For Alayna Ng and her fiancé Matt, they are living out their dream of being partners in both life and business. Pharmacist Matt had always dreamed of owning his own pharmacy, which became a reality when the opportunity arose for them to take over Unichem Havelock North. Here they provide a friendly, trusting and efficient service to their local community and to customers throughout New Zealand. As well as prescription services, over the counter products, first aid essentials and vaccinations, they offer a great range of gifts and products for mums, babies and the whole family. Here Alayna talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind their business journey, their biggest breakthrough, and their hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My fiancé (Matt) is a pharmacist and it has been his dream since I met him approximately 7 years ago to work towards owning a pharmacy. We originally were living in Wellington and an opportunity came up about 4 years ago or so to work towards ownership. Not too long after I retired from a brilliant and fulfilling career as a dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, we packed up our lives and shifted to Havelock North where Matt started working for the pharmacy. Three years later, we took over Unichem Havelock North.
As partners in business together, Matt and I have always said our goal was to provide a friendly, fast, efficient and trusting service to those in our growing community and those we reach around New Zealand.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
As we were taking over an existing business, there was no official “launch”. But as new business owners, our goal was to operate business as usual and keep a seamless transition and trust to the business’s already existing customers. It helped immensely that my partner Matt was already the main pharmacist of the business prior to taking over, so that the majority of the customers in our community already knew Matt well.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Over Christmas 2022, I was working behind the scenes on a project and am proud to have launched our new website – Unichem Havelock North – in March/April 2023. It is super exciting to see some of our fantastic products in an online capacity, especially with brands such as Weleda, Frigg & Mushier. As a mother myself, it is awesome to see these incredible products for mums and babies go live and become available from Unichem Havelock North to customers from all over New Zealand. This was a huge project for me personally alongside continuing to run the business. However, with the expertise of Lucy and her wonderful team at Bloom transitions – they helped bring my vision to life. I look forward to the website stocking more of our beautiful products in the future.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Owning your own business is definitely not for the faint hearted. You have to be prepared for hard work and dedicate a lot of time to getting things done. We are often working late nights and weekends. Matt and I also have a toddler who is just over 2 years of age. He is a bright young boy with lots of energy and certainly keeps us on our toes! He is the love and light of our lives though and time seems to fly by even faster now that we have a son, so it’s important for us to enjoy the precious moments with him no matter how tired we are. We always make sure at least one of us is always giving him our undivided attention while the other one tends to important business/general life and house admin.
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