2020 has truly been an unprecedented year of events. Although we have experienced loss, increased stress and uncertainty, we have also experienced an opportunity for reflection, restoration and new ideas.
The most notable project we launched this year was Aura Health and Wellbeing Dietary Supplements. After years of development, we introduced 51 dietary supplements which are legally registered and classified as food products in the European Union. The aim of the Aura product range is to make Chinese formulas accessible and convenient for all. We hope to continue to grow the range by increasing the number of formulas and distributing the products widely to benefit people who need such support.
Furthermore, we also introduced our range of Personal Protective Equipment. After the first outbreak of Coronavirus in early 2020, there was a huge market demand for quality PPE. We decided to innovate and manufacture our own range of PPE items with our long-standing industry partners to fill the gap in society. We worked tirelessly with our partners to ensure we had a constant supply of PPE to ensure healthcare workers were protected against the virus.
Due to the impact of the virus, sourcing and manufacturing the best quality products became more challenging and costly. We made the decision to arrange 8 air-cargo shipments this year to fulfil a huge demand for herbs and medical supplies during March and April. Despite the huge increase in shipping charges and product cost, we decided to keep the price of our products the same – with many items under the cost price. Unlike many other suppliers, Chinese medicine is our passion, and we believe it is our duty to support practitioners and help people who need relevant treatments. Now, more than ever, it is a pivotal time to highlight how important Chinese medicine is!
As well as continuing to develop Phoenix Medical, this year we gained four new team members – Paul, our Business Development Executive and Francisco, Richard and Beatrice who joined the dispensary and warehouse team. We moved to our new premises in November 2019 and it has provided us with extra space to grow and expand continually.
We also invested a lot of time and effort in developing our educational platform, Phoenix Academy of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine. We are not only passionate about advancing Chinese medicine but also providing education. Due to the pandemic, all of our in-person courses were postponed during 2020 but we did not let that stop us! This year we introduced the Virtual Chinese Herbal Medicine Course taught via Zoom by Dr ZanYu Chen and four additional renowned lecturers as supporting tutors. The course has proven to be a great success as we currently have a total of 70 students enrolled on our first cohort.
Alongside our virtual training, we also offered free interactive webinars during 2020; specifically focusing on treating COVID-related symptoms and the effects of long COVID. We were fortunate to be joined by senior professionals from conventional and complementary healthcare industries during the webinar to share the understanding and expertise. Our webinars have proven to be a great success and we will continue to host them in the coming year.
We have also continued to reduce our carbon footprint in 2020. We have made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper we use, so we have scaled back on printed items such as leaflets, catalogues and year planners. Additionally, all wholesale and dispensary invoices are now only available online to reduce the amount of paper we use.
As always, we have big plans for 2021 and we are confident it will be a better year than 2020!
An area we will be investing a lot of time, energy and money in is innovation and development. We are passionate about providing the best quality products for our customers, that will benefit yourselves and your patients. Because of this, we plan to invest more in developing our Mycology Nutrition, HerbalHair and HerbalSkin product lines.
Another area we will be developing is our acupuncture needles. After many years of research, we are closer than ever to launching our 100% fully recyclable acupuncture needle range – including a recyclable guide tube and packaging. We have been working on this project for several years to ensure everything is done correctly and to the highest standard.
We are proud to say that the Phoenix team continues to go from strength to strength. Just as we are expanding our product range, we are also expanding our team. We will be recruiting more talent into the company to ensure you receive the best customer experience – from website navigation to over-the-phone sales. Keep an eye out for some new faces!
One thing we have missed in 2020 is the lack of face-to-face interactions with clients during conferences and trade shows. We hope the coming year will allow for all of us to get back together and celebrate the industry in person – rather than on Zoom! This applies to our Phoenix Academy programmes too. As well as introducing more virtual educational courses, we hope to teach students in-person on specialist techniques and practices.
One thing we can’t escape in 2021 is Brexit. We cannot be certain of what is going to happen but fortunately, we have been exporting products internationally for many years so we have a lot of experience regarding trading with non-EU countries. We have already implemented systems to generate customs paperwork with information such as commodity codes and description of goods. We are in a very fortunate position whereby we have established European distributors. Having connections within Europe allows us to continue to provide a great service to TCM practitioners. Regardless of the circumstances, we will continue to supply the best quality products and service to our customers.
Our motto is “Pioneering the Development of Chinese Medicine”, so despite the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought, we will continue to invest in the Chinese medicine industry simply because we believe Chinese medicine is needed more than ever. We would not be able to do it without the support from you, our valued business partners.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for working with us. Everything we have done together has helped to provide better care to people in need. We very much look forward to 2021 and we are hopeful for a bright future for all within the industry.
We would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and a healthy and Happy New Year!
George and the Phoenix Team.