A business leader in Worksop has created a multi-million-pound garden buildings company from scratch after his dreams of running the family firm were dashed.
Charles Walton had hoped to become the fifth generation to run his family’s shed manufacturing business, which dated back to 1878, only for his father and uncle to sell it.
Undeterred, Charles launched Kybotech, an e-commerce company specialising in garden buildings, and he then created the BillyOh garden buildings brand.
Now the firm is recognised as a market leader in sheds and garden buildings, with a turnover of £23 million a year and more than 220 employees.
BillyOh operates from a 20-acre site on the Dukeries Industrial Estate in Worksop and sells more than 165,000 items online through the specialist website, GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk
The key to his success has been pinning his faith in the internet, which was only in its infancy when his father and uncle decided to sell up.
Charles said: “Lots of people told me customers would only buy sheds in person. But I could see the potential for selling them exclusively online.”
He now owns one of the leading online retail businesses, which makes one in every eight sheds sold in the UK.
CHARLES’S entrepreneurial spirit derives from his Victorian great-great grandfather, EC Walton, who was a lecturer in beekeeping and spotted a gap in the market for affordable hives.
EC Walton and Co, the company he founded, soon moved into garden buildings and became one of the UK’s leading shed manufacturers. The firm still trades today, but Charles’s family is no longer involved. Instead, he is at the forefront of his own success story.
He said: “More than 140 years after my great-great grandfather launched his business, it has been very rewarding to make a success of traditional wooden garden buildings all over again.”