By Hollie Bone
A bloke has walked away from his high-powered aerospace job after a business he started in his BEDROOM made him a millionaire before the age of 27 – in part thanks to Love Island.
Former teenage businessman Ed Snelson, from Chester, Cheshire, first started his million-pound enterprise Signature Printing at home after dropping out of university in 2013.
But the savvy entrepreneur had also landed a place on the highly sought after Airbus apprenticeship scheme, and began running his fledgling business at the same time as working demanding hours in the job.
Now, Ed has left the role after his business began turning over more than £1 million of sales annually and claims the modern boom for personalised items is one of the reasons for his success – after named makeup bags and water bottles were popularised by Love Island.
The rise of the reality TV show is one of the reasons why Ed – who wears a £4,000 Breitling Super Ocean Heritage watch, drives a £35,000 Audi A5 S-Line, and jets off on holidays at least once a month with girlfriend Lucy Edwards, 25 – said his company has seen such a boom in name-stamped items.
The humble 27-year-old said: “I have quite high ambitions about what I want to earn, obviously having money does allow you to go on nice holidays and have nice clothes and cars but it’s not just about the material things, it’s the freedom money can buy.
“My business brings in seven figures a year, this year it will make £1.5 million and next year it will be £2.1 million.
“We do see references to popular culture coming through, things like reality TV definitely have an effect on what consumers want.
“A couple of years ago the demand to have your name on a plastic water bottle or makeup bag was first super high, popularised by Love Island, and at the time we got loads of orders for them.
“Now we sell personalised tote bags, make up bags, PE bags for kids and all sorts of stuff. It’s really popular for things like hen do’s.”
The young managing director has been running his business for six and a half years now, selling a range of personalised items for all kinds of occasions.
But there’s been lots of long hours and hard work along the way – after leaving school with two A’s and one C in his A-Levels, Ed went on to study Business and Economics at Liverpool John Moore’s University, but dropped out after just four months.
Following advice from his parents, Ed applied to start a three year apprenticeship at Airbus in their supply chain and logistics department, but only a week into it, he knew it wasn’t for him.
Despite his doubts, Ed completed the apprenticeship while running his printing business from home, sometimes working 16 hour days into the early hours of the morning to build up his labour of love.
But by the end of the apprenticeship, Signature Printing was making the entrepreneur so much money he chose to follow his dreams and walk away.
Ed said: “I have always wanted to be self-employed and dreamed of owning a business.
“It kind of started in school when I was 16 – every year the school ran a young enterprise project to give the students a taste of what it was like to run a business.
“I put myself forward as managing director and we created a business selling personalised hoodies and t-shirts.
“We ended up doing really well and making a few grand out of it. I thought ‘there’s something in this’ and knew that I could move forward with it.
“After school I went down the traditional route and went to uni but I ended up dropping out four or five months later and got my apprenticeship with Airbus.
“There were only two of us who got onto the scheme out of hundreds of applicants but I knew only a few weeks into the apprenticeship that it wasn’t for me and that I wanted to get back to running business and doing what I love.
“So I started Signature Printing while I was at Airbus in my bedroom at my parents’ house.
“I was coming home from an eight hour shift at the company and doing another eight hour shift until the early hours of the morning for my own company, processing orders and getting them ready for delivery.
“I was on an apprenticeship salary of £18,000 and I knew that if I stayed on at Airbus my salary would go up to about £26,000 but my business was already making more than that for me so I decided to walk away at the end of the three years, it made perfect sense.”
The venture has given the business owner a lavish lifestyle jetting off to destinations all over the world, but Ed maintains there is no secret to success – it’s just hard work, adding that he’d rather spend time progressing his business than go out drinking.
He said: “There’s no secret to success, it’s hard work and commitment. That’s something I feel I have always known.
“If you want to go into business and have success at a young age it’s not going to be an easy journey.
“It’s going to take years of putting in hard work at a time when your peers are probably at university and partying or in the early stages of a career and not taking it seriously.
“I’m a very sociable person but I would happily sacrifice going out drinking to stay in and work to progress my business to the next level.”