A TEENAGER who struggled through school has found his feet after launching a new creative business.

Louie Wilkinson was quite a troublesome pupil in class and found it difficult to engage in mainstream education.

In 2016, during the stresses of Year 11 exam season, Louie turned to art as a form of escape.

The former Philips High School pupil, now aged 17, said: "I was stressed and the only thing I could do in lessons was draw; it kept me focused, and stopped me from getting into trouble, but I still wasn’t doing the work teachers assigned.

"At that point I wasn’t confident I would get any GCSEs. I realised I couldn't sit back and let that limit me. So as exams were starting, I decided to launch 1CUSTOMS with some money I made from selling sweets, chocolates and drinks in school."

The teenager began designing sliders — backless and open-toed sandals — and later developed various other styles of shoe including canvases.

His business has taken off, and his designs are now being showcased via a new dedicated website.

His designs include painted shoes, furniture and prints among other items.

Louie said: "One of my aspirations is to be self-made and eventually venture out into other businesses. I want people to feel inspired by the work I create."

He recently wrote a letter to his former secondary school to tell them about his success.

It reads: "I’m thankful for every situation I was put in and all the teachers who tried helping and me and used not only their time but their patience with me."

Justine Bailey, assistant headteacher, said: "We are extremely pleased as a school to see Louie taking the steps forward to enhance his gift of art. Louie's skills are outstanding and the detail which he puts into his techniques are so unique.

"Louie at times struggled to see what his goal was in school and we did our best to guide him in right direction. It gives us great pride to see he has taken the steps forward to use his expertise and not only has he shown his talent of art but also his professionalism and strength in starting his own business."