Osmia Organics is a skincare company that uses organic ingredients to formulate their products. I first learned about the brand a few months ago, and was immediately impressed with their transparency and product options. They offer a comprehensive line of skincare, bath products, and natural perfumes that are manufactured in small batches in Colorado. I recently spoke with Dr. Sarah Villafranco, the company’s founder, about her approach to skincare, the challenges and rewards of launching a small business, and the gratification of following your passion.
Why did you start Osmia Organics? What specifically made you pursue creating organic products, and how did your medical background play into that?
I started Osmia because of a perfect little storm that happened in my life. I just had my second daughter and lost my mother to cancer, and I was feeling really uncertain about whether I wanted to keep practicing medicine in the emergency room. It was a great job, but I had an unsettled, slightly unfulfilled feeling. When I took a class in soap making, that unsettled part of me settled immediately. Then, using my science and medical background as a launching pad, I taught myself how to make soap and skincare products using ingredients I knew to be safe and healthy (and divinely luxurious).
What makes Osmia unique as a company?
I think having a doctor-formulated line manufactured in small batches by a group of nature-loving Colorado girls who are passionate about luxury skin care and adamant about non-toxic ingredients, topped with eco-conscious packaging and a handwritten note in each package makes us unique. Our customers can feel how much we care for them, and about what we do.
Why should people use organic beauty products? We all know that organic is better — but why?
I’m not here to preach specifically that people should or shouldn’t use organic products. What I hope is that people will educate themselves about the detrimental effects of so many skincare ingredients on human and environmental health, and make choices that will lead to improved health for themselves and the planet. The nice thing about using organic products (especially from a reputable company) is that they have often done some of the research for you. It’s a good shortcut, and you know the raw materials are not pesticide-laden. But, it’s better to educate yourself. Even an organic product can contain phenoxyethanol, for example, which is a petroleum product. If you’re trying to avoid using petroleum based products, you wouldn’t necessarily eliminate them by choosing “organic.”
What is your favorite product in your lineup?
Ugh. I can’t. I just can’t! I use the Black Clay Facial Soap, Active Gel Toner, Purely Simple Face Cream, Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair, and Body Oil every single day. Oh, and the soaps. All of the soaps. Does that narrow it down?
Keep reading for more on Dr. Villafranco’s business approach and a little helpful advice.
How does your environment inspire you?
In every way, really. It keeps me humble, inspires my senses, reminds me to care for the earth, and makes me want to be as alive as possible while I’m here!
You appear to be 100% honest about your products, packaging, and business practices on your website. Why is transparency important to you?
Transparency is important to me because I want people to learn and understand. Without the right education, people can fall into habits that they would probably avoid if they knew the potential effects. My goal is to inform people, so they can make more informed choices. The primary objective, even more than selling product, is getting people to care deeply about themselves, their health, and our habitat. I can’t do that without transparency.
As a small business entrepreneur, did you face any challenges getting Osmia off the ground? What advice would you give to someone looking to launch their own business?
I guess I think of us as still in the “getting off the ground” stage. There is a challenge around almost every corner, but that’s part of being a business owner. I guess the trickiest part is knowing how to grow the business without imploding us. We want to grow, but we want to keep our products top-notch and provide excellent customer service. Finding the right people to join the team is critical, and we have a wonderful crew at the moment. Mostly, with a small business, you have to find people who believe in the mission almost as much as you do, and who are willing to work hard with a big, fat smile!
Image via Osmia Organics