Congratulations to Mama’s Canine Mix, a finalist for Home Based Business of the Year! Check out all of the finalists here. These responses are written by Mary Hayes, owner of the business.
Tell us the story of your business/nonprofit and how it’s evolved.
The story of Mama’s Canine Mix is a testament to entrepreneurship, a love for pets, and the power of community engagement. It started with the desire to do something special for two new puppy rescues, Nyla and T’Challa. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself with some extra time on my hands and began creating homemade meals for our dogs. We posted our delicious and nutritious meals on social media, and pet lovers inquired.
As the interest grew, so did the demand from people who wanted to order our pet meals. Our entrepreneurial journey began with extensive research and planning. I had to define the brand, know my customer to determine what products to offer, and find the best ways to serve the needs of canine customers.
In 2023, Mama’s Canine Mix expanded its offerings to include dry food toppers, sprinkles, treats, mixers, and spreads, providing a wide range of options for pet parents looking to provide the best for their dogs. We also took a leap of faith with the launch of “Mama’s Home Collection,” an introduction of pet-friendly candles, shampoo bars, and paw balm to offer holistic care for dogs, further catering to the well-being of our customers’ furry family members.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your team?
What sets our team apart is the dedication to constant evolution. We prioritize the quality of our products and, in that pursuit, personally visit farms, meet farmers, research ingredients, and manufacture our own products. We embrace consumer suggestions and actively seek ways to improve, all with the goal of ensuring that our products provide a better and more enjoyable eating experience for pets, whether they are finicky, picky, or dealing with age or health issues. Today, our fresh real food pet toppers are the cornerstone of the business because we provide pet parents with a convenient and nutritious solution to enhance their pets’ meals. The commitment to ingredient integrity remained paramount from day one, with a dedication to providing chemical-free, additive-free, preservative-free, and hormone-free food. I personally have tasted or used everything we create. Which led to our slogan “human tasted…dog-approved”.
In what ways do you give back to the Loudoun community?
Beyond our business operations, we also give back to the Loudoun community in several meaningful ways. I created a Facebook group called “Minding My Black Owned Business” to support black women and men business owners in Loudoun County. The group provides information, networking events, and support systems to its members.
In addition, I provide local businesses samples for their clients with pets, and I established a VIP loyalty program for Mama’s Canine Mix customers. I have been known to be active when it comes to politics.
What would it mean to you and your business to win a Small Business Award?
Winning a Small Business Award would be a significant milestone for Mama’s Canine Mix, especially as we recently celebrated our first year in business. It would serve as a symbol of recognition and acceptance as a serious small business owner in the Loudoun community, further solidifying our presence and impact in Loudoun.
Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
My parents have been a profound influence in my life. My mom instilled in me life by taking chances and pursuing my dreams. My mom said to me, “Honey, later in life, you do not want to wish you would have tried”. Winning this award would be a testament to her support and the values my parents passed down to me.
As a child, I aspired to be a veterinarian. I had an early passion for animals and their well-being. Though my career path took a different turn, I love animals particularly elephants, and pandas. My love for canines is evident in the work we put into Mama’s Canine Mix every day.
If you’re not in the office, where can we find you/what is another passion you have?
Mama’s Canine Mix products are available on our website at www.mamascaninemix.com/store. We are launching our subscription-based service where every month your pet can receive our delicious toppers and treats. In addition, you can find our products at several locations visit www.mamascaninemix.com/events to find out where we will pop-up next.
How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?
Looking ahead to the next five years, I envision Mama’s Canine Mix growing significantly. We plan to have a team of three employees, and expand our presence on multiple social media ecommerce platforms and stores. The goal is to become a larger manufacturing company, producing our own brand from creation to packaging, further cementing our position as a trusted name in the pet food industry locally and abroad.
Mama’s Canine Mix is a heartwarming story of turning passion into a thriving business, rooted in love for dogs, community engagement, and a commitment to quality and innovation.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook: @mamascaninemix
Check out Mama’s Canine Mix website here.