My work involves keeping Aromatic Apothecary’s wheels turning by over-seeing the behind the scenes business of manufacturing products, general administration, development of business and new products, advertising and promotions as well as doing the bookkeeping.
I also perform the human resources function by managing, guiding and training employees. In fact whatever has to be done – from postage to deliveries or collections of goods and products to high – powered meetings, I do the next job that needs to be done.
Over the past few years, PDI staff members have been enabled to buy their own home – to own a piece of land. This has been one of the most satisfying achievements of the business, that employees have been empowered to become homeowners. Self worth from pride in one’s work is immeasurable. The staff are viable, productive people in charge of their lives and are responsible citizens, all contributing to the micro economy of South Africa.
One of our policies include supporting small businesses wherever possible, from suppliers to innovators to workshops for physically challenged individuals – we support them by giving them work to do. I believe that every small business that sustains itself, helps sustain our country. It has been a challenge to deal with large companies who do not take us seriously – many a time I have chosen to speak with MD’s of such companies and challenged them on understanding the needs of small businesses such as ours.
I have spoken out where they want to monopolise industry by only supplying in 100’s of 1000’s of units where we would only need 1000! And even then it was risky for us to order so many! I have challenged many policies of beurocracy who have not changed with the evolving New South Africa.
I am a pharmacist, scientifically trained. I was educated in Zimbabwe and left home at 17 to study in Johannesburg. From the time I qualified, I questioned whether treating people with drugs, was necessarily the right thing to do. I used to counsel people off their sleeping tablets, for example, and explain that there had to be another way to maintain a healthy outlook on life other than swallowing pills.
Personally I was a never comfortable dispensing pills, I often felt like a licensed drug dealer. I believe that tablets in our society are overused and thereby abused. Yes, there is a need for medication at the right time and it can be life saving, but in many instances, as in the quick fix ways of the western world, tablets were prescribed to numb feelings, block pain and generally dull the soul. After a tumultuous time in my own life I literally asked God one day – what do you want from my life? And the answer that came into my head was aromatherapy.
I sincerely believe that this business and my path on this journey has been guided … the fact that the business has made me grow as a person and empowered others to grow as well, is an indication of ‘being on the right road’.
I still ask and pray for guidance and have listened to that gut instinct/ guidance every step of the way. If I were a Xhosa person I would tell you that my ancestors have urged me and pushed me in this journey and enabled others to journey with me. (I believe my late father guides me).
Many lives have been uplifted from the growth of Aromatic Apothecary, and if every advantaged individual could share their knowledge by opening small businesses, they would not only sustain themselves, they would diversify the business in South Africa, and empower many other less advantaged people to enable them to become the next generation of the advantaged! My motto follows that of – give a man a fish and he has a meal but teach him to fish and he can feed himself and others for the rest of his life.
It finally made sense to me why I had to be a pharmacist first, to understand what I was doing in developing the products from a firm foundation of knowledge. The best part of the business is that the philosophy carries through from behind the scenes to the end user – our product range is in-line with the belief that aromatherapy products provide comfort from minor ailments and so offer an alternative to just another pill. Aromatherapy is a helpful and harmless way to make people feel better and it is that simple – I want people to feel better without harming themselves in any way. This is another way of empowering people to make a conscious choice, by offering them information and beneficial products to use alongside this information.
I want to see every health store and pharmacy in South Africa stock our products.
The staff who have been with Aromatic Apothecary, grow in themselves and be empowered to thrive further with the growth of the business.
Employing more people and enabling them to learn skills on the job, as present employees have done – continue to uplift people’s lives.
More people being educated in natural medicine and healthy ways so that we improve the general health of our people, we endorse the Minister’s policies on smoking and alcohol and encourage a healthy diet. Back to nature!