In 3 short years, we’ve become one of the biggest online pharmacies around. But how did it all start and what have we done since then?
Long-term asthma sufferer, Joe, ran out of his inhaler and found himself unable to get a GP appointment. He looked on his phone, found out that it’s possible to order Ventolin online and gave it a try.
When the order turned up the very next day, businessman Joe had a kind of a lightbulb moment and realised there were probably loads of other people, just like him, who needed access to healthcare for when they can’t get to a doctor’s.
Joe turned to his SEO-genius son, Mason, and asked him to build a website and work his magic to get it ranking on Google. Already a young businessman in his own right, Mason jumped at the chance to get his teeth into a new project.
The UK Meds website is born! Having partnered up with a local pharmacy to make sure that orders could be fulfilled, Joe and Mason were surprised to see the very first order pop through only half an hour after launch, while sat watching the news.
This first order for migraine tablets quickly became 23 orders over the course of launch night and the business (which had only launched a matter of hours before) was already showing promising profits.
An employee of UK Meds at the time, Mason continued to optimise the website and it was soon bringing in 100-200 orders a day!
As the business continued to grow and succeed, the two Soiza men made it a family affair and split the shares between Joe and Mason.
The figures were in and UK Meds had officially turned over more than £3 million in the business’ first year!
Having handled all the technology on his own up until this point, Mason was impressed by the skills of someone he met through another business venture and offered him the opportunity to become a part of the UK Meds team. Oliver joined the business as the Chief Technical Officer and began working on implementing new features, improving processes and getting stuck in to a big upcoming project...
The customer service enquiries were getting too much for the partner pharmacy to handle and so UK Meds hired their next staff members! Opening up a small office space in West Bridgford, Nottingham, Joe and Mason onboarded Lisa and Lily who became the dazzling voices that the UK Meds customers heard when they had a problem or query.
The family business ethos that UK Meds was founded on continued in the same fashion, as Joe’s second son, Brett, joined the business. Having worked hard at university for the past 3 years, he graduated and then began contributing to the success that was happening at UK Meds.
Having had the same website for the last couple of years, the tech duo decided it was time for a bit of a redesign and freshened up the website with a brand new look.
As business continued to boom, Joe and Mason decided it was time to bring operations in-house. Opening up a small pharmacy space in the West Bridgford office, they hired a superintendent pharmacist and dispensers, Ash, Kush, Ann, Steve and Chelsie.
UK Meds was booming in the pharmaceutical space but the team wanted someone to appeal to those who didn’t know much about online pharmacies. Enlisting the help of TV favourite, Dr Christian, they produced a number of short videos to explain some common conditions.
Joe has always been an avid sports man, passionate about football and horse racing. He decided to bring the two worlds together and UK Meds began sponsoring the Charlie Fellowes stable and talented jockey, Stevie Donohoe.
Turnover figures for the business’ second year were over £7.2 million and fearing the small team might drown in paperwork and receipts, they started hunting for a Finance Manager. Philippa was hired on the spot and began to bring some order and organisation to the UK Meds accounting systems.
With an exciting new project in the pipeline, the business was on the look-out for a new superintendent; someone who had a mind built for healthcare AND business in equal measures. They couldn’t have asked for a better find in Shyam. With a background in pharmaceutical purchasing, he helped UK Meds to start thinking about expanding their range and offering the most competitive prices possible.
Joe and Mason were excited about the year ahead for UK Meds and started thinking about big trends in the industry. They found that there’s no bigger trend than CBD and launched a partnership with UK CBD brand, Leaflabs, as their exclusive seller.
As the deadline on an exciting new project loomed nearer, UK Meds decided to hire someone to help them deliver it. Having impressed the team with a sample piece of editorial, Jenni was appointed as Content Marketing Manager to begin handling partnerships, PR and other ways to get the UK Meds name out there.
Proud to be leaders in the field, UK Meds began manufacturing their own STI test kits to make sexual healthcare more accessible than ever.
The team were practically tripping over each other in the West Bridgford office so Joe and Mason decided to make an investment in a brand new space in the ideal location of Castle Marina.
After putting in months of hard work to renovate the entire place themselves, the new unit was ready and the team were welcomed with a big spacious office, a pharmacy with plenty of room to stock new lines and a rec room complete with artificial grass, beanbags and a table tennis table where weekly tournaments would be held!
March was certainly a big month for UK Meds because not only was the new office ready to move into, but the new website was also ready to go!
The biggest investment in the company’s history, the innovative new site is a progressive web app (PWA) and was built and designed by local Nottingham firm, JH.
Despite a few initial teething problems, the new website boasted a wide new over-the-counter range of products, a blog featuring a number of advice and information pieces, and enhanced ease of use.
Following on from the increase in product offering, as well as new legislation from the GPhC, the pharmacy team were busier than ever! Having already impressed with her keen eye for detail and “UK Meds spirit”, part-time pharmacist Ronika was offered a full-time position which she gladly accepted.
As the business rounded up its third year, the figures were in and they were at their highest yet! Following two successful years, UK Meds finished up year 3 at a turnover of £9million.
Following new guidance from the GPhC, UK Meds made some major changes to their website and moved to a consultation-lead system. This was a reversal from the way that online pharmacies worked before, with patients previously being able to select their own medication.
Back in the summer, UK Meds entered their first ever award bid and not only were they finalised for Family Business of the Year, they also managed to win Fastest Growing Family Business and were highly commended for the People's Choice Award!