meet the maker: osmia organics

Sarah is an extraordinary woman who deeply cares about preserving the health of others and the planet. She’s a former Emergency Physician turned Soap Maker and Aromatherapist who brings a holistic understanding of health and wellness to everything she does. Osmia Organics is an outlet for Sarah to practice broader medicine and has healed many people with perioral dermatitis, including Sarah herself.

Sarah Villafranco is an energetic force to reckon with.

After an eventful day of back-to-back press meetings, Sarah is joined by her upbeat sidekick, Brittany Hailey for an interview at The Detox Market in Yorkville. The positivity beaming out of Sarah and Brittany left me feeling like we were old fast friends and there was no end of laughter, especially when greeted by Canadian squirrels.

Sarah’s a captivating speaker and an absolutely trustworthy source of information. She draws constant inspiration from nature and has a serious passion for plants. She calls her home state of Colorado “heaven on earth”.

Enjoy getting to know Sarah in her own words:

Where did the name Osmia come from?

Osmia is a word I like to use to describe a sense of smell, it comes from the medical word “anosmia”, which is the inability to smell. Every Osmia product is created with careful attention to scent and aromatherapeutic benefits. Osmia is also a reminder to notice your life – the color of the sky, the taste of your coffee.

How would you summarize the heart and core of your brand?

I think we are trying to remind people of their own power and responsibility to heal themselves and to show them how beautiful that experience can be. Our tag line is “Return to your senses”, which carries a double meaning: Come to your senses and stop pretending that what you’re putting on your skin isn’t affecting your health or the health of the environment. While return to your senses also serves as a reminder to be present and soak up all the beauty around us.

Do you have a favorite scent or combination of scents?

That may be impossible. I think that’s what I love so much about this stuff because it totally depends on what you or your body needs. If you feel like you’re profoundly exhausted you might reach for Bria. Jasmine, coriander and black spruce is the kind of stuff that addresses deep fatigue. If you’re in need of a hug, you might use our Cedar Smoke perfume, it’s just so comforting.

 What sets your brand apart?

I think people find us when their skin is in freak-out mode. We’re known for a less is more approach to skincare and a lot of companies use beautiful ingredients, but a lot of them. When you’re using that many you lose track of what could be irritating your skin.

Our ingredient lists are fairly short for the most part. We’re really trying to choose things that are necessary and wonderful for your skin, but nothing more.

I think the fact that I’m a physician sets us apart as a brand because I bring an understanding of human health and wellness and all the ways in which various conditions in your life can show up on your skin. I wanted to ask the why and go into it with people and also charge them with the responsibility to contribute to their own health.

 

“STOP PRETENDING THAT WHAT YOU’RE PUTTING ON YOUR SKIN ISN’T AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH OR THE HEALTH OF THE ENVIRONMENT.”

 

Steroid creams are commonly used to treat various skin conditions. What’s your view on the effectiveness and long-term impacts of this approach?

Yes, medicine loves to treats rashes with steroids.  So unfortunately that is doing a lot of harm to people because it makes them better and makes them believe in the power of steroid. While there are a couple of conditions where steroids can help, like if you have poison ivy in your eye you should treat it with steroids because it can affect your vision long term. But there are very few examples of this so unless it’s a really serious steroid indicated situation, its really not a great choice, because it makes you think steroids are the only thing that can fix this and it also causes terrible rebound when you stop using it. It’ll quiet the symptoms but as soon as you stop taking them, your symptoms will go through the roof again because you haven’t removed the cause of the rash, so it’s tough. 

Do you have a favorite product in the line?

That’s tough. That’s like asking me which child or dog I prefer and that’s really hard because I love them all so much.

For me it’s probably the Black Clay Facial Soap because it was one of the first products I developed out my need to heal from perioral dermatitis. There are over 600 reviews of this soap on our site and all of them are like “this soap saved my skin.” So to know it’s helped that many people makes it wear a teeny tiny cape in my mind.

As a busy entrepreneur, mother, and dog owner, how do you cultivate self-love?  

I have lots of people and creatures who depend on me, so my time is in short supply most days. But I take care of myself in two major ways: I make time for physical activity most days, usually outside, and I really cherish my Osmia moments, which nourish my body and my senses. 

What makes you feel beautiful and confident? 

A freshly washed face and a pair of jeans.

What is the next step for Osmia Organics? 

We’re focused on continuing our packaging updates, working with retail partners who share our passion and our ethics, and building a great online platform for education and inspiration about how to choose health and joy in your daily life. 

Keep up with Sarah on the Osmia Organics Instagram feed.