Drew Goodall lives comfortably today, easily taking in £250,000 every year as a result of the success of his Sunshine Shoeshine company which almost exclusively employs homeless people and those with special needs. But while it may seem that Drew lives an especially charmed life nowadays, he will never forget the time when he himself rock bottom.
In his twenties, Drew was on the brink of a promising burgeoning career in film after securing roles in blockbusters such as Snatch and About a Boy, starring Hugh Grant. However, after this early success, the work began drying up under the pressure of cruel reviews and Drew began to run out of money. He made the decision not to go back to his parents’ home as he felt that if he did he would be admitting that his dream was dead. Unfortunately, the result of this was that he was that when he was evicted from his home, he had nowhere else to go and he was forced onto the streets for six months.
Drew’s early experiences on the streets of London were brutal. He describes begging for food as a matter of desperate survival, sleeping in cardboard boxes and the violence inflicted on him by drunks and other homeless people.
In a bid to earn some extra money, Drew decided to offer a service to the so often apathetic Londoners who walked past him every day. He decided to polish shoes and offered the service to London’s affluent business community, all the while carefully evading the police who are known to liberally use hawking laws to penalize homeless people in the most well to do areas of the city.
After six months, one of his regular customers suggested that Drew could set up his tiny shop in the lobby of his office. This proved to be a formative moment for Drew and he began to make more and more money – enough to get him off the streets.
Drew decided to expand his one man operation into a real business which he called Sunshine Shoeshine which branched out in office places across the city of London employing dozens of people, almost all of who have experienced homeless or who have special needs. Drew also donates a significant proportion of his personal salary to charity, never forgetting the journey of hardship and deprivation he had to endure to get to where he is today.