Ecommerce company becomes employee-owned

Posted by on 30 Apr 2021

Image: Ecommerce company becomes employee-owned

Photo © Mark Januszewski

A home, kitchen and garden eCommerce company with a warehouse in Rochdale is now owned by its employees. After a record-breaking year DOMU Brand’s co-founders Mark Januszewski and Craig Foster have put the 11-year-old business into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The company, which is better known for its brands VonHaus, VonShef and BTFY, has a head office in Manchester and a warehouse in Stakehill Industrial Estate. DOMU grew turnover to around £75m in 2020 and Mr Januszewski said now was the right time to change the ownership structure.

He said: “Craig and I had explored other possible transactions in the past, however they didn’t feel right for DOMU Brands at this moment in time. “During the last 18 months we’ve had a large focus on developing our company values and team engagement.

“The EOT structure felt like a perfect fit for us and a great next step in developing that sense of ownership across the team.”

DOMU Brands employ 115 people and the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) bought 51 per cent of the company from the co-founders. Despite the change Mr Januszewski will remain as the CEO and Mr Foster will stay on as the buying and quality director.

The CEO explained: “We opted to sell the minimum qualifying percentage as we strongly believe in the future success of DOMU Brands (so) are very invested.

“Our team is split across our head office in the centre of Manchester and our warehouse team at Stakehill, with both locations having a fantastic mix of talent and experience.

“Throughout all the years of running DOMU Brands, I’ve never had a group that feels so passionate about the business’s success. “Whilst we’ve got great individuals there really is a sense of team, with everyone trying to help each other. We’re now looking forward to getting the right balance of home and office working to further develop this team spirit.”

The company has based its warehouse in Rochdale since 2017.

“When we moved to the site, we certainly saw the opportunity that Stakehill offered, with great access to motorway networks and the local workforce,” said Mr Januszewski.

“Our warehouse is such a vital part of the business and its location is key to the success. The last year has been a particular challenge for the warehouse team as we have navigated Covid-19.

“During this time, we managed to keep the business operating whilst, more importantly, ensuring the safety of our team members; something that I think was navigated extremely well.

“With this move to EOT status, I’m extremely excited about what the future holds. We’ve got a fantastic business and our success is down to our amazing team. I can’t wait to further grow the value of the business and share it with those that make it happen.”

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