Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
Katrina Thompkins knew her life was going to change in 2020. For the previous year, while working in an intensive care unit in a Dallas hospital, the cardiovascular nurse founded a business and prepared to launch.
In February, that moment arrived. Alongside her mom, who is also her executive assistant, Thompkins launched K’dara CBD, a health and wellness company. Through an online store, K’dara sells a line of products, from bath bombs to dog treats, infused with hemp-derived CBD.
Then the pandemic hit.
Less than two months after launch, Thompkins was on a plane bound for Manhattan, the epicentre of COVID-19 in the U.S. For the past two weeks, she’s been working on the frontlines of the ICU in a New York City hospital.
“My life literally turned around in like a week,” she tells The GrowthOp on a recent day off.
“It was a shock to everyone, all my family and friends. But they’ve all been so supportive. I hopped on a plane and I went straight to work.”
Thompkins has been pulling 13-hour days caring for COVID-19 patients in intensive care before returning to her rental apartment in the evenings to work on the business. “My patients are very sick, and it’s been crazy, but the good news is we’re all helping each other out and everybody’s been so nice and helpful and that makes it better,” she says.
She came across the position through a travelling nurse registry and decided, almost immediately, that it was an important opportunity to put her skills to use. “I got into nursing because I love caring for people. It’s my passion,” she says. So, after a quick virtual online training seminar, she was working as an intensive care nurse with a heavy patient load. “As soon as I hit the hospital floor, they gave me some of the sicker patients,” she says. “It’s been a challenge for everyone, but we’re all getting through it together.”
Thompkins has previously visited Brooklyn, but this time around she’s experiencing a very different version of New York. “The city is pretty much shut down, especially for New York,” she says. She’s renting an apartment close to the hospital, so she’s avoided the subway, but her daily walks reveal a quieter, more secluded city than what she’s used to. “It’s crazy how much the lifestyle has changed.”
Under the usual circumstances, she would be spending evenings with her two dogs — including an 11-year old arthritic toy poodle who, Thompkins says, has benefitted greatly from CBD dog treats. But now her time off is dedicated to the business, while her dogs eagerly await her return to Dallas.
“I go straight to work on my business on my days off. I scheduled myself to where I could do both. It’s something that I’m passionate about, and it brings me joy to work on it, so I really don’t consider it a job for me, it’s just something that I love to do.”
Her passion for caring is also in her genes. One of the inspirations for the business is Thompkin’s grandmother, Grandma Clover.