How brothers built business from selling Argos stock in shed to £2m turnover

The CNC Group warehouse. Inset (L-R): Jamie and Ollie Cox. Picture: CNC Group

The CNC Group warehouse. Inset (L-R): Jamie and Ollie Cox. Picture: CNC Group - Credit: CNC Group

Two brothers have transformed their lives having grown their business selling Argos clearance stock out of a leaky shed into a £2 million gifting company.

Ollie and Jamie Cox founded of the CNC Group which specialises in glass branding, personalisation and merchandising.

The pair launched their Brandon-based business three and a half years ago, each investing £100 to buy surplus Argos stock and later using profits to purchase an engraving machine.

Within a month Jamie, 26, had quit his job in IT and was working in the three-by-three-metre shed full-time.

"I was living about an hour and a half away in Suffolk, and I remember sitting in this £200 van we had bought for deliveries and just crying," he said. "When we moved to our second shed - this time in Ollie's mother-in-law's garage - we bought a thermometer and it used to get down to -10 degrees. We would buy aquarium heaters to keep the water warm enough to use in our equipment."

The business now operates out of two warehouses (both with heating) which are 1,500 square foot and 10,000 square foot apiece.

"There have been times where we've wondered what we're doing," Jamie added. "About a year into the business Ollie had twin girls and was getting 30 minutes of sleep a night and was then coming to work. I once worked a 21-hour shift because we had a big order we needed to get out."

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"We've only just started paying ourselves more than the staff - for a while we paid the staff more than ourselves."

The brothers have big plans for the future, having turned over £1.5 million last year and are on-track to turnover more than £2 million this year. "We'd like to open shops," James said. "We have a shop at the warehouse where people can come and watch their products being personalised, but we'd like to do that in other places.

"We've also just launched an app where you can personalise your product and see in real-time what your item is going to look like."