Behind the Brand: Sarah Villafranco//Osmia Organics
Posted on March 14 2019
Osmia Organics delivers high quality products that work - Ingredient integrity is at the the heart of each of its formulations. The products are lovingly made with exceptional natural, organic and luxurious ingredients that are consciously-sourced, even if they are expensive. Every Osmia product is made with utmost attention to the scent and its aromatherapeutic benefits, and in a way represents a reminder to be present and return to our senses. We wanted to get to the heart of Osmia Organics via its founder, Sarah Villafranco, and below is what we learned:
How did you start and learn out how to run a green beauty business, especially because you come from a medical background - these are worlds apart!
I wish I had a clear answer for this, but I don’t! I took a class making cold-process soap, and it flipped a switch in my brain. I spent almost three years developing our line of organic soaps and expanded the line to include skincare, bath products, and natural perfumes. I had ZERO business experience, but I’m a quick study and my passion could not be contained. I have definitely learned a lot on the fly, including how to be a better leader myself. I think if you have a true mission, a great team, and the ability to make clear decisions, you’ve got most of the tools you need to run a business.
What sets you apart from other brands in a similar category?
My background in medicine is a fairly substantial difference, I’d say. It allowed me to start developing products from a place of rich education and understanding about human health. Our business is not about looking younger or being prettier: it is about helping you tap into your greatest sense of wellness as you navigate your time on earth, and that’s far more meaningful to me as a health care provider than telling you I’ll make your crow’s feet disappear.
What or who is your inspiration for your brand?
She doesn’t even know Osmia exists, but I’d have to say my mom was the inspiration for the brand. She died in 2007 at the age of 64, which made me intensely aware of the delicate and finite nature of our lives. Her death brought immense grief, of course, but also great clarity: if I don’t spend this life making what feels like my greatest possible contribution, then I’m wasting it. Her love of luxury skincare products and watercolor paintings have also been influences in the brand’s evolution. If only she could try the products, I’m sure she’d be our biggest fan!
Where and how do you source ingredients?
From all over the world, but only from suppliers I trust. We support organic farming as much as possible and pay close attention to sustainability issues across the industry to ensure we are enabling the safest, most conscious harvesting practices. We are also aware of the spectrum of quality across natural ingredients - just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s of exceptional quality - so we maintain strict quality standards with our trusted suppliers.
More and more people suffer from adverse skin conditions, do you think natural green beauty products help in these cases and why?
It depends on the issue! A huge number of skin issues are caused by stress and diet, so those things always need to be assessed thoroughly before anything else. I think skin allergies and sensitivities are rising precipitously because of irritants like sodium lauryl sulfate in mainstream personal care and household products, so switching to an SLS-free line can be helpful. But if you’re allergic to lavender or geranium, even a perfectly green product could contain those ingredients, and you’d still react to it. In general, I think fewer ingredients are usually better for the skin: there are not as many things to react to, and it is easier to figure out the problem if you do experience an adverse skin condition.
Your products are luxurious and effective yet economical - was this a conscious decision?
Definitely. I started the business because I wanted to share these formulations, made with nature’s most luxurious ingredients, with more people than just my family and friends. We have always tried to keep prices in the right spot - where we can continue pay for the highest quality raw materials and afford to keep growing, but our customers still feel the investment makes sense.
Few of your favorite products from your brand that are dear to your heart:
Our Black Clay Facial Soap is our best-selling product, and I’ve used it every day for nine years now. It helped settle down a longstanding case of perioral dermatitis, and has since helped loads of others with similar skin concerns.
Our Spotless Treatment is critical to keep at arm’s length. The moment I feel a zit trying to make an appearance, I start dabbing it on a few times a day. The zit almost always changes its mind.
Lip Doctor is the product I use most often. There’s a tube in every bag, on my desk, in my car, and I completely spaz out if I can’t find one.
Fun facts about Sarah:
One non-Osmia product you can't live without?
W3LL PEOPLE Biotint - I add it to my moisturizer for a little sun protection and a bit of extra glow.
Your spirit animal and why?
I think I’m a cross between a border collie (see my Insta feed), and a great blue heron - it just depends on the day.
Favorite way to unwind / favorite self-care technique?
Either a long slow run or a long slow bath. I love running because it’s solitary and I can do what I need to do in my head while moving my body and creating endorphins that make me feel happy and alive. But, some days I need to slip into a bath and read an amazing book.
The best compliment you received from someone regarding Osmia?
My favorite thing to hear from our customers is this: “I barely wear makeup anymore because I finally feel confident in my own skin.” We should all feel good in our own skin, shouldn’t we? Nothing makes me happier than helping someone achieve that simple (yet often elusive) goal.
Would you ever go back to the medical profession?
I don’t think I’d go back to a pure western-medicine practice. I feel that I’m practicing my own brand of medicine now - a unique blend of nature, luxury, science, and common sense. I miss some things about medicine, but I think I’m helping more people feel better now than I ever did in the ER.
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