Carlsbad Celebrates Women-Led Companies During Women’s Small Business Month

October 20, 2022

Mamma Chia and Preemadonna are just two of the growing, innovative, women-led businesses in Carlsbad. 

Women-owned businesses make up a growing number of companies in Carlsbad and across the country, and the growth of women-owned businesses shows no signs of slowing.

In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, 50 years later, there are more than 13 million women-owned businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Companies owned and operated by women have made a lasting impact on the economy. In fact, in 2019, women-owned businesses represented 42% of all U.S. businesses and generated $1.9 trillion worth of revenue, according to the SBA. In San Diego County, women-owned businesses make up 36% of the small business community — and many are located here in Carlsbad and North County.

In celebration of October being National Women’s Small Business Month, we are highlighting two of the many thriving women-owned businesses in Carlsbad: Mamma Chia and Preemadonna.

Janie Hoffman, Mamma Chia

Janie Hoffman started Mamma Chia in her kitchen while incorporating chia seeds into her diet to help address long-standing health issues.

“I literally fell in love with the magic of these small but mighty seeds,” recalled Hoffman, founder and CEO of Mamma Chia. “Chia is not only incredibly nutrient dense, it also has a delightful texture when hydrated that makes for fun and tasty drinks and snacks.”

Janie Hoffman started Mamma Chia in her kitchen. The company offers nutrient-rich, organic chia-based foods and beverages. (Credit: Gail Bowman Photography)

In the summer of 2009, Hoffman founded Mamma Chia. The company offers nutrient-rich, organic chia-based foods and beverages.

Mamma Chia initially launched its products in natural and organic food stores such as Jimbo’s Naturally, Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market, but eventually expanded into supermarket chains and big-box retail stores, including Albertsons, Ralphs, Costco and Walmart.

“It quickly became a wild ride, but one well worth the heartache and heavy lifting that often accompanies building something new,” Hoffman said. “And we continue to create first-of-its-kind products.”

Hoffman credits the company’s successes to its commitment to conscious and sustainable values. Mamma Chia is not only a certified women-owned business, but the company is also a Certified B Corporation and member of 1% for the Planet.

“We are sincerely dedicated to doing good every step of the way and uplifting both the soul of humanity and the soul of the planet,” Hoffman said. “As a Certified B-Corp from the beginning, the rigorous certification continues to measure our entire social and environmental impact. And as a 1% for the Planet member, a portion of every Mamma Chia purchase goes toward supporting environmental nonprofits. We are helping to redefine success in business and using business as a force for good.”

Mamma Chia is headquartered in Carlsbad, where Hoffman said the City’s “positive energy and coastal vibe” are a “perfect fit” for the company. Plus, the community has always been supportive.

“I strongly believe that women-owned and led businesses in Carlsbad are essential for the health and well-being of our community,” Hoffman said. “As a certified women-owned business, Mamma Chia is better equipped to be a part of businesses leading the movement for a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy. The Carlsbad community continues to support our perpetual growth as a company that benefits us all. We are deeply grateful for Carlsbad’s support!”

Pree Walia, Preemadonna

Pree Walia started Preemadonna years ago in her apartment in San Francisco. The company’s flagship product is Nailbot, an at-home nail art printing system.

The Nailbot product line was a decade in the making.

“I was a young woman with a vision and the reluctant foresight to know that I was likely ahead of my time, and that I needed to persevere as long as possible for the product and market to fit,” said Walia, founder and CEO of Preemadonna and lead inventor of Nailbot.

“Over the years, my vision to enter the market with a smart at-home nail and body care device has not shifted,” she added. “The way in which we penetrate the market and the exact feature set of the early Nailbots has evolved as we’ve gathered more data points, moved through product development, ran experiments with social campaigns or early product crowdfunding.”

Preemadonna relocated to Carlsbad in 2021, in time for the company’s transition to manufacturing. Walia said the company’s early contract manufacturer is based in Carlsbad, as well as its third-party logistics partner, which handles the final kitting and shopping of Nailbot.

Preemadonna’s flagship product is Nailbot, an at-home nail art printing system. (Photo courtesy of Preemadonna)

The first Nailbots were shipped to crowdfunding backers and organic social creators in late 2021 and throughout 2022.

“There is a broad array of manufacturing partners, co-working spaces, and relevant logistics providers that are located in Carlsbad, so it made moving here a no-brainer for us,” Walia said. “In fact, at one time our entire team lived together in rental houses in both Carlsbad and Oceanside.”

Walia said that Carlsbad and the Greater San Diego Area has been a great place to do business. Not long after moving to the area, she joined Startup San Diego’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, where she met other entrepreneurs, investors and advocates in the tech ecosystem.  

“I love the San Diego community to bring a product like Nailbot to life and build our broader vision for Preemadonna,” Walia said. “I lived in the Bay Area for close to a decade before moving down here. Our entire team finds more work-life balance here, and we are also able to get more physical space and manufacturing partners in Southern California. It’s been a welcoming community.”

The future is bright for Preemadonna, and the company’s mission is what keeps Walia going, she said.

“Our mission at Preemadonna is to power creative expression through fun, interactive products and experiences,” Walia said. “We have a unique opportunity to train, engage and inspire young people that are makers, artists, hackers, coders — all while building interactive hardware and software experiences with and for them. Our long-term perspective is that Preemadonna embodies smart beauty in both our products and our consumers — who are co-creators with us.”

Mamma Chia and Preemadonna are just two of the many women-owned businesses in Carlsbad. The impact of women in business is clear, with the City’s downtown streets lined with businesses of all kinds that are owned and operated by women.

“Carlsbad is a wonderful and welcoming place to do business,” said Matt Sanford, economic development manager for the City of Carlsbad. “Mamma Chia, Preemadonna and other women-owned businesses greatly enrich our community and are vital for the local economy.”