Dragon’s Den star Drew Cockton shared an Instagram post about bosses helping staff “feel comfortable being open about their lives without fear of judgment,” hours before he died at age 36.
Drew Cockton, who secured a £50,000 investment for his scented candle business while impressing the Dragons with his honesty about his mental health battles when he appeared on the BBC1 show last year, died ‘peacefully at home’, his mother said.
Cockton’s last Instagram post before his death talked about companies that make staff feel comfortable enough to be authentic and do “simple things” to create a safe environment.
“Businesses large and small should encourage their staff to feel comfortable being their true and authentic selves,” he captioned a photo of his smiling face.
“It’s been proven by economists to increase productivity and profitability, so both economically and morally, there’s an incentive to do that.
“Simple things like taking the time to learn what pronouns your employees want to use and creating an environment where they feel comfortable being open about their life outside of work without fear of judgment are key.”
Commenting on the post, Paris Hilton wrote: ‘Stunned to hear the news from my friend & #LittleHilton @mrowendrew.
Dragon’s Den star Drew Cockton wrote this Instagram post hours before his death
Paris Hilton later commented on the post after his death, speaking of her devastation
Entrepreneur Drew Cockton, who earned a £50,000 investment in his scented candle business on Dragon’s Den, has died aged 36
Mr Cockton impressed the Dragons with his honesty about his mental health when he appeared on the BBC show last year
“He was so kind with a heart of gold. My heart breaks for his loved ones and family. I send them all my condolences and lots of love. RIP dear soul. I love you forever, my friend.’
Tributes poured in after the announcement of his death, including one who said, “Rest in peace Drew. Completely shocked and sad. Thank you for your kindness, you will be forever remembered as a very driven and passionate businessman with a heart of gold to deal with.
Another said: ‘I can’t believe today’s sad news. Unbelievable to lose such light in these dark days. I hope he rests in peace and someone continues his good work.’
Mr Cockton had quit his pressured corporate job to focus on his candle making business.
The success of his vegan fragrance brand Owen Drew soared after he received a £50,000 investment from Toulker Suleyman, and even received the endorsement of socialite Paris Hilton and reality star Gemma Collins.
But his mother said yesterday that she is “really, utterly heartbroken” to announce that her “beautiful boy” passed away peacefully at home.
In a post on Facebook, Kate Drew wrote: “We are incredibly heartbroken. Life will never, ever be the same. Rest in peace sweet boy.’
Friends and relatives have described Mr Cockton as a ‘kind and caring person’ with a ‘heart of pure gold’ in tribute.
Cockton created the world’s most expensive candle designed to celebrate Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018 (pictured)
The 36-year-old, from Wirral, Merseyside, founded vegan fragrance brand Owen Drew in 2017 after quitting his busy business job to turn his hobby of candle making into a business.
He claimed to have made the world’s most expensive candle designed to celebrate Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018, after details of the bride’s floral arrangements and bouquet were released. Housed in 24 carat gold barrels, they sell for £750 and contain some of the most expensive oils and perfumes on the planet.
Giving a pitch to the Dragons on the BBC show last year, Cockton impressed them with how candid he was about his bipolar disorder – so much so that retail mogul Touker Suleyman agreed to invest £50,000 in the venture in exchange for a stake. of 30 percent.
Mr Cockton had quit his job under great pressure to focus on his candle making
In an interview with FEMAIL last year, Mr. Cockton admitted that he might have been stuck in an unsatisfactory office job had he not been fighting his own challenging health battles that led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
He told MailOnline: ‘I am very creative by nature and there is no doubt that certain features of living with bipolar have helped me rather than hindered me.
“My sense of risk is very low, it’s not something I worry about, so it works for me and drives me forward.
“Every case of bipolar is different and it’s more of a spectrum so I tend to have six month cycles where I’m going to feel pretty flat, but because I’m on medication it’s not really depression, it’s just a very low time.
‘Then I have six months in which I have a lot of energy and I am very productive, I want to take on challenges and do new things and feel very creative.
“Once I’m in that mindset, I’m focused and when I decide to do something, I do it. That’s where bipolar helps me, and the lack of concern about taking risks has led me to go to Dragons’ Den – I don’t think I would have done it any other way.”
After graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in German and politics, he became a postgraduate at the university’s business school.
But as the country struggled to recover from the grip of the 2008 financial crisis, jobs were scarce.
Cockton drew up a business plan, earned money from a bank, and opened a 13-room bed and breakfast called EazySleep on Canal Street. But less than a year later, Drew’s dreams were shattered when he had to close it.
He admitted he was “sadly inexperienced,” adding: “I was doing the work of about 10 people and eventually I got burned out and had a breakdown.
Drew, pictured right with Michael Skeggs, left, talked about how bipolar disorder drove him to make a huge success of his luxury candle business
Owen Drew sold bath oils, perfumes, soaps and several other premium wellness fragrance products
‘I was very depressed, lost all my hair, was very anxious and had constant trembling hands. My mother could see that I was really not feeling well, so I went to a family doctor who referred me to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. I was 23.
“I was a bit of a zombie at the time, so I didn’t really feel anything about the diagnosis; I just existed and it’s all a bit fuzzy.’
With the right medication, Mr. Cockton slowly started to get better and rebuild his life. For the next seven years he worked for various companies and used his fluent German to manage accounts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for various blue chip organizations.
He said, “It was fine as a job, but I hated those environments. I hated the toil, the passive-aggressive emails from middle managers, I hated the entire corporate world and it didn’t make me happy or fulfill me.
“As a creative outlet, I started making candles, just as a hobby, but people started calling at the house, reaching out on social media to buy them, and it snowed from there.”
In January 2017, he decided to take a gamble, quit his job and focus on starting a business.
After a few months, his then-partner Mike Skeggs, 29, took his job in investment to become his business partner and they opened their first store on a trading estate in Birkenhead, embracing the ‘industrial chic’ look.
After appearing on Dragon’s Den, Owen Drew expanded into bath oils, perfumes, soaps, and several other high-end wellness fragrance products.
And even the Princess of Wales is said to have a fondness for the brand. Cockton claimed that a Buckingham Palace butler bought six of his £35 Anglesey candles as gifts for Kate.