Words and photo by Tristan Ovington.
One industry that is booming despite the upcoming recession and the fallout of the previous lockdowns is logistics.
It was for this reason that 29-year-old entrepreneur Simona Smelkova, CEO and managing director of Wasp Logistics, saw the industry as an excellent field in which to start her own business. Her story begins above the clouds.
“I was a flight attendant for four years,” explains Simona. “I wanted to own a business from the age of 16, but I didn’t know what kind.
“When Covid struck in 2019, the aviation business stopped for over a year, so my time as a flight attendant ended. But then I found an opportunity to do covid test collections for Royal Mail which my uncle Adrian Forbes suggested, and I enjoyed. I drove long distances between Gosport, Southampton and Salisbury.”
Simona is a multi-talented businesswoman and continued spinning many career plates during this period. “While working at Royal Mail, I continued to pursue my pilot’s licence, which I completed in seven weeks.
“Royal Mail made me notice that despite covid, the logistics industry was booming. I suggested to my uncle that we start a logistics business, as he had previously run businesses in South Africa.
“He guided me, for which I will always be very grateful. I then got a loan via a government organisation called Start Up Loans and established Wasp Logistics on August 3, 2022.”
Despite the busy nature of logistics, Simona often pauses to reflect on why her role is essential to others. “We had a consignment from Southampton Hospital of blood samples that needed to be delivered ASAP to Bristol. As I was collecting the sample, I saw into a small children’s ward for children with cancer.
“When I meet the people who benefit from our services, it reminds me why we must be successful: to help people and to improve their lives by delivering items they need quickly and safely. It made me realise why what I do is essential. I will never forget that experience.
“Everyone has dreams and goals, but you always need an alternative route if the first doesn’t lead you to where you want to be. I have always succeeded as I never gave up and always adjusted the route to my goals.”
The next step for Wasp Logistics is to transport consignments via aircraft.
“Now that I have my private pilot licence, I can work toward the commercial one and begin the levelling up of services for Wasp Logistics.
“I will take the same care and efficiency as all our other services but through the air.”