and the American press soon followed suit.

"There's a great thing about selling on the Internet. We ship carbon free from the Topanga post office to 22 countries. The U.S. is the biggest market and it's mostly word of mouth. That's the most important thing: when somebody tries it and tells their friends.

"My skin coaching is mostly for people with sensitive or mature skin. You don't have to compromise beautiful health. You can find something that works that is non-toxic."

When someone calls, she consults with the customer to create a routine and sends them samples to see if it works. "Our website goes beyond skin care with the message that it's just as important to put something healthy on your skin as it is to eat right." Gundary also has an Odacité Facebook page with healthy tips and recipes.

The Next Obvious Step: The Detox Market

Grandury and Gaillard have created the Detox Market at 1524 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, a collaborative pop-up store of hard-to-find, best-in-breed, eco-friendly brands that you can visit throughout the holiday season until December 31.

Traveling from city to city, the Detox Market introduces carefully screened green brands in beauty, fashion and food to the consumer who wants to detoxify their body and living environment.

Follow the event schedule at thedetoxmarket.com for complimentary demos, tastings, facials, hair styling, manicures and parties. Warm and knowledgeable staff will share vital information on how small changes can make a big difference in your overall well‐being.

"Of course, a person's attitude is also important," she says. "Every morning I wake up in Topanga, walk my dog and walk in nature and I'm always in happy mode. Four years ago, I would never have said that I'd be in Topanga in a business that does healthy skin care. I went from being a film producer in a crazy world to this. I have a lot to be grateful for."

© 2010 Phoenix Rising Inc., www.TopangaMessenger.com

Title - Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting the Optimum Health Institute Web site. This privacy policy tells you how we use the personal information collected from our Web site. Please read this privacy policy before submitting any personal information.

By using our site, you are accepting the practices described in this provide policy. These practices may be changed. You are encouraged to review our privacy policy whenever you visit the Web site to make sure you understand how any personal information you provide will be used.

Collection of information

The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) collects information when voluntarily submitted by our visitors through online forms, emails, and customer communication. The data may include personally identifiable information (such as name, address, phone number, email address) financial information (such as credit card or payment information), and user preferences (such as newsletters or personal choices). The information you provide is used to fulfill your specific request, unless you give us permission to use it in another manner. The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) does not sell, trade, or rent your personal information to others.

Cookies / Tracking Technology

Our Web site may use cookies and electronic communication protocols between your computer and our server. This information often includes network routing (where you came from), equipment information (browser type), date and time. Cookies can help us customize the Web site for visitors. The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) may use cookie and tracking technology to gather information about Web browsers, tracking the number of visitors to our Web site, and understanding how visitors use our Web site. Personal information is not collected via cookies and other tracking technologies. However, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information.

Third-Party Web Sites

The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) Web site provides links to non-OHI Web sites that we believe may be of interest to you. These Web sites are provided as a convenience and are beyond our control. We advise you to check the privacy policies and terms of use of those sites before providing your personal information.

Distribution of Information

We may share information with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in fraud prevention or investigation. We may do so when: (1) permitted or required by law; or, (2) trying to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud or unauthorized transactions; or, (3) investigating fraud which has already taken place. The information is NOT provided to these companies for marketing purposes.

Commitment to Data Security

Your personally identifiable information is kept secure. Only authorized employees, agents and contractors (who have agreed to keep information secure and confidential) have access to this information. All emails and newsletters from this site allow you to opt out of further mailings

Privacy Contact Information

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about our privacy policy, you may contact us using the information below:

Optimum Health Institute
Attention Chief Privacy Officer
6970 Central Avenue
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

Phone: 800-993-4325
Email: optimum@optimumhealth.org

Disclaimer

We consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status. However, we are a drug-free and smoke-free workplace. OHI or FSTC may use the information given in the application to investigate the applicant's previous employment and background.

The Application for Employment will be considered inactive after 90 days. If you wish to be considered after that time, you must complete a new Application for Employment.

Spiritual Disciplines

In the Judeo Christian tradition, spiritual disciplines are a means of receiving the grace of God. They enable us to do what we cannot do on our own. By practicing spiritual disciplines, we cultivate a life in which God can bring growth, change, and transformation. Typically, spiritual disciplines are divided into two categories – internal and external. Some examples are listed below:

Internal / abstinence

  • Solitude: Be absent from others so you can be present with God
  • Silence: Quiet your voice and the voices of others, so you can listen for the voice of God
  • Fasting: Be aware of yourself and the needs of others; focus your heart on God
  • Frugality: Remove your desire for luxury and devote your resources to serving God and others
  • Secrecy: Let go of external recognition and find acceptance from God
  • Sacrifice:Give up self-security and put total trust in God

External / engagement

  • Prayer: Converse with God : Ask, listen, and open your life to change
  • Study: Change your way of thinking, your way of knowing and pursue God's truth
  • Worship: Experience the greatness of God in everything and everybody
  • Celebration: Rejoice in the goodness of God and live your life in gratitude
  • Fellowship: Gather with others to share love, joy, and encouragement
  • Service: Serve others and free yourself from arrogance and judgment
  • Submission: Be honest, open, and accountable to God and others
  • Confession: Acknowledge your offenses and find freedom in forgiveness

Practicing spiritual disciplines helps affirm your belief in God, enabling you to witness transformation in yourself and others in a community of faith, hope, and love.