Each week this month, we’re featuring one extraordinary woman who motivates her community as she lives out her life adventures.
We recently caught up with Sarah Villafranco, owner of Osmia Organics, about the dream she’s pursued and the people who’ve encouraged her along the way.
Q: What sparked the idea for Osmia, your organic cosmetic company?
A: I had been practicing emergency medicine for ten years. It was an amazing job, but I wanted to inspire health and happiness on a broader, more basic level. After having my second daughter and losing my mom to cancer at age 64, I reevaluated things. I realized that none of us know how long we have here, and I wanted to do something that both fulfilled me and made a positive impact on my family and the earth. And, right about then, I took a class making soap. It was like a little switch flipped in my brain – I was instantly and utterly obsessed with the combination of hard chemistry with healthy, beautiful self-care rituals. Launching the company was a scary decision, but I never doubted it deep down.
“Even if I were to fail, I would have tried something bold and true, and that still feels right to me.”
Q: Are there any women in your life who have been beside you through this journey (from doctor to business owner)? How have they helped you reach for your dream?
A: I think generations of women are helping me reach for my dream, including my mom, who died before Osmia even existed, and my daughters, who barely remember when I practiced in the ER. My mother was a partner in a DC law firm at a time when women’s needs were not considered the way they are now. While I didn’t like how many hours she worked when I was young, I realize now that she was following her dream and respect how hard she fought to achieve it. That said, I try to remember that my daughters’ childhood years are hurtling past, and I let them inspire me to drop in and enjoy every moment of our lives together when I’m not working. We laugh – a lot.
I also have an incredible core of female friends and colleagues of all ages who form an unshakeable web of inspiration and support – on days when I lose faith in myself, they show up out of nowhere and tip my chin skyward again.
“I also have to mention my husband. When I looked at him and said ‘Hey Babe? I think I want to leave medicine and start an organic skincare company,’ and his response was ‘Huh. Okay, let’s make it happen.’ That’s a #powerofshe kind of guy.”
Q: What is one of your favorite Osmia products and why?
A: The Black Clay Facial Soap is one of my favorite products, and it’s our best-selling item. It’s one of the first soaps I formulated, using Dead Sea Mud and Australian black clay, as well coconut milk, avocado oil, and two kinds of cedarwood essential oil. It’s become a go-to product for a lot of people with skin issues (especially dermatitis): combined with lifestyle modifications like eliminating fluoride and sodium laureth sulfate, it can be very useful to calm the skin.
Q: Tell us three things you’d bring in your backpack for a girls’ adventure weekend.
- My phone, because I love photography – especially when it involves nature, adventure, and people I adore.
- Trail-running shoes, because we will find a trail anywhere we go.
- Lip Doctor for everyone, because having chapped lips when you’re out adventuring is NOT okay. Plus, it’s made with lavender from my property, which adds extra magic.
- You said three. But I’m throwing in a nice bottle of red wine, because a toast will be necessary around the campfire.
Q: How do you embrace change? Or more specifically, how has it empowered you?
A: I think change has taught me how to look for solid ground within myself, rather than under my feet.
“I think of change like the ocean: undeniable, ever-shifting, and potentially too powerful if you’re not in the right place.”
With that in mind, I try to look inward to figure out who I am, who I want to be, and how I can stand strong in that place no matter what is happening all around me. It sure allows me to see the beauty in change when I’m not spending too much energy trying to resist it.
Q: How do you fit workouts into your day, between owning a business and raising two young girls?
A: I just choose it. Exercise is critical to my mental and physical health – it’s what makes me feel capable of managing all the other parts of my life without getting crabby or feeling overwhelmed.
“Endorphin is a word that comes from “endogenous” (from the inside) and “morphine” (pain reliever): it’s not just a buzz word – it’s chemistry, and it really works to increase your energy and boost your mood.”
Plus, Osmia is all about promoting healthy living and choosing joy – I wouldn’t really be walking the walk if I didn’t make it a priority myself!
Sarah lives, works and plays hard in Denver, Colorado. When she heads into the great outdoors on a weekend girls’ trip, her indispensable pant for trail-to-town adventures is the Trekkie Jogger, because of its stretchy, wicking ripstop fabric, streamline fit and secure zip pockets.