Leeds Entrepreneur Is In Control After Crown House Move

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Custom Controllers, a manufacturer of customised gaming controllers set up by a business student, has moved its operations into a new Leeds Business Centre.

Entrepreneur Ben Lawton, who is 21-years-old, first set up Custom Controllers to pay his university fees. The company has now taken up residence in the recently-opened Crown House Business Centre. The startup company is among the first batch of tenants to have moved into the Armley Road complex, opened by the Malik House Business Centres group last year.

Custom Controllers, which makes more than 350 designs for gaming controllers, is carrying out its assembly, sales and marketing, administration and dispatch operations from the new headquarters. Staff are dealing with monthly sales of around 150 units, with a peak of over 1,000 a week over Christmas. Turnover has risen to over £500,000 p/a.

Ben, who is the company’s managing director as well as a professional model and club DJ, started the business while he was at Leeds Trinity University, selling the units on eBay to fund his degree. The business has also been boosted by a number of celebrity endorsements. The list of high-profile associates include: Dragons Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, YouTube sensations KSI and The Sidemen and the musician JME. Ben has also clinched deals with major brands like Nike and Konami, among others.

Malik House Business Centres carried out a £1m refurbishment to convert Crown House into a state-of-the-art complex with 30 serviced office suites, meeting rooms, storage units, hot-desking facilities and virtual offices, as well as meeting and events catering. The initial move into Crown House enabled Custom Controllers to take on four extra staff, bringing the permanent team to 12 as well as accommodating additional part-time rota staff to cover Christmas orders.

Ben said: “We were expanding rapidly and needed more space. A friend recommended the new Crown House Business Centre which is a great location quite close to the city centre but without the hassle. We have everything we need here, including free parking and Superfast Broadband which is essential to our business, as we do most of our sales and marketing on social media.”

“The beauty of getting in here early is that we are free to grow. The suite we’d taken looked really big but once we started getting in the extra stock and staff for Christmas, we were tripping over each other and realised we’d need extra space. Because we were then given a double-sized suite which was literally next door, we were able to move everything over in the middle of the night without eating into our business hours – and we still have room for future expansion.”

Sheraz Malik, director of Malik House Business Centres, added: “We are always keen to support up-and-coming young entrepreneurs, who will be leading lights in business well into the future, so we were very proud to welcome Ben and his team. What he has achieved in such a short time is extremely impressive and it gives us a great deal of satisfaction that our facilities will help this young company to grow and thrive even further. Our tenants also have the benefit of being part of the Yorkshire Enterprise Network business community which will help Ben and his team to forge even more important relationships. I’m certain he will use this to his company’s best advantage.”

Businesses wanting to move into our Crown House site, or any Malik House center should contact Sheraz Malik at the Oakwood Court business centre in Bradford on 01274 303900.