Thursday, April 18, 2024

Teenage Thurrock entrepreneur goes from strength to strength

A 16 year old Thurrock entrepreneur is on track to make some serious sales within the gift industry after starting Rhys McArdle Designs at the age of 14.

Rhys McArdle’s brand, Rhys McArdle Designs creates a large range of contemporary Greeting cards and stationery and it all began after pitching 12 designs to his teachers and Principal whilst still in secondary school.

Two years later, he has sold over 18,000 units with his products stocked in over 100 stores worldwide including the UK, Canada, USA and Australia.

In addition to independent and multi-store retailers, his products will be hitting the shelves of national retailers throughout the UK and USA along with worldwide distributors.

In addition, Rhys has an office suite in the USA for his North America customers.

Products range in price from £2.25 – £59.00 and has sold 18,000 units since starting. He plans to sell 50,000 units 2016, increasing to 140,000 units in 2017.

Rhys said: “By 2017, I aim for our products to be stocked in over 350 stores worldwide, however I plan to exceed this after having large interest from big retailers worldwide.

"Because of this, I would like it to be closer to the 500 mark. I plan to create it into a lifestyle brand within the next 18 months, expanding into home, gift, fashion and fragrance”

Rhys believes in charitable giving and is planning to donate £10,000 worth of his Children’s Art Prints to Children’s Charities across the East of England throughout the year.

“It is always good to give something back and is one of the main factors that drives me. It isn’t all about the money, it’s about knowing that while creating a brand, I’m able to support causes close to my heart while having people across the world use my products – that really is a great feeling”

It hasn’t been simple for Rhys with his companies, despite it now slowly coming off the ground.

Rhys said “There has been lots of failures but nobody saw those failures. It hasn’t been simple. I have often thought ‘How am I going to do this? Is it really worth it?’ but with the continued help of family and mentors, I haven’t backed down”

He says

“There’s been a lot of discouragement along the way, but that discouragement continues to drive me. I took a long break from it and it has only been recently that I have come back into full swing with the brand, but I am so glad that I did. We have come too far, I won’t be giving up no matter what comments are thrown at me”

Along with Rhys McArdle Designs, Rhys is a Motivational & Keynote Speaker across the UK in Schools, Colleges and Conferences/Awards Ceremonies, holds a number of other Business interests and often works with various Local Authorities to encourage Enterprise in Education. 

He believes that anybody can achieve anything no matter what background you come from.

He said: “Coming from a single parent background, My Mum and I are very close and she is one of my main inspirations. She picks me up when failures happen and if it wasn’t for her, my businesses wouldn’t exist.”

“Anything can be achieved as long as you have a passion, a love for what you do and a drive, then there is nothing stopping you and don’t let anybody let you think that”

Rhys McArdle Designs products can be purchased online through his website, and welcomes e-mails at


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