I run business from shed to survive | City & Business | Finance

The novel move to take out a unit in Birkenhead instead of Liverpool city centre has allowed Owen Drew Luxury Candles to turn a profit in its first year of trading.

With a vegan bakery having moved into the unit next door, the industrial estate has become an unlikely shopping destination due to its ease of access and free parking.

Drew Cockton, the owner of the home fragrance business, believes other businesses will have to follow suit in the future due to the cost of high street business rates and rents.

Mr Cockton, 32, started making candles from his Wirral home around a year ago and selling them at craft fairs or through social media.

But the vegan soy wax candles were so popular he started looking for a shop to rent in Liverpool.

“The rents at Liverpool One in the city centre were very expensive and in Chester were even worse,” he said.

“So I took the decision to open my shop away from the high street on an industrial estate a 10 minute drive from the city centre.

“We opened in March and covered that year’s rent on our first morning. Despite not having any footfall in the area thanks to our social media following, our customers don’t mind travelling here. This has really become a ‘destination’ for shopping.”

Mr Cockton, who employs eight members of staff, including three apprentices, feels more retailers will have to move away from the high street to thrive unless the Government addresses the issue of rents and business rates.

He said: “A store in the city, will cost up to £150,000 a year, with rates of £15,000. Our rent is £4,000 a year and we are below the business rates threshold, so don’t have to pay them.”

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