September 3, 2019

Ellis Smith at a fitness exhibition

My name is Ellis Smith and I am from a town in South Wales called Caerphilly. I am going in to my third year at Cardiff Met, studying BA (Hons) Business & Management.

I recently started my own business, The Barbell Club, which is a fitness wear company whose aim is to break the stigma surrounding mental health and raise awareness. The Barbell Club’s range is clean cut and stylish allowing you to get in a good workout but also to look good meeting friends for coffee after.
I started The Barbell Club for a number of reasons, one of which is because of my love for Crossfit, which I train at least 6 days a week. Crossfit helps me control my mild ADHD and OCD which both have been a part of life for quite some time.

Also, I have always wanted to work for myself and have the freedom of running my own company. I decided I would mix both elements together to help people tackle their own mental health through physical activity and fitness.

Ellis Smith in The Barbell Club Hoodie
Cardiff Met has given me the confidence and support to set up The Barbell Club

I chose to study BA (Hons) Business & Management at Cardiff Met because of my love for business and because Cardiff is a great place to be a young entrepreneur. Wales is a growing hub of talent and innovation. Cardiff School of Management is great and the opportunity to study here was something I couldn’t pass up.
From a young age I would get distracted in school which turned out to be a mild form of ADHD. Sport helped me release energy but when I stopped playing sports due to a part-time job it seemed to return. This impacted my studies and led me to change college courses several times. Finding fitness has helped me channel my energy and helped me focus.

Cardiff Met is a great place to be and there is so much support available if you are struggling with your mental health – reach out and you will get the help you need.

If you are interested in starting your own business then Cardiff Met is a really great place to start! I had access to the Centre for Entrepreneurship and went to a few events in my first year. The knowledge and insight I gained gave me confidence that I could make my ideas into reality. In my second year I got serious about it and I attended the ‘countdown to launch’ event, this was a fantastic week full of speakers, inspiring people and entrepreneurs. I was lucky enough to win some funding of £1000 to put into my business which I am extremely grateful for.

My advice for those wishing to start their own company is you need to find a ‘why’ that goes beyond money. You need to have a burning passion for whatever you want to do. Secondly, just start – put yourself out there and start networking, work on ideas and use every piece of free resource available to you as you need to take opportunities when they come!