Mamava Founders Named VT Small Business Persons of the Year

Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The owners of a Burlington company were named the 2018 Vermont Small Business Persons of the Year Monday. Mamava owners in front of a Mamava lactation suite. Photo by Matthew Thorsen

Sascha Mayer and Christine Dodson of Mamava are being recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration for employment growth, financial success, expansion and community involvement.  Mamava designs and manufactures free-standing lactation suites for nursing mothers.

The idea for Mamava came to light in 2006 after Mayer read an article in the New York Times about the difficulties many nursing mothers face when they return to work. At the time she was a nursing mother who could relate to the challenges mothers face sometimes having to pump breastmilk in bathrooms, cars and other undesirable locations. Dodson, Mayer’s co-worker at JDK Design, had experienced the same difficulties. They decided there had to be a better way and the idea for Mamava was hatched.

For several years, Mamava was mostly just an idea, lovingly incubated at the design studio where Mayer and Dodson continued to be employed full-time. It wasn’t officially established until 2013 when Mamava placed the first prototype in Burlington International Airport. The first two years was a bit of a struggle as many startups are in those infant years. 

However in 2015 Mamava really started to take off. Since then the company has tripled its sales and placed 435 suites in airports, stadiums, convention centers, hospitals, schools, zoos and private businesses throughout the U.S.

The company hired its first full-time employee in 2015, obtained an SBA microloan from Community Capital of Vermont and won the 2015 InnovateHER VT Challenge.

Today the company has 16 full-time and three part-time employees and expects to hire six more full-time employees in 2018.

Active in the community, Mayer and Dodson donate to the Vermont Women's Fund, Girls Nite Out, and are members of the Main Street Alliance. Mamava has partnered with other organizations to donate lactation suites to airports, a zoo, a school and a public health department.

“Christine and I were thrilled to receive the official letter from the SBA regarding our selection as the Vermont Small Business Person of the Year.  However there is more than one person involved in this business. Mamava owes its success to many people. We would not be here without investors, family, friends and our incredible staff,” said Mayer.

Mayer and Dodson will be presented their award during the 2018 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony cohosted by Vermont Business Magazine in June. The ceremony is open to the public and registration will be available in May.

“Sascha and Christine are very deserving of this award. They have taken a passion and turned it into a thriving business selling hundreds of Mamava pods across the U.S.” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Office Director.

Mamava and the Small Business Person of the Year winners from each state have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C. April 29 to 30. During this time they will be honored with their individual award along with the naming of the 2018 National Small Business Person of the Year. 

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