Sarah Villafranco uses her senses for Osmia Organics

Emergency room doc Sarah Villafranco always relied on instinct to help make life or death decisions in a fraction of a second. “When you’re in the moment, you know exactly what to do,” she says. “You get it done almost without having to think.”

What she didn’t know was how to navigate the loss of her mother to pancreatic cancer seven years ago and the ensuing personal reflection that revealed that the high-stakes, fast-moving world of modern medicine wasn’t truly meant for her.

A striking mother of two, with long, dark hair and palpable energy, Villafranco found renewed direction in an unlikely place, a soap-making class at Rock Bottom Ranch in Basalt. Here, the Eastern-thinking Western physician matched her academic passion for chemistry and medicine with an inner desire to help people by providing moments of healing and restoration every day.

She began making small batches of handcrafted skincare products, which eventually turned into a line of soaps, tea baths, salt baths, milk baths, body oils, hand cream, lip products, face cream, and perfumes. Luxurious wild and organic ingredients were the foundation of her new venture, called Osmia, which at its root means “sense of smell.”

“Every smell here has evocative power,” she says, as she welcomes me into her retail store and lab on Dolores Way in Carbondale. “There is a quote by Helen Keller that says, ‘Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.’ That’s how I feel. I help people when they come into this store by connecting them to something inside themselves that they might not even know.”

The store has an unassuming façade, draped in imagery of wild summer lupine and a sole hummingbird, which also inspired the line’s branding. The air inside is perfumed by the dozens of products displayed along the length of the wall. Handmade soaps in different colors and textures, akin to mounds of gelato, ripple across sleek shelves. Facial products that clean, restore, and moisturize are made with natural and organic ingredients, botanical extracts, and oils, and contain such active components such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. All are distinctly packaged and displayed. In the back sit a perfumery station and lab, where unique offerings such as the cream-based aspen walnut microscrub, with organic walnut hulls, rhassoul clay, and exfoliating aspen bark extract are created.

The luxurious feel, smell, and composition of Villafranco’s skincare products make Osmia Organics distinctive in a market saturated with mass-produced organic bodycare lines. She only uses the highest quality ingredients, such as lavender picked from her own garden, organic plant oil, and wild mango butter, and scents with organic or wild-crafted essential oils. Nothing artificial ever touches the skin.

“This is about younger looking, more beautiful skin,” says Villafranco. “It’s about taking that one moment every day. Just stop, smell, taste, and slow down life.” Osmia Organics, 2607 Dolores Way, Carbondale, 970-510- 6610

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