'I borrowed £20 to set up a market stall - now I have a property portfolio of half a million pounds'

A successful business owner went from borrowing £20 to set up a market stall to raise money for Christmas to owning a property portfolio worth half a million pounds.

By Shawna Healey, Meta Community Reporter
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 4:47 pm
Scott began trading on the market stalls in 2018.
Scott began trading on the market stalls in 2018.

After being unfairly dismissed from his job as a solar panel fitter for one of the biggest

suppliers in Europe, Scott Oldroyd, 44, used his compensation money to set up his own

gardening and landscape business in 2015.

Scott moved into the shop on Westmorland Street in 2019.

Scott bought a van and some expensive gardening equipment but a very wet autumn in

2018 meant that there was no work and his money was gone. Spiralling into depression, a

friend of Scott encouraged him to start making Christmas decorations out of bits of logs and

twigs to sell at the market.

Scott began making the ornaments in his shed at home.

Having to borrow £20 to set up the stall, trading on the market got off to a rocky start but

steadily took off with the duo making around £3000 that Christmas on decorations they

made out of scrap bits of wood.

Today, his business, So Wood Ornamentals, is thriving and he boasts a property portfolio of

Scott and his friend made £3000 during their first Christmas on the market.

around half a million pounds, after purchasing the shop’s building and upstairs flats a few

months ago.

The shop, which is found on Westmoreland Street in the city centre, is where Scott makes

and sells his wooden creations, all made out of locally sourced materials where possible.

After appearing on the TV, the dad-of-three has sold his art to clients across the UK

including in Wales and Bristol. He most notably sold £1000 worth of reindeers to a business

Scott said: “I started off at Wakefield Market in 2018, having borrowed £20 to get the stall

going. It was over Christmas and we started selling reindeers and snowmen out of logs.

“I left the market almost a year to the day and moved into the shop in 2019. I took the risk,

and had to borrow a lot of money, to purchase the building off my former landlord.

"The plan was to always buy the building but we expected it would take five or six years, not

within 12 months of being in the shop.”

He added: “I was really struggling in the beginning days on the market, especially during the

first three months.

"People didn’t know us or could trust us but more and more people are

now shopping with us and we’re doing things that I never thought I would do.”

Scott made the decision to move from trading on the market to opening his own shop as it

made more sense financially to be able to work on his products whilst having a storefront as

well as having a number of run-ins with market officers.

He said: “Whenever there is an event in the main precinct, market traders get moved to a

side-street and forgotten about.

“This was happening more and more and I thought it would be better for me to move into a

shop where I could make and sell six days a week. I couldn’t make stuff on the market so I

was losing two days a week.”

Despite being given a G in his GCSE art exams, Scott has always been interested in art and

constructing things out of wood.

As a youngster, he would sometimes work with his dad, who was a kitchen fitter, and would make bird boxes with his grandad in his shed as a little boy.

Scott said: “I used to work with my dad, who was a kitchen fitter and I found out that I hate

working in a factory, so I vowed to never work in one again. I had to find something that I

love - and I love doing this, it doesn’t feel like coming to work which takes a big weight off my

shoulders.

“It was my grandad that influenced me the most, we would build bird boxes and tables every

year from his shed. He would have loved to see what I’m doing now.”

Setting up the business also contributed to Scott managing to overcome difficulties with his

mental health - namely, depression. “We had a really bad autumn with the gardening

business”, he said.

“There was just no work because the weather was so bad and I got myself into a bit of a

depression. I sat there day in and day out playing a game on my phone, rather than getting

up and doing something.

“Sometimes, if I wasn’t feeling right in the morning, I would get back in bed because I didn’t

want to face anything. After losing my van and not working, one of my good friends came

around and cheered me up.

“He told me we could make money by selling ornaments out of wood found in a field, so we

made reindeers and snowmen out of logs. We made about £3000 that Christmas.”

With two sons and a daughter, Scott’s middle child already has his eyes set on taking over

his dad’s business. “My son, Archie, is twelve and is already keen to take over when he

leaves school”, the entrepreneur said.

Following the success of the business, the family is gearing up to move homes, where each

kid will get their own bedroom and Scott will have access to a pond nearby to fish.