Diabetic CEO goes from selling watches at school to launching multi-million pound wellness clinics

Richard Chambers is the CEO and founder of Get A Drip, The UK's leading affordable IV vitamin drip and shot provider

Diabetic CEO goes from selling watches at school to launching multi-million pound wellness clinics

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on my 18th birthday and three years later found myself rushed into intensive care after suffering with complications,” Richard Chambers, CEO and founder of Get A Drip, tells me. Richard grew up in a middle-class family with his two sisters, his father, an ambitious entrepreneur and his mum, a primary school teacher. Behind closed doors, Richard’s father suffered from undiagnosed schizophrenia, which led to multiple hospitalisations and the eventual collapse of his businesses. Despite these hardships, Richard was always intrigued by entrepreneurial ventures. At the age of 15, Richard worked part-time at Sainsbury’s while selling watches at school. His little business proved lucrative as he started gaining profits, beating what he made from his job at Sainsbury’s.

Richard then went on to study civil and structural engineering at Loughborough University. On his 18th birthday, the teen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. The diagnosis shocked Richard as he had no prior family history of this condition. Three years later, the 18-year-old was rushed into intensive care and his condition subsequently caused him to spend years in and out of hospital. With deteriorating health, Richard’s grades suffered and he eventually left university. “My time at university was not without its challenges, including a severe case of ketoacidosis that resulted in a three-week stay in ICU and multiple hospitalisations for immune-related issues,” Richard said. However, he was determined to succeed. Richard returned to university and resat his exams, achieving a first-class honours. He later joined PwC and became a chartered accountant.  

In 2015, Richard experienced one of the most challenging points of his life – his father’s suicide. “This tragedy was a turning point for me, pushing me to pursue my own business endeavours,” Richard tells me. “It instilled in me the belief that life is fleeting, and one should live without regrets, seizing opportunities without hesitation. This experience taught me that overcoming life’s greatest challenges can make subsequent obstacles seem more manageable. Additionally, post-university, I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, which, although mild, explained why I had to work exceptionally hard at university. Understanding these traits has helped me leverage my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses more effectively.” 

Over the next seven years, Richard was admitted to hospital frequently due to a weakened immune system. He began undergoing regular IV treatments, which was a staple in his recovery. During his time working at PwC, Richard realised it wasn’t the career for him. His condition paired with the long working hours and stress took a toll on his health. That was when Richard had his Eureka moment. He came up with the idea to launch a health and wellness clinic, Get A Drip, and make it the UK’s first high street Vitamin Drip and Booster Shot provider with affordable treatments. “I was in and out of hospital for seven years due to a weakened immune system, and I was overwhelmed by the benefits of IV treatment. It was a major factor in my recovery, and it led to me setting up and launching Get A Drip in October 2017,” Richard said. “With no accessible options on the market, I wanted to provide an alternative, more efficient and cost-effective way for people to supplement their diet to meet the extensive list of vitamins and minerals required to maintain optimum bodily function, not just available in hospitals or for the super wealthy.” 

“In the last five years people have become significantly more health conscious, seeking preventative, holistic health and wellness solutions more than ever,” Richard explained. “Healthcare has also become highly congested with digital offerings, and there is a gap in the market when it comes to physical face-to-face offerings, something Get A Drip is passionate to provide and make more accessible. We essentially want to be seen as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your health and wellness needs, providing customers with the most proactive and extensive range of innovative health and wellness treatments at the most accessible price points.” Richard believes in taking a proactive approach to healthcare, rather than a reactive approach. 

By focusing on health and wellness, people can prioritise their longevity and manage their well-being, reducing the burden on the NHS while taking control of their health. “When examining the health and wellness industry in the UK, it’s essential to acknowledge the unique position we’re in, primarily due to the presence of the NHS,” Richard tells me. “The NHS does an incredible job in providing healthcare, but it’s not designed to be the sole solution for all health and wellness needs. This is where the UK’s approach differs significantly from other countries where paying for health services is more commonplace, driving those industries to offer the latest and most innovative services.” 

Launching Get A Drip was no easy feat. Bringing an innovative healthcare model into the market was met with scepticism, a contrast to traditional healthcare providers like GPs. Despite the challenges, Richard maintained an open mindset and a firm belief in his vision. “As the business grew, I learned the importance of not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he explained. “Instead, I leaned on the experience and expertise of others. More often than not, someone has faced a similar challenge, albeit in a different context or industry. Their insights and guidance can be invaluable. Surrounding myself with experts who possess skills and knowledge beyond my own has been instrumental in solving problems. This approach of combining an unwavering mindset with expert guidance has been fundamental in navigating and overcoming the struggles we faced with Get A Drip.” 

Since launching six years ago, Get A Drip has grown to tremendous heights. Get A Drip has 34 locations across the UK and Europe, more than doubling from their 11 established clinics last year. In January, Get A Drip launched a brand-new flagship clinic on Chelsea’s King’s Road, the first of an anticipated 120 new clinics. The expansive UK rollout is also expected to create some 360 plus new UK jobs in the next two to four years. Get a Drip King’s Road clinic will house the most extensive range of innovative wellness treatments yet, including the launch of two new cutting-edge technologies – Get A Drip’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Infrared Sauna. Get A Drip offers the latest cutting-edge treatments including industry leading IV Drip treatments and injections, Cryotherapy, Ozone Therapy, PBM (Photobiomodulation)/Red Light Therapy, Compression Therapy, Vitamin D testing and blood testing.

“Get A Drip’s mission is to empower everyone with the means to achieve Optimum Health and Nutrition,” Richard tells me. “There is only so much that can be done online or via the post, and it’s our aim to ensure that every client who uses one of our personalised services benefits from the very best experience and care. Whether that be in our core clinics, or through our mobile clinics or at-home testing products, ensuring the highest standard is met every time has been a big contributing factor to our customer return rate of 86%, and to our broader success.” 

Richard has big plans for the business. He plans to continue its upward trajectory and success of   his franchise model, with the guidance of seasoned advisors like Tony Buffin, formerly CEO of Holland & Barrett, and a newly appointed, highly experienced Head of Franchising, Duncan Berry, who brings 20+ years of experience securing multi-site franchise deals. “With more than 150 medical professionals having now administered 250,000+ cutting-edge treatments to date, we are passionate about providing the most accessible and sophisticated range of market-leading Vitamin Drips, Vitamin Injections, diagnostics and treatments available across the UK health and wellness market,” Richard said. “By expanding our service offering considerably, we hope to continue to democratise the health and wellness industry, cementing Get A Drip’s position as a leading force pioneering the future of health and wellness optimisation.”

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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