Roz Martin is the owner of MedColl nutritional anti-ageing supplements, which she sells to 250 pharmacies in the UAE. Having spent more than a decade working in the pharmaceutical industry – including two years living in Dubai and working for Johnson & Johnson from 2009 to 2011 – Ms Martin, who is in her forties, returned to her hometown of Mullingar, in Ireland, to launch her business almost three years ago. She is now set to start a doctorate in collagens.
I used to make the mistake of going straight to the office in the morning – it was chaotic. Now I go for a 15-minute walk with headphones on when I wake up. I have a glass of warm water to gently wake up my the body (I’ll have a coffee later, at 11-ish) then a glass of aloe vera juice and porridge with fruit. Then I get ready and drive to the office – it’s just a kilometre away.
Email, Skype and WhatsApp are my first ports of call. As the UAE is ahead by three to four hours, I’ll often have calls with distributors early on: we have 12 representatives selling and promoting MedColl in the UAE alone. We sell to 250 pharmacies in Ireland and 250 in the UAE, and distribute to the UK and seven other European countries as well. I only sell in pharmacies. I worked with two pharmacists to create MedColl, then partnered with the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research in Dublin for safety and efficacy trials, before getting licensing from the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority and approval from the ministry of health. It took three years so, with all the time and money invested into research and development, it would devalue the product if I sold it in stores.
I normally spend the morning checking in with people I collaborate with. We have 15 external contract companies, who work together to bring the raw materials – powders like vitamin C and E, antioxidants, seaweed, algae and lycopene, from Ireland, France and Sweden – to a finished product.
I’ll swing around and have a chat with my father at his desk. You have to have two company directors in Ireland, so he’s the other. He was in food tech in the government for 40 years and, although he’s retired, takes a very active role and is in the office a lot. He loves being involved and I take a lot of advice from him. We have two other administrative staff in the office. Functions like media, PR, marketing, accountancy etc, I outsource.
I normally have lunch at my desk; I know it’s a sin. When I first started the business, I often wouldn’t fit in lunch at all. Now I’ll have a home-made salad with bulgur wheat, chickpeas and lean protein or, in the winter, soup. A lot of my work is project management. To begin with, it was about networking and finding good suppliers and strategic partners at trade shows – it was a baptism of fire. Now I’m at my desk most of the day.
I regularly have meetings with my contractors, as most are here in Ireland. Today I’m meeting my pharmaceutical blisterer, who puts the tablets into the foil packaging. We discuss the technical process, like the type of aluminium foil and tray we use to blister the finished product, and the regulatory paperwork required by EU medical regulators. I manage our subcontractors the way a pharmaceutical company manages its departments. I’m a believer in hiring experts, and it’s far more cost-effective and practical to use contractors.
Back at my desk, I run some checks on online sales through our site. I log into the back end of the online orders system, to monitor sales and shipments and ensure the fulfilment company is delivering on time. Altogether we probably sell 200,000 capsules a month.
To the gym – I run and do yoga twice a week as well as Pilates. I have a bad shoulder, so exercise and stretching helps – and it breaks up the day.
Dinner is something light and healthy at home with my partner Paddy. Then I’ll usually log on and work until 10pm; in the evenings I can get creative. I’ve been working on a new product and am doing a lot of patent searches. I’d like to develop home DIY products that don’t cost a fortune. There is a gap in the market for “nutri-cosmetics”: you have face creams then, at the other end of the spectrum, chemical peels and facelifts. I’m against Botox, fillers and surgeries.
I have a bath every night and read in the bath – my two luxuries in life. I read a lot of business and entrepreneurship books. The new Tony Robbins book, Money, Master the Game, is waiting on my shelf – I’m actually attending a four-day business course he’s running in London in April.
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