I am Jessica Wilkins, President & CEO of Essence of Vali. My journey to Essence of Vali has taken many twists and turns but I do believe every experience, opportunity and even disappointment along the way prepared me to lead this company with courage and compassion. I debated on how much I wanted to share here, but I think it’s important to be transparent and help others understand how my own personal struggles turned into strengths and why l’m passionate about our company and the products we offer. If you are taking the time to read “Our Story” section, I hope you leave feeling inspired.
My love for beauty and wellness begins as far back as to my 16-year old self—a small town Texas girl with big dreams. I was challenged by a high school graphic design teacher to create an advertisement that would represent my dream job as an adult. The finished product was a magazine ad for a beauty and wellness company. That ad is still tucked away in a keepsake chest at my parent’s house. My dream back then is the same as it is now: to help others feel like the most beautiful and healthiest version of themselves. Although I didn’t immediately begin a career in the beauty and wellness industry, I believe a series of life events helped my own story come full circle.
Little did I know, a few months after I dreamt up my dream job, I would be cast in an ABC Family reality television series. Although that show focused on my personal life, I learned through that experience that I preferred to help others tell their own inspiring stories. My short stint in reality television turned into a career in television news as a morning show producer. My typical work day started just before 2AM. After several years of long hours and lack of sleep, I decided to change career paths. This experience helped me to understand the importance of sleep and how not getting enough sleep can affect a person’s mental and physical health. I continued to keep my passion of storytelling alive by launching my own digital media company where I helped businesses and brands utilize video and social media.
In July of 2012, I became engaged to my husband Randy and we started making plans for the future, which included a move to a college town where he coaches football. Once again, life would throw a curve ball. Three days after we were engaged I was in a car accident suffering neck and back injuries. It was during this time of recovery that I gained a true understanding of what it is like to suffer from chronic pain and how not feeling well can impact every aspect of your life. Physical therapy and massage therapy played an important role in my recovery. I also gained a new appreciation for natural remedies and the importance of living a healthier lifestyle. I was fully recovered from my injury until I gave birth to our son in 2016. Just a few months later I was back to physical therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care. Once again, I was reminded of the importance of taking care of my body and how the use of aromatherapy products can have a positive impact on the mind, body and spirit. This experience led me to creating a blog focusing on the challenges of becoming a new mom and later led me to promoting clean beauty brands.
My love of clean beauty brands and natural products created an instant connection between myself and Essence of Vali founder, Valerie Bennis. Vali was a close family friend passionate about her company and also excited for the next chapter in her life. On November 1, 2019 my husband and I bought Essence of Vali. I’m so excited for this new journey and appreciative of Vali’s continued support and encouragement. Because of her courage to leave her corporate job and start Essence of Vali in 2000, I now have the opportunity to follow my passion and help others.
I am Valerie Bennis, founder of Essence of Vali. In the year 2000, I left my corporate career and launched our line of products. It has been an amazing journey and I am grateful for all of the clients and customers who are enthusiastic users of our blends. I am also grateful for the recognition we have received with industry awards and being highlighted in books on natural healing. The emails and letters I have gotten are heart- warming and affirming.
On November 1, 2019, I made the decision to step away from the day to day operation and take on a consultative role as the Founder of Essence of Vali. I am happy to have passed the torch to Jessica Wilkins who has the passion, energy, creativity and vision to carry on my legacy.
May you always take impeccable care of your self,
The name of our company is very fitting as my nickname is Vali. Creating blends that smell beautiful and are used in a sensual and healing way are a creative expression of who I am. From an early age, I have loved self care and taking care of others.
In my thirties, I became interested in holistic healing and studied therapeutic touch, Reiki, nutrition, herbs, detox programs, homeopathy, Bach flower remedies, juicing, fasting, and aromatherapy. I loved tinkering at home, making therapeutic formulas as well as creating recipes for my beauty regime. It was always a source of pleasure and fascination for me.
I continued my career in the corporate world and evenings and weekends, continued my other life as an alchemist of sorts. Then I went through some soul searching about my life and my future and decided to follow my heart and focus on an area of holistic healing. That was when I decided to focus on “essential oils” also known as “aromatherapy”. I loved all the ways the essences could be used – therapeutic, medicinal, beauty, and addressing all levels of mind, body, spirit.
Once I made my decision, I found the perfect teacher and studied as an apprentice for an intense six month period. This was followed by a certification program and a diploma program. I became a certified aromatherapist four years after I started my studies. All this time, I was still at my day job, happily making customized blends for individual clients, evenings and weekends. I lived a bit of a double life and people at work used to sneak into my office for advice and for their customized blends.
My recipe book was quickly being filled up with healing formulas. To this day, I still have my original book with the person’s name for whom the formula was created. In the year 2000 I left my corporate life and launched the Essence of Vali line of products. It has been an exciting journey that I am still on.
Beyond the products, we love inspiring people to love themselves, age gracefully and experience a whole new way of life. We believe in challenging your mind, honoring your body and celebrating your spirit.