“I’m Emily Held, the founder and owner of Mamas Medicinals. I make skincare and bodycare products
that help rejuvenate your skin and feel your best naturally.”
Born into a large and loving family in rural Northern California, Emily’s childhood was spent off the grid on a ranch. Her mom was passionate about the wild plants that grew on the property and took Emily along when she collected them in order to make drinks and potions for her family. Her mom’s passion ignited a spark in Emily and both she and her mom decided to further their innate knowledge and instincts by attending an herbal school, although at different times. At the time Emily was in herbal school, her daughter was suffering from eczema so Emily gathered together herbs that she knew to have anti-inflammatory properties and created a healing salve that successfully cured her daughter’s skin condition. The salve is formulated with eight herbs and five essential oils and it’s antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial.
She shared the salve with friends and family and its success in helping people inspired her to formalize her business and create Mamas Medicinals.
The business began as a family project around the kitchen table. The first task was to find a name and after throwing a lot of ideas in the air, Emily fixed on Mamas Medicinals. She started with one product, the healing salve, and now has a dozen products ranging from salves to toners to bath salts. The products were originally made, bottled, and labeled at the family home but Emily now has a facility at her Ukiah retail location.
Emily was a small business novice. As she said wryly, “I thought if you had a great product, it would sell itself.” In 2016, after being in business for five years, Emily leased a retail outlet on North State Street in Ukiah. She quickly realized that she needed help from West Center to strategize what her business could be. Emily says, “I was super relieved to realize that we have this resource in Mendocino County. It was so easy to work with West. They would answer my phone calls and they had a business plan template that I was able to get working on right away. They got me launched into the whole world of business… something that I’d been looking for.” A West advisor worked with one-on-one with Emily to create a plan for her business that enabled her to fix her price points, advised her on how best to reach out to customers to increase sales, strategized adding a wholesale aspect to her business, as well as an online and brick and mortar retail business. “West has an advisor for pretty much anything you need related to business. Advisors have helped me with my books, financials, marketing, and even how to create a successful sales pitch.” The support Emily gets from West frees up her time to invent new products, photograph her inventory for her online store, and work on advertising and promoting her products.
As she says, “One of the coolest parts about West Center is that their services are actually free! Although that can be hard to believe, it’s free because it’s partially funded by the Small Business Administration.”
Emily now has three employees and is looking forward to expanding the placement of her skin and body care lines into more spas and stores and eventually moving to a larger facility.
The biggest mission for Mamas Medicinals is to share the healing salve with anyone who needs it. “For every bottle we sell, we give one away for free. It feels amazing to give the gift of health and wellbeing.”
Whether you’re a new business or have years of practice, contact West Center for expert advice on all aspects of the ins and outs of small business ownership.