Interview with UK Meds (@uk.meds)
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
A person living with long-term asthma, Joe Soiza, ran out of his inhaler and found himself unable to get a GP appointment. After a quick internet search on his phone, Joe was happy to see that it was possible to order his inhaler online. His inhaler was delivered promptly the very next day. This gave businessman Joe a lightbulb moment. He realized that there must be many more people like himself, in need of fast medication but who were unable to access their local GP. From this thought, UK Meds was born. With the help of his son Mason, Joe turned a stressful situation into a nationwide company distributing medicine across the country. As life becomes nuanced and more of us stray from the traditional 9 to 5, the UK Meds’ vision is to deliver an entirely inclusive service. From the shift worker unable to find time to see their GP to those suffering from a chronic condition making doctor’s appointments impossible, to those in rural areas who must trek to find their nearest surgery. We want to make accessible medicine available to all.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Our most exciting story would be in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic first started, Joe and Mason decided to purchase a stock of PPE so that we could help the local community, doctors, surgeries, and the rest of the country to stay protected. Before this, our orders hovered around 1,000 a day. By the time April came round in the peak of COVID, our orders had gone up to 10,000 a day. This resulted in night shifts, weekend shifts, and all hands on deck to try and get as many orders out as possible. It was always fun for the team to see if we could beat our record each day for how many orders we could ship. Joe made sure that we were all well looked after during this hectic period, with regular lunch deliveries, drinks, and ice creams bought to keep us going and regular breaks.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
When Joe set up UK Meds with his son, Mason, more than four years ago, we needed to create a company culture that prioritized social wellbeing and offered our employees a positive work-life balance – something that still, despite our growth, lives with us today. As a business with family values at its core, we genuinely care about our employees, and we’re constantly striving to ensure they’re happy and motivated. However, it’s easy to be enticed by a cool and trendy perk package that looks good on paper but doesn’t deliver or motivate staff. That’s why we’re constantly reviewing what our employees want and what helps to boost morale to create a more engaged, happy, and driven workforce. This is much more effective than implementing one-off benefits with no real long-term value. As well as giving our team generous starting salaries with regular reviews, we’re committed to investing heavily in their futures – providing extensive training and other opportunities for professional development and growth. All employees also have access to private health insurance with Bupa. Rejecting the corporate style of work, our team thrives in a relaxed and social environment behind the scenes of a slick website and e-commerce site that our patients know and love. Our office in Castle Marina, Nottingham, provides a positive atmosphere with a breakout area complete with a massage chair, table football and ping-pong tables, and a top-of-the-range coffee machine. As well as a focus on health and wellbeing, we understand the importance of human interaction and building solid teams. On Fridays, we order Deliveroo lunches for the whole office, and we regularly take employees on day trips and meals out – giving them valuable time to socialize away from the working environment, and helping them to feel inspired and more productive.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person whom you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
We are grateful for the whole of our UK Meds team; we operate as one big family and would not be where we are without the efforts every person has put into the business since the start. Each team member has a crucial role in the business, which has helped us get where we are while operating smoothly and efficiently. We believe each team member is equally as important.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
https://www.uknewsgroup.co.uk/coronavirus-notts-pharmacy-donates-5000-masks-to-frontline-workers/ – This article explains how we donated 5,000 masks to frontline workers during the pandemic. https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/nottingham-family-reveal-theyve-been-6405562 – This article discusses how our MD Joe is Soiza has been posting envelopes containing £100 through people’s letterboxes for the last five years at Christmas time, dressed up as Santa Claus. He had done this anonymously until this last Christmas when it was then revealed that Joe was behind the random act of kindness. https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/football-news/nottingham-forest-contribute-massive-ppe-4130183 – This article explains how UK Meds partnered up with Nottingham Forest and donated more than 7,000 pieces of PPE to the Nottingham CityCare Partnership. UK Meds joined with the Reds to donate 5,500 face masks, 500 visors, 500 bottles of antiseptic hand gel, and 600 aprons to CityCare. https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/nottingham-forest-fan-completes-epic-3345752 – This article talks about a fellow Forest Fan who was doing a 165-mile walk from Wales to The City Ground to commemorate what would have been his son’s 10th Birthday. Our Managing Director, Joe, donated £1,200 to pay for Andrew’s food and accommodation along the 165-mile route. Joe also helped give Andrew the final push by joining him for the last leg of the journey. https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/football-news/nottingham-forest-star-lyle-taylors-4678753 – This article explains how UK Meds helped Lyle Taylor’s attempts to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, by donating £1,000 to help support research into cancer cures and boost Lyle’s total amount.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
Joe’s favorite quote is, “You have one life, so live it.” He believes this is something everyone should live by, enjoy life, and make the most of it. Joe and the Soiza family love their holidays (particularly cruises), enjoying activities and ticking things off their bucket list. It is essential to love your life and spend quality time with those around you. Joe encourages his family and everyone at work to live by this rule.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
We can be followed via Instagram at uk. Meds, Twitter at UK_Meds, and Facebook.
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
Nothing in particluar