Imagine an innovative entrepreneur in the skincare and beauty industry, and an ER physician might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, that’s exactly the kind of woman who is behind Osmia Organics: Dr. Sarah Villafranco.
Taking a compassionate bedside manner to a new preventative level, we caught up with Dr. Villafranco to find out what prompted her unexpected career change and to learn more about the beautiful, life-enriching vision she hopes to communicate to her consumers. Plus, read on to below to find out how to win a stash of Osmia products for yourself!
Darling Magazine: In one sentence, what is the mission of Osmia Organics?
Dr. Villafranco: Osmia’s mission is to inspire you — through our products and the way we live our own lives — to nurture yourself and help protect the earth’s resources. We want to nudge you to return to your senses, reminding you to touch, hear, smell, taste, and feel the incredible beauty of your own life.
We want to nudge you to return to your senses, reminding you to touch, hear, smell, taste, and feel the incredible beauty of your own life.
DM: Already established as a physician, what gave you the push to change career gears and start your own business? Were there certain things you were limited in doing because of your practice?
Dr. Villafranco: It wasn’t a sudden or terribly premeditated transition. I always loved medicine and felt very privileged to be able to care for people in hugely stressful, often very intimate, situations. But two things made me uneasy about today’s practice of medicine. The first was the amount of time I spent doing things other than medicine – the hours of charting, the insurance paperwork, and, sadly, worrying about getting sued in an increasingly litigious culture.
The second, and more important, was seeing so many people who were not taking the most basic steps to improve their health – eating well, exercising, and managing stress. I wanted to find a way to inspire these fundamental choices, and that was hard to do in a time-pressured ER setting. The nurses would just shake their heads when they heard me talking to an ankle sprain patient about smoking cessation, yoga, and lavender essential oil.
DM: If you could do things over again, what would you do differently? (In career and/or life?)
Dr. Villafranco: Actually, not much. I loved the time I spent in the ER, and it led me to create Osmia, which is exactly the type of medicine I have always wanted to practice. I married an amazing guy, and we moved to the mountains of Colorado, where we are raising our two daughters, among wonderful friends and family.
If there is one thing I wish I had done, it would be to talk about death with my mom before she passed. My own fear and denial of her imminent death prevented me from asking her about her fears, from learning what that stage of her life felt like. I wish I could go back and let her share that now.
DM: How does your medical background play into what you produce? Are you better able to anticipate consumer wants because of your healthcare knowledge?
Dr. Villafranco: Some of our products were inspired by my own trouble with a skin condition called perioral dermatitis, which made me vastly more aware of how frustrating skin situations can be. Many dermatologists just throw steroids and antibiotics at patients, without considering the possible underlying causes like diet, stress, and chemical sensitivities. My experience as a doctor with my own skin issues has allowed me to help lots of people work through what might be causing their problems.
I’m not sure that I can anticipate consumer wants because of my medical background, but I am able to educate people about healthy choices, and people who make informed decisions are probably more likely to choose brands like Osmia.
DM: What needs do you see in the beauty industry that Osmia products can help fill? Which product are you most excited about?
Dr. Villafranco: The beauty industry should be about helping us feel beautiful and live our lives beautifully. So much marketing, money, and effort goes toward simply “looking younger”, and it results in people feeling sad and shameful about their wrinkles as they age. Since time is the one thing we can’t stop, it seems like we might put more energy into aging beautifully. So, while our products have tons of powerful anti-aging ingredients, my focus is more about reminding you to spend time nourishing yourself and the many ways in which you can access your deepest, most meaningful beauty — a type of beauty unaffected by time.
The beauty industry should be about helping us feel beautiful and live our lives beautifully.
I’m excited about ALL of our products, of course, but our body oils are especially powerful to me because they can replace body lotions, which are often packed with chemicals and get slathered over a huge surface area of your skin. Our body oil line (eight scents, and three more coming in 2015) is evocative and sensual: once you make the switch, the oils become a much anticipated, incredibly enriching part of your daily ritual.
DM: What dreams do you have for Osmia?
Dr. Villafranco: I hope to keep growing our little company, and our amazing Osmia team. I love that Osmia creates meaningful jobs in our small Colorado community, and how we all work together to make each other shine. I hope we can widen our audience, creating new customers while retaining our current ones. I’d love to see us continue to grow as an online community via our blog and social media feeds, where people can learn about a variety of topics and be inspired to live their healthiest, happiest lives.
DM: What is one thing you wish more women knew about their bodies?
Dr. Villafranco: That it’s an absurdly powerful machine. Our bodies are literally responsible for the continuation of the species. It’s totally mind-boggling. Having had two babies – two humans that I grew inside my belly and pushed out into the world – makes me remember that I am strong and capable, and those thoughts help me on days when I need a boost.
Want to discover Osmia for yourself? See below for ways to score a secret stash of Osmia organic soaps developed in partnership with Colorado-based, Rume! (Retail value $49) Contest open until midnight PST 3/15/15!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Images provided by Osmia Organics