LOUIE Wilkinson left school with only one GCSE after constantly being put in detention for his troublesome behaviour.
But now the 17-year-old has made £20,000 and attracted thousands of fans on Instagram after he started selling customised trainers from his bedroom.
Mercury Press Louie Wilkinson sells customised trainers, which he designs in his bedroom
The teen started his business – 1CUSTOMS – three years ago while still at school.
Louie uses his passion for art to create unique painted trainers, which he buys at cut prices and then sells them on for prices ranging from £50 up to £170 a pair.
The teenager, who’s from Radcliffe in Greater Manchester, puts the designs on his website where customers can pick and order a style, and then Louie will make them.
Today he focuses on trainers, but it all started with slider shoes.
Mercury Press His work has got him thousands of fans of social media
‘I’ve made £20,000 since I started’
He said: “I started buying slider shoes and adding my own designs before selling them to mates.
“I’d buy them for about £25 and sell them on for £50 then invest the money in materials.
“I was sharing some of my designs and artwork on Instagram and then someone messaged me on a selling platform asking if they could buy a pair and it went from there.
“I’d say since being at school I’ve made about £20,000.”
Louie, who lives at home with his parents Kelly Hickman, 41 and Eric Wilkinson, 52, said he was never academic and felt “different” at his high school.
Mercury Press He lives with his parents Kelly Hickman and Eric Wilkinson
He even claims he was temporarily excluded from classes after arguing with a teacher who wouldn’t let him sell his trainers in the playground.
But showing his nose for business from an early age, Louie would sell sweets and drawings in the playground.’I hated school as a whole’
Louie said: “I always felt like there was something about me that wasn’t normal and that I was different.
“I was too hyper and I couldn’t concentrate, I wanted to be self-made.
“I hated school as a whole. I felt like I was always getting into trouble and got blamed for things. I’d end up in detention all the time or isolation.”
He claims his teachers said he wasn’t listening, but he preferred drawing.
In primary school, he’d make drawings and sell them for 20p each.
And by high school, he’d go to the supermarket around 6.30am before school to pick up sweets and drinks.
He’d then use social media to let people know what stock he had, and make £200 a week.
“I got a lot of stuff taken off me by the teachers but that didn’t stop me.
Mercury Press In primary school, Louie was selling his own drawings for 20p each
‘I was really anxious about my GCSE’s and only got one pass’
“When it came to my GCSEs, I was really anxious and I did sit some of them but in my English exam I just did a drawing. I came out of school with one GCSE in art.
“When I was put in isolation at school I’d sit there and draw. One of the teachers talked to me about his friend who was an artist and I started to think maybe I could make a living out of it.
“I told all my mates at school I was going to do it and they were like ‘who do you think you are? Picasso?’
“But when I’m creating, it’s really good for the mind. You just focus and there’s nothing else going on.”
Louie uses acrylic paint, leather, scrap metal and money to decorate branded trainers with his unique designs – which include spots, paint splatters, galaxy designs and unicorns.
Mercury Press He sells the customised trainers for up to £170 a pair
‘I want to be a millionaire by 30′
The teenager – who has one older brother and currently designs the shoes as his full-time job – has enjoyed splashing his profits on himself but now hopes to invest the money he makes in future.
He said: “In the past, I ended up spending a lot of the money on myself – on clothes or going out with friends.
“Looking back now, I wish I’d invested it.
“There’s lots of things I want to do. I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30 and change society with my art.
“I also love interior design so would love to get into that.”
Mercury Press The teenager reckons he’s made £20,000 from his business since he started in 2016
Louie’s mum Kelly, a credit controller, said: “We’re really proud of him.
“He never enjoyed school and didn’t really fit in but now he’s doing really well. His bedroom is his workshop.
“He’s definitely going to be a millionaire. Hopefully he’ll remember us when it happens.”
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