Today I will reproduce an article written by John Boyce in his Wednesday Woman column, printed in the daily Nation of Wednesday 02 June 2021.
I am grateful to John for taking the time to recognize the achievements of women and especially young women in Barbados.
Pharmacy. Kayla’s prescription for success
by JOHN BOYCE firstname.lastname@example.org
THOUGH KAYLA PHILLIPS had always aspired to be a pediatrician, she did not have “the stomach for it”. Seeing people “throwing up”, and the sight of blood were the two main factors that caused her to alter her career dream.
The former St Gabriel’s Primary and Alexandra School student then charted a new path in the pharmaceutical industry – and that “prescription” seemed more practical. “I then volunteered to work at a pharmacy and it was then I realized that that’s what I wanted to do,” Kayla told the MIDWEEK NATION.
She decided to broaden her knowledge and applied to the Barbados Community College (BCC) and did information technology (IT) and marketing before transferring to the pharmaceutical programme for a three-year course of study.
Kayla, however, was not a “big studier” and admits that even through the IT and marketing courses, she did only enough to get by. She was forced to change that approach when she entered the pharmaceutical programme, as she failed two courses in the first semester.
For Kayla, that was a big wake-up call and she realized that if she continued with that style of study she would be at BCC for a long time. Her desire to achieve grew as the class got a motivational speech from a teacher whom she said nailed home why the class should aim to be successful. “I pushed hard and was fully motivated because I knew I wanted to own my own pharmacy. The programme is not a yearly one, it’s every other year, so if you fail you have to wait for a year to go by before you can do it again.”
On completion of her studies, Kayla said she was “more than ecstatic” when she got the associate degree because her pharmaceutical dream had drawn closer to becoming a reality.
As she shared her business plans with others, she said the negativity and pushback was tremendous and it engendered fears of failure, even before she started. “Older people started to tell me that I was too young for such a venture and that I should wait at least two years before looking to own a business,” the 24-year-old said.
But Kayla knew that she did not want to work for anyone and “wanted to run my own business, my own way”. However, the nagging words of failure kept reverberating in her head and Kayla considered the option of waiting for a while. It was not long after that she threw caution to the wind and opened the doors of the pharmacy last September.
The business started as an online pharmacy, but she immediately encountered challenges. “I did not know that Barbados did not allow online pharmacies unless you had a physical location.” She was then officially informed of the procedure for opening an online pharmacy and the inspection requirements.
Kayla complied and considered making an addition to the family’s Crystal Heights, St James home, but then the “outside the box idea” hit her about purchasing a container and making the necessary renovations.
The family settled on the idea and they creatively designed the inside of the container to facilitate Kayla’s dream, next to their home. She had three anxious months before she got a letter from the Pharmacy Council on November 20 last year granting her permission to operate.
“I jumped . . . I did the most that day . . . I even screamed and all,” the elated Kayla said.
The business did not suffer any major setbacks as it related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kayla said people can order on Instagram, Facebook or any other social media platform and have their orders delivered.
Kayla thanked her family for the assistance they gave in helping her to achieve her goal and said that she owes them a debt of gratitude for the 24-hour business.
No qualm “I love helping people through medicine, honestly, that’s my passion.” One who has a weakness for shopping and travelling, Kayla said the COVID-19 vaccine is of paramount importance to her, though she has not yet gotten the jab. “I intend to take it and do not have any qualms about it. I know people have different perspectives, but usually vaccines are supposed to help you not get something [and] would help you to not spread it or be as sick, so that’s a start.”
Looking to the future, Kayla, a people person, said she hopes to open another branch during the course of the year and already has a space that’s approved for the second business.
BETTER HEALTH & BEYOND Editorial Team
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