“All roads led to this :-)”

Years ago Jacqui traded life as head of production with a large ad agency for life as a business owner with a small high-tech studio that served two types of client: 1) ad agencies (complex, often fast-turnaround work) and 2) small businesses (providing a level of agency service, able to add creativity to production). Income from 1) subsidised her work on 2) and the studio flourished over three years.

When Jacqui’s 18-year-old step-daughter sustained a significant injury in a car accident in 1999, her working world caved in. Jacqui sold the studio to focus with her best buddy on recovery. One client asked Jacqui to continue doing their medical research and writing though and this became a well-being lifeline. This work eventually led to working with holistic vet Dr Chris Piper on information for his nutraceutical compounds. Chris had created a brand which Jacqui suggested be changed to Great&Small. In creating the logo and look, Jacqui was in her element. The Joint Flex formula (and G&S branding) have stood the test of time.

One of the pharmacists Jacqui also worked with at the time was a veterinary medicine compounding specialist. Jacqui and Monterrey determined they could bring something special to vets and specialists throughout the country by increasing the prescribing options for individual patients. For this they developed Optimus Healthcare Ltd. While Monterrey took a trip back to Canada to stock up on supplies and take a break with family before Optimus began trading, Jacqui set about finding premises, getting them fitted out, registering the pharmacy, creating custom software and developing the brand.

Initial marketing for Optimus involved a fast-penetrating transdermal gel and a hypertensive cat called Max.

Within days of sending this info-leaflet out the first orders came in. In the 1st year, over 100 practices ordered customised medicines (in tiny accurate dose capsules, gels, creams, solutions, suspensions and flavoured bases including large amounts of molasses for horse patients).

Patient outcomes were a lovely elixir for all the hours, resources and devotion Jacqui and Monterrey put in. They received inspiring feedback from vets, specialists, vet clients and also from government officials and the international compounding centres organisation that they were accepted as a member of.

When Monterrey wanted to move back into a retail pharmacy environment a new pharmacist had to be found for Monterrey to train and sell her shareholding to. Not an easy task! While eventually they found the perfect person, one of his conditions became 100% ownership. Jacqui had to sell her shareholding too. After 3 years it was an enormous wrench for Jacqui to leave Optimus behind, but it would not exist today if not for its strong start, followed by pragmatism for its future.

With Optimus Jacqui learned a valuable lesson. She wasn’t the pharmacist, so despite massive effort in other respects and doing a specialised course in compounding so she knew the processes involved, she couldn’t do the core work – she couldn’t (of course) go into the lab and compound. With 24PAWS Jacqui does the core work of social breaks, grooming, grooming coaching etc, runs the business and continues to study in order add to the sector.