Before being a cosmetics brand, L’Odaïtès is first and foremost a story of family transmission and legacy. Nabilla Chemillier, Co-founder and General Manager of the brand, and her two sisters, also involved in the adventure, grew up with their grandmother, a pharmacist. Between picking plants in orchards and gardens, distilling floral waters and preparing essential oils, they discovered the practices of the Mediterranean apothecary tradition and learned various traditional skincare techniques.
Each of the three sisters has expertise in a different field: Alya owns a pharmaceutical laboratory while Sofia is a chemist, and Nabila used to work in statistics and accounting. When their grandmother passed away, they decided to carry on her savoir-faire. "We wanted to keep the same rigorous quality approach in terms of raw materials, hence the exclusive use of cold-pressed or extracted active ingredients to preserve their biological richness," explains Nabila Chemillier. This is how the three sisters joined forces to found L’Odaïtès.
The name of the brand, created in 2015, is a reference-tribute to this legacy, via Daïtes, the Greek god who invented feasting. "Our products are designed to offer a feast to the skin and make a nod to dates, the emblematic fruit of the Mediterranean basin," explains the Manager.
Cold extracted botanical raw materials
Cold extraction is one of the founding principles of the brand. This process ensures that the biological richness of raw materials is preserved as much as possible. "We work with virgin vegetable oils, even if they are difficult to stabilise. We also focus on the packaging to preserve the finished product in the bottle as much as possible." This is why the brand has chosen brown glass bottles, which are more efficient in protecting the product from light, or airless containers, which protect sensitive actives from oxidation.
Another founding element of the brand is the choice of active ingredients from the Mediterranean basin, particularly from desert areas, such as dates. "It is an unparalleled ingredient, the sap is extremely rich in polyphenols, its ORAC index is 3 times higher than that of grapes," stresses Nabila Chemillier.
The date also contains many trace elements and polysaccharides to boost cell communication for a radiant complexion. The stone of the date is also used. Transformed into oil and powder, which is excellent for exfoliation. In the end, this fruit is used in five products of the L’Odaïtès range. Like neroli, orange blossom essential oil is one of the brand’s flagship ingredients, both as an active ingredient and olfactory signature.
Finally, following the practices of their grandmother, the three sisters wanted to create a brand that was as natural as possible. "From the outset, a lot of work had to be done to formulate with natural preservatives, 100% plant-based emulsifiers, natural stabilisers, etc., in perfect adequacy with our choice of noble botanical raw materials."
Educate consumers and attract distributors
Right from the start, the brand has been committed to educating consumers, particularly about the difference between virgin and refined oils. For L’Odaïtès, it is this choice that ultimately comes first, before choosing between organic or conventional oil, because, unlike refined oil, virgin oil will be packed with all its nutrients (essential fatty acids, vitamins, etc.) and will therefore bring real benefits to the skin.
But choosing fresh ingredients and limiting preservatives comes at a price! "A virgin oil is twice as expensive as a refined oil," explains Nabila Chemillier. Thus resulting in a top-of-the-range positioning and a distribution targeting specialised outlets. "We have given priority to niche perfumeries, spas and apothecary-type pharmacies."
Proud to be made in France, L’Odaïtès is now distributed in a hundred or so outlets, mainly in Europe, especially in France and Italy, but also in the United States, on the coast via a local distributor, and in Morocco and Senegal. For an indie brand, distribution is a major challenge and the key to success, especially in France where retail sales are highly concentrated, particularly in the selective circuit.
To broaden its offer and meet current expectations, the brand will launch a food supplement at the end of the year. A face serum is also in preparation for next year. "After the lock-downs, consumers have somewhat abandoned make-up in favour of skincare. They are no longer trying to conceal their wrinkles and are looking for a radiant and luminous complexion, by using either cosmetics or food supplements," points out the General Manager.