Jacqueline Darna is ready to take her latest startup mainstream

Physician Jacqueline Darna checks a lot of boxes in the game of life. She’s a woman, Hispanic, a health care professional, an entrepreneur, intelligent yet a lot of fun, a mother, a wife. The only thing she really isn’t is stationary for long.

She is a fiercely smart and driven woman who grew up believing, rightfully so, she could do anything she put her mind to.

She’s the founder, and inventor, of No Mo Nausea, a manufacturer of wristbands that aid in the cessation of nausea and migraines, and essential oils to help insomnia. The company is expected to do $14 to $15 million in revenue in 2022. The ever-ambitious Darna says her goal is closer to $20 million.

Her latest venture, which goes public in March, will be a game-changer in the medical sales industry, she says.

When it is, no one will be surprised. Failure isn’t one of Darna’s specialties.

***

Darna’s solid work ethic started at an early age. Lessons learned from her parents.

She was born in Tampa, at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, to an American mother and Peruvian father. It was, as Darna says, a marriage of convenience.

“My dad is a Peruvian immigrant that came here and wanted to be a doctor. He was actually 17 years old when he escaped from military school in Peru. He jumped on a fishing boat. Basically, fighting for his life,” Darna says.

A family friend, who Darna refers to as her uncle, wanted to get her father matched up with a woman that could help him stay in the States, and that is how he met Darna’s mother.

“My mother’s father had just passed away and she was like, ‘Oh, he’s cute. I’ll marry him,’ ” Darna says. “They went out on three dates and got married on the fourth.”

She adds that they liked each other enough. But when asked if they were still married, Darna answers, “Oh, heck, no,” with a laugh. In fact, they were divorced before Darna was born, though they never told her so until she was 12 years old.

Her work ethic and determination come from her father and her confidence from her mother.

“She literally is the reason why I think I can do anything, because she told me that I could, every day,” she says.

Darna grew up in a poorer neighborhood and even lived in a treehouse in Peru, for a brief period of time. After getting really sick, her mother insisted they move back to Tampa.

Her mother remarried and they moved into a new house. She says she thought they were like the Jeffersons, “moving on up.”

“I thought we were super rich because we had a house with a pool,” Darna says laughing, something she often does. That home is about the size of her current garage.

Darna was a very active child, never in less than four different extracurricular activities at any given time. Her stepfather used to worry about her becoming lazy, with a lack of responsibility of washing clothes, cleaning the house, etc. Darna wasn’t worried.

“I would tell him, ‘I’m going to make enough money so I can hire that out,’ ” she says. “My job was to be a good student.” And she was.

As much as she was an astute student, she also took great pride in working and earning her own money.

Darna’s first job was at Circuit City. She passed the aptitude test with a perfect score so, at 15, she was the lead customer service associate. In the past she has also been a personal trainer, a group exercise instructor and a vitamin sales representative.

“I feel like I’ve had nine different lives because I’ve always done a million things at one time. Because I never just sat down and did one thing,” she says.

If you were to ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, at 5 years old, she would have told you, matter-of-factly, an obstetrician-gynecologist, with a subspeciality in in-vitro fertilization.

“I’ve always wanted to help people. That was my goal. And watching my dad … most kids get a bedtime story. He read me handbooks of different venereal diseases and dermatological imperfections,” Darna says. “I didn’t really pay attention to my father’s subspecialty of anesthesia, because it was boring. It was like a bunch of stuff happening and beeps were going on. But I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s not cool.’ But they’re taking someone’s brain apart here. It wasn’t until I got into biochemistry that I was like, wow. Physiologically, and pharmacologically, whatever you put inside your body, it changes the chemistry of your body and it causes an effect.”

Darna received a full scholarship to the University of South Florida for her undergraduate degree. “I actually put a down payment on my first house with $60,000 of scholarship money,” she says. “Medical school was a totally different ballgame.”

She had her first child when she was starting medical school, where she studied anesthesiology. For her second child she needed an emergency C-section and the aftermath led to health effects that were not mitigated with pharmaceutical drugs. Instead, she found relief with aromatherapy.

Then, her “third child,” No Mo Nausea, was born—an alternative to modern medicine.

“There are so many different aspects. It’s not just like homeopathy, but there are other things. There’s acupuncture and things that have been around for thousands of years, versus drugs,” Darna says.

***

Darna knew she had a winning business idea on hand. She also had medical school debt, a husband and two small children.

“People were like, ‘Why would you open a business?’ And I would say, ‘I don’t know. I just feel no one else is doing this.’ My dad was like, ‘Honey, I want you to succeed. I’m proud of you, just at least keep up your license,’” Darna recalls.  “And my mom is like, ‘You can do it, honey.’ ”

The world has rapper Lil Jon to thank for the name of the company.

During a car trip home from Orlando, the Lil Jon, known for his hilarious “Yeah!” and “OK!” interjections, was playing on the radio. Darna’s husband jokingly sang “No mo’ nausea,” and Darna replied, “What? OK!”

With a unique name in place, Darna went to work on creating the product and expanding its offerings.

“I didn’t even know I was an entrepreneur. I didn’t know I was an inventor,” Darna says. “And now I can’t stop patenting.”

The No Mo Nausea patent is inclusive, Darna adds. It encompasses everything from essential oil-infused acupressure devices, clips, stickers and more.

“I wanted No Mo to be the next Band-Aid of the world,” she says.

In 2021, Darna and No Mo got the opportunity to hit mainstream America in a new way.

She was asked to be a part of a Super Bowl commercial, which was created to highlight Tampa entrepreneurs.

“It was an incredible experience,” she says. “We just watched with my marketing team. My Amazon team was telling me we were running out of product. I was trying to watch the Super Bowl with my family, but I just couldn’t.”

Her new venture, Doc OTC, will change the way over-the-counter products are purchased, which will now be straight through a telemedicine visit. No need for a pad and pen, instead the patient will simply be able to use a “Buy Now” button, and have their items shipped directly to them.

“It basically bridges retail products that are over-the-counter with your doctor’s recommendation via telemedicine,” she says. “There’s nobody doing this.”

The company already has an initial sidecar offer and its total valuation is $100 million, she says.

“We will have to scale and grow,” she says. “I have to hire 27 new, incredibly techy people.”

***

Darna’s commitment to her business and career is strong but her commitment to her family, and her faith, is stronger.

She credits her Catholic faith for keeping her grounded and remaining humble.

When she was young, her stepfather enrolled her in Catholic school. In the third grade, she made the decision to convert to Catholicism.

“From the third grade on, I read the Bible every single day. That’s just my thing. I don’t know, I was always just this strong-willed kid,” she says.

Darna is active in her church, volunteering every Sunday on the welcome committee.

“I think it’s really important to manage the chaos,” she says. “You have to bring it back. One thing, for me, is no cellphones at the dinner table. We sit down and eat dinner together every night.”

She is known to bring playing cards everywhere she goes, preferring to engage with her present company than to sit around staring at phones. She admits, she probably drives some of her friends crazy with this habit.

“My friends are like, ‘Jackie, you’re not my mom.’ I’m like, ‘No, we have to talk.’ We are humans, we need to converse with one another,” she says.

No Mo Nausea participates in a “Buy a Band, Give a Band” program, which helps breast cancer patients. She also supports the National Pediatric Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

“Honestly, I love doing stuff for other people,” she says. “I genuinely love seeing other people get excited.”

That doesn’t mean she doesn’t treat herself, though. She has a passion for fast sports cars, which started with her first car.

To help get her that first car, her father gifted her $2,000 and the book Rich Dad Poor Dad.

The book must have made an impact. She took that $2,000 and turned it into $16,000 by investing in United States meat market stocks, during the mad cow disease outbreak in the United Kingdom, in the 1990s.

She traveled to New Jersey to get the car of her dreams; a 1995 Toyota Supra, twin-turbo and black. She calls it, affectionately, her black beauty.

“That car was amazing,” she says. “I vowed I would always have a sports car.” She now has a black Corvette.

“I don’t know what it is. But for me, life goes in so many different directions constantly. But when I’m inside of a sports car, that’s my time, that’s for me and the direction doesn’t matter,” Darna says. “Just to have that tangible piece of something and I’m like, this is mine, you know?”

Her business, her family, her reputation, her online following, her car. Through hard work, with a kind heart as a guiding force, Darna has earned it all.

“Businesses is the business of people. It’s not products. It’s not services. Be a good human for crying out loud,” Darna says. “Strip everybody of everything, titles, whatever it is. We’re still all people. There’s absolutely no reason to treat people differently.”

You May Also Like

Elaine Myrback is living and leading with a zest for life

To underestimate her would be a big mistake. Big, huge, mistake.  Elaine Myrback doesn’t mince words. She’s not interested in following the status quo and she has no time for

How Cliff Scott found a second chance in business and in life

The story starts with a man. He was homeless but not entirely hopeless, not yet, though he tried to be, on more than one occasion. But God had a plan.

Jim Norman’s winding road of success

He could be called a boomerang surgeon.  Physician Jim Norman was a surgeon, quit practicing to pursue the dot-com boom of the 1990s and, later, returned to surgery. One might

How Trevor Burgess keeps winning, even when the waters may seem rough 

He’s known as the “first” in a lot of publications and while he feels pride to hold such a label, he doesn’t let it define him or his business achievements

Other Posts

What you should know about estate planning (PHOTOS)

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth held a Women of Influence panel discussion on the topic of estate planning, at Five Labs, in Tampa.  Bridgette Bello, chief executive officer and publisher

Florida Blue names two new market leaders in the Tampa Bay region

Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, recently announced the addition of two veteran health care executives to the West Florida team as market leaders. Market Leader

St. Petersburg charity, Lillian Bay Foundation, supports Cystic Hygroma treatment for children by leveraging cryptocurrency

A common belief of a persevering mindset is, “Where there is a will, there’s a way.” Brad Beatty, inspired by his daughter’s dire struggle with Cystic Hygroma, founded The Lillian

How Steve Frey created the ‘Airbnb for Business’ and his plans to bring the offering directly to consumers

Steve Frey has had a ‘meh’ opinion of the corporate world from an early age. He watched his father, after many years with an employer, experience a layoff and it