Meet Three Female Entrepreneurs Taking Charge in Carlsbad

October 22, 2021

Women-owned businesses make up a growing portion of San Diego County’s small business community—a whopping 36% – and several are concentrated in North County. Carlsbad offers plenty to sway incoming talent and new industries, but it also nurtures the homegrown businesses that are thriving under the helm of women. We’re introducing three of these leaders who are building Carlsbad’s growing community of women-owned businesses.

Xenia Mateiu (Left), Stephanie Barneburg (Center) Alexandra Renée Poelstra (Right)

Xenia Mateiu, Village Rock Shop

You don’t have to be spiritual to find something to love in Village Rock Shop, the premier purveyor of crystals, dreamcatchers, jewelry and other metaphysical goods in the heart of Carlsbad Village. The otherworldly shop, founded and owned by Xenia Mateiu, is a treasure trove for feel-good items and trinkets that help customers explore and transcend.

But the inspiration for the shop was much more tangible. Mateiu worked in the industry and discovered a need for greater transparency and quality when it came to selling crystals. Crystals have outshone diamonds in demand, as consumers opt for natural stones and gems for both jewelry and their energetic properties. Mateiu opened Village Rock Shop in 2018 with the idea to take a quality over quantity approach, and source goods from local artisans. 

“I wanted to create a gift shop that is approachable and can cater to a lot of different types of people,” Mateiu said. “We have things for customers who have never dabbled in crystals as well as unique and rare stones for people who are growing their collection. We also have items that just make great gifts — candles, handmade soaps, local honey. Everyone is welcome.”

Xenia Mateiu, owner of Village Rock Shop

The Carlsbad community adores the Village Rock Shop, and the Carlsbad Village Association has been a tremendous help to supporting local business owners, especially during the pandemic, Mateiu shares.

“During the pandemic, we expanded our eCommerce capabilities and the success of that move not only allowed us to stay in business, but we are now able to expand our store within the Village,” she said.“The customers and Carlsbad business liaisons have been with us along the way and we’re grateful to be in this welcoming community.”

The Village Rock Shop just finished a refined patio and invested in a beautiful garden created by Chris Bany to make the location more visible and to host outdoor events

Stephanie Barneburg, Sparkle Freshness

Stephanie Barneburg, owner of the eco-friendly commercial cleaning company Sparkle Freshness, hasn’t let the gender gap of her sector slow her down. Sparkle Freshness grew from Barneburg’s frustration with the lack of “green” cleaning options around her. With a premature baby home from the NICU, Barneburg didn’t want to take any chances with her cleaning products and started doing her own research into eco-friendly cleaning practices. Years later, she now provides commercial businesses and offices the same insight into the benefit of green cleaning.

Stephanie Barneburg, founder of Sparkle Freshness

“When I was bringing my baby home, I looked at the ingredients in our cleaning products and found that everyone had toxic ingredients,” Barneburg said. “I ended up throwing out about thirteen bottles of product and it was an eye opener for me and my husband about the types of products we want to use in our home.”

Many Sparkle Freshness clients were shocked to learn the differences, too. 

“Many Carlsbad businesses seek us out because we use clean ingredients, but we also have clients who are skeptical about the potency of the products we use,” Barneburg said. “But once they see that vinegar and baking soda is just as effective — and safer — than bleach, we’re not only helping them ensure a clean and safe working environment, but we’re educating people to adopt these changes in their businesses and their homes.”

Sparkle Freshness provides office cleaning, hospital-grade COVID-19 cleaning, and post-construction cleaning services

Barneburg, who has lived in Carlsbad for 16 years, said it was a “no-brainer” to open her company in the city, which has “been thriving and the economic environment is unmatched.”

Alexandra Renée Poelstra, ALL MAVEN

Women are underrepresented in business because they are often the primary caretakers at home. Women are expected to juggle multiple priorities to have it all, and Alexandra Renée Poelstra, founder of ALL MAVEN, has the juggling act down. 

Alexandra Renée Poelstra, THE MAVEN of ALL MAVEN and several other organizations

Poelstra first founded ALL MAVEN as a creative agency to help companies reach success from start to finish. Whether a company is in ideation phase, or looking to rebrand after 10 years, ALL MAVEN has a team of experts to help. The agency has now transitioned into ALL MAVEN Enterprise, which umbrellas several companies and brands. With the creative agency now under the Lex Jameson name, Poelstra is widening ALL MAVEN’s reach into several sectors, including software, technology and retail.

“ALL MAVEN expanded so much that I was able to use my expertise and spearhead other companies that I felt could succeed in the market,” Poelstra said. “Whatever the need is, I will find a way to make a business venture around it. From a fun men’s underwear brand to an impactful nonprofit resource center, I started as a business owner, but at heart, I am a serial entrepreneur.”

Alexandra Renée Poelstra is a sought-after speaker and thought leader

Poelstra is also the co-director of Startup Grind Carlsbad, a Google for Entrepreneurs initiative that connects business owners and entrepreneurs in the startup community to learn from each other. She said Carlsbad has remained a hot-spot for entrepreneurs because of everything it offers.

“Carlsbad is on the top 10 list for so many things,” Poelstra said. “It has a strong business climate, it’s amazing for tech companies, but it still has that small town feel and big city amenities.”

Several resources for female entrepreneurs and women owned businesses exist in Carlsbad and San Diego County, including:

“Carlsbad has cemented itself as a wonderful place to do business, but we also want to be sure we are a city that supports historically underserved populations, such as women and BIPOC,” said Matt Sanford, economic development manager for the City of Carlsbad. “Our women-owned businesses are enriching the community and we hope the concentration of female entrepreneurs continues to grow in Carlsbad.”