Do you need a breath of fresh air on new beginnings? Check out this interview of Laura – an Italian-French doctor who shut down her para-pharmacy in Lombardy, Italy to start over her consultancy business on natural therapies and nutrition here in the Algarve, Portugal.
Hello, tell us about yourself…
My name is Laura Raimondo, I am a pharmacist specialised in natural therapies and nutrition. I am 49 years old, with two wonderful daughters studying abroad and a life partner with whom I moved to the Algarve at the end of 2018.
After obtaining a Degree in Pharmaceutical Science, I worked for three years in a research laboratory and later in the pharmacy. In the following years, I specialized in nutrition and natural remedies.
Before moving to Portugal I lived in Besozzo in Lombardy in a town in the province of Varese and where I managed a parapharmacy with my partner for 5 years.
How did you get to open a business in the Algarve?
We started thinking about leaving Italy in 2016 and it was just browsing online and reading other articles and interviews like this that we gradually decided to change life, home and work.
Once we made the decision to leave Italy, we initially thought of Spain, but after visiting my daughter (who was then studying near Lisbon), that we discovered Portugal almost by accident. It was love at first sight. From Lisbon to the Algarve the move was almost immediate.
Here in the Algarve I was able to create a project that I had to postponed for a long time: a Blog where I could share my knowledge and my experience in the field of natural remedies, healthy nutrition, health and make it my main business Universo Natura Benessere.
In addition to my online consultancy, I also work on-site in my small studio, mainly with Italians, French and English expats who moved to the Algarve.
What challenges have you faced and which are you currently facing?
The conditions as a self-employed in Portugal has nothing to do with self-employment in Italy. Opening a business and the costs involved are much more manageable. In the Algarve, if you work with commitment and professionalism you can have a positive response.
Personally, the biggest challenge is the language .. it will take a long time before I can speak it correctly! However the Algarve and especially in Portimão, there is a mix of different nationalities very well integrated with each other. Virtually everyone speaks English and this factor greatly facilitates the initial phase of integration and entry into the business world.
What advice would you give those who are starting down the same path?
For those who want to leave Italy and live abroad, I recommend traveling in search of the ideal place. Evaluate the work aspect very seriously and start with an initial economic fund, even a few thousand euros, due to the inevitable expenses that every major change entails. A great spirit of adaptation surely helps.
Coming to Portugal, our goal was to improve the quality of everyday life and have less economic problems; we did not become rich but certainly more serene, with the sea 2 minutes away from home!
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