Becoming "Oz-mee-uh"

by Sarah Villafranco, MD /

Before moving to Carbondale to join the team at Osmia Organics, my suburban morning runs consisted of dodging goose poop spaced haphazardly around small ponds. The occasional, sour-faced dog walker proved highlight-worthy, and the steady stream of traffic ticked past like a metronome of my frustration with city life. A day on which I managed to run 4 miles without circling the same neighborhood twice was a success. These days, however, I’m in the Rocky Mountain wilderness, chasing down (and sometimes losing to) my freakishly athletic boss. And, while my slight bewilderment about the radical changes in my life is occasionally reminiscent of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it’s free of any heel-clicking desire to go home.

First of all, let me just say I adore my new job. I loved it even on my first day, when my nervousness manifested in awkwardly swollen hands, and the idea of perfectly labeling a body oil bottle nearly sent me into anaphylactic shock. In my first week, I (re-)learned how to recycle, became an expert in effective hand-washing, and found, to my pleasant surprise, that Osmia customers are amazingly gracious, interesting, and appreciative people. Within weeks I had joyfully embraced multiple aspects of the Osmia mindset: love yourself, love life, and love soap with ALL your heart.

It was not all hummus and gluten-free crackers, though. I made a few mistakes. Some were quite forgivable and stemmed directly from the innocence of inexperience. The day I wore Victoria’s Secret lotion to a track workout with the boss, however, was not one of those times. As usual, my legs were white and pasty and I was running late. Still not really sure how body oils worked, I slathered on some of my old lotion instead. When I arrived at the track, Sarah crinkled her nose immediately. From a distance, the scene that unfolded at the track was redolent of a childhood game of tag. On closer examination, though, I was her prey - my synthetic, vanilla stench was the blood in the water that kept her close on my heels. There is only one other time I can remember such a fun game making me flee quite so fearfully: when Jeffery Parker tried to corner me on the playground in 3rd grade because he wanted to kiss me before recess was over.

In the weeks that followed, some workdays began with a suspicious (though well intentioned) “I smell something that’s not Osmia” comment, and I grudgingly submitted to sniff tests. We later identified the imposter as Tide detergent, and I quickly vowed to replace it. I finally tackled my addiction to body lotion by adopting my own Osmia body oil routine in the mornings. Not quite as poetic as Sarah describes, the frantically waving arms and shaking limbs that occur while I wait for the oil to absorb before dressing will definitely come in handy if I’m ever in a lifeboat lost at sea. And, if I ended up on a desert island, my level of distress would be markedly diminished by my recent breakup with makeup. Not that I don’t like to doll it up from time-to-time, but my face, which is quite rosy due to an Irish background and an impressive blush response rate, is much less irritable and far more receptive to an all-natural look since switching to Osmia products. I can also sleep an extra 15 minutes.  Yum.

I have made a few other significant lifestyle changes since joining the team. My water intake has increased just as much as my soda consumption has decreased. I still love coffee and red meat (I did grow up on a ranch), but I’m much more aware of and willing to try new things. For example, when Taja, our Director of Operations, shows up with one of her Cayenne-infused smoothies, I drink it down like a good little Osmia Girl, knowing it will burn a happy, healthy hole right through me, making my eyes water equally with pain and gratitude. The memories of far too many, foolishly eaten corndogs from a past life are finally getting swept away. And I see more clearly, with each passing day, that love, health, and joy are choices to be made, and never, ever to be taken for granted.

As I have transitioned into Osmia Life, our little company has doubled in size. Bursting at the seams, we broke through the wall and slipped on a sophisticated new look. You saw the pictures, right? The expansion has paralleled my own journey, urging me to stand a little straighter, think a little smarter, be a little kinder, and try a little harder.

This time last year, every day was a challenge. My work life was stifled by an overwhelming feeling of restlessness - like a dog at the door needing to go outside. Scratch, scratch, scratch, and an occasional growl. Now, however, I am surrounded by people who love their lives and are willing to work tirelessly to help others find their joy. We have spontaneous dance parties, hug each other daily, laugh loud and often, all while taking our jobs very seriously and doing what it takes to make this company fly.

I have always believed happiness is a choice (I even have a tattoo to prove it). So, I made the choice to embrace my modestly crunchy Colorado self by moving to Carbondale. I reinforce that decision every day by working at Osmia. And, if there’s ever a moment when I forget that happiness is a choice and a privilege, my Osmia team is there to remind me.

And, if you ever need it, we’ll remind you too.


With love and joy from us to you,

Jessica and the Osmia Crew.

Leave a Comment

Great story! So, what do you use now instead of Tide??

Colleen on September 22, 2014

This is freaking awesome. Not surprised Sarah is having a positive effect on your life…she is basically Super Woman in yoga pants.

Wish everyone’s (including my own) job was as challenging and transformative and FUN!

Love from all the Berrys! xo

Hudson Berry on September 22, 2014

“synthetic vanilla stench..” HA! I used to work at Victoria’s Secret many moons ago and that “stench” you speak of is branded into my brain! Anyway, love your story, thank you for sharing. And I LOVE me some Osmia!!!

Andrea G on September 22, 2014