A SINGLE dad who dropped out of college is now hoping to make it big in the world of online sales.

Ellis Wesson, 27, from Newhaven set up Wesson and Co from his bedroom after deciding on a beach abroad that his life needed a change in direction.

He created a jewellery and watch brand which the budding entrepreneur hopes to take to new height in 2018.

He said: “Taking the jump and quitting my full-time job in business development to create a new brand was a scary and intimidating time but I have never looked back.

“In a short period time I have taken the brand to new heights with an audience of more than 100,000 followers across the world.

“My plan for 2018 will be to break in to the retail market in the UK and partner with some top high street fashion retailers.

“There has been many ups and downs along the way but I can now see success in the distance.”

It’s not been easy for Ellis who was born in Brighton and lived in Peacehaven and Worthing before moving to Newhaven.

He studied electronics at City College (now The Met) before his girlfriend at the time became pregnant when he was just 17.

He said: “Even at that age when I was a teenager I always had a goal to run my own business and to do something for myself.

“In those early days I was a baker and I was organising events in nightclubs but that was tiring working unsociable hours while I had yo look after my daughter as well,

“I then worked for an estate agents before becoming a business development manager for the Richmond group.

“But it was on a beach in Mexico that I realised my life had to take a different direction.

“I was lying on the beach watching people walk by and it suddenly clicked. Everyone had a watch on.”

And that was the start of Wesson and Co.

He came back after the holiday and decided that he needed to put his plan into action.

He said: “The focus was going to be on watches, wrist jewellery and bracelets.

“A good website was going to be key as was sourcing the products that I was going to design.

“I made some great contacts in China, we had a number of Skype meetings and that was it really.

“The quality of the stock was important. I go for designs which I consider to be just that little bit different, tweaking the latest fashion themes.

“Spreading the message has also been really important.

“I have used Instagram, social media, Facebook advertising and blogging.

“Some of the influential bloggers have been right behind me spreading awareness of the brand.

“It was all about slowly growing the brand and that is what I have achieved.

“I also knew that I needed new designs and new ideas, and one of these is a new anchor bracelet which has gone down really well.

“The anchor is really important. It’s a message about being anchored to things that you love and to be grounded as well.”

Ellis says that his watches appeal because they are lightweight and durable. Some have different straps so that your watch can look different every day of the week.

He said: “They are quality, they are minimal and slim.

“My customers come from all over the world, literally, and are probably within the 18-45 age group.

“My main markets are the US, Saudi Arabia, Europe and, of course, the UK.”

Now he wants to sell direct to the big retail stores.

He said: “This is where I see my market progressing. I am going to be targeting the clothing fashion boutiques and my aim is to have the brand in 100 stores in the UK alone.

“And then in 2019 I want to go direct to the major retailers.”

He said working alone at home is a challenge.

He said: “I Love the freedom but it can also be a strain on your mind as well so every day I go the gym for 90 minutes just so that I am talking to other people.”

Ellis was recently featured on Virgin’s website as an example of an entrepreneur creating a brand and understanding how he runs his online business.

This can be found at www.virginstartup.org/how-to/wesson-co-tools-i-use-make-more-sales-my-startup.

He has signed up to a Virgin business programme for start-ups and has received £5,000 funding and will soon be having a personal mentor.

He said: “It’s all looking really positive and I’m very excited at the prospects for 2018 and beyond.”