Based in Wirral, Drew Cockton launched his luxury fragrance business Owen Drew in 2016 and he impressed the Dragons’ Den panel with his recovery from a breakdown. Tony McDonough reports
Merseyside entrepreneur Drew Cockton has secured a £50,000 investment for his luxury fragrance business after appearing on the BBC show Dragons’ Den.
One of the Dragons, retail magnate Touker Suleyman, has made the investment in exchange for a 30% equity stake in Drew’s Wirral-based venture, Owen Drew, which he launched five years ago.
Owen Drew offers scented candles, luxury soaps, perfumes, bath oils and other home fragrance and bath and body products. The idea for the business came when Drew noticed how mass produced-candles could damage walls and furniture in the home as they burned.
He began making his own candles, sourcing vegan soy wax and blending it with essential oils to produce his own fragranced candles. He sold to friends and family and then at craft fairs.
The launch of the website saw a clamour for his products from as far afield as Australia and the United Arab Emirates and customers have included Paris Hilton. They are now also stocked in almost 40 outlets across the UK.
Appearing on the hit show on Thursday evening, Drew impressed the Dragons by discussing his previous mental health issues. He explained why these were the driving force behind the creation of his business and why the concept of wellness is so important to him.
He told how at the age of 22, opened a hotel business on Manchester’s trendy Canal Street. He explained: “I was totally inexperienced. I was working so hard that I actually made myself quite ill and had a breakdown.”
Undeterred by his experience, Drew, now 35, started Owen Drew from home. He now has sales in excess of £1m. Drew is also organising the first-ever North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards taking place in September this year.
Drew added: “Because of my previous experience in business, I understand burnout and take mental health wellness seriously. Owen Drew is about taking time out for yourself to practice self-care whether it be a candlelit bath or an early night. All the things I should have been doing when I was 22.”
Sales ‘self-care’ packages, including sleep mists, bath oils and relaxing candles soared during the pandemic as people took self-care more seriously. Drew said: “I really hope that there has been a sea change and people are learning to slow down and take time out for themselves”
With the help of Touker Suleyman, the brand now has its sights on international expansion, particularly the Middle East, US and Japan.