- ROYVI HERNANDEZ
Elevating Wellness with Malaya Botanicals
Malaya Botanicals, a Filipina-owned wellness and beauty company in Alameda, is on a mission to de-stigmatize cannabis and empower women of color to take their health and self-care into their own hands. From essential oils to hair and beauty products, its cannabidiol (CBD) infused products aim to alleviate stress, soothe pain, and relax the mind and body.
"We are a hemp-derived CBD company. The ones you see at a dispensary are cannabis-derived," Founder Pia Barton said. "The difference between the two is that the cannabis plant has a much higher [tetrahydrocannabinol] level which is a compound as a psychoactive part. Some of our products have THC but less than 3 percent."
Barton founded Malaya Botanicals after sustaining an injury as a triathlete in 2018. She tried different remedies and prescriptions available to ease the pain. Nothing worked until a friend suggested a CBD-infused cream, thus inspiring Barton to establish a company that centers on holistic wellness and specializes in hemp-derived CBD products.
"It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done," Barton said. "Being a woman of color, I wasn't always treated fairly as a marketing consultant for the tech and real estate industry. Having my own business, I am now free from that toxic environment."
Owning a small business within the cannabis industry has its challenges. High taxes and fees combined with insufficient aid for retailers make operations costly. For Barton, being in the industry takes resilience, flexibility, and, above all, passion.
Malaya Botanicals has grown over the past year, vending at over 300 markets in 2021 alone. It was the first and only CBD company at Bottle Rock Festival and Outside Lands and has since become an approved Live Nation vendor. Today, customers can find Malaya products in Hawaii and 15 stores throughout the Bay Area.
"Malaya is evolving from not just wellness products but wellness services as well," Barton said. "We're going to start putting together wellness activations in various types of events and retreats for BIPOC."
At the core of Malaya Botanicals is community. As a small business owner, Barton is grateful for her staff and encourages them to use their talents and creativity for tasks that bring them joy.