Cardiff student reaches 31 million views on TikTok and quits job at Greggs

Ellis Lloyd Jones didn’t think he’d get past 10k followers

Third-year Cardiff student Ellis Lloyd Jones has built a TikTok following during lockdown that’s so big (just a solid 31 million…) he’s been able to quit his job at Greggs.

Ellis started using the app back in October 2019, when the app had “barely anyone using it”. Now he typically gets around ¬£22 every time he gets one million views.

Ellis Lloyd Jones’ TikTok is a familiar favourite for Welsh users of the app, and played on his familiarity among users by creating a video titled “The national tollbooth of Welsh TikTok.

TikTok took off during the first national lockdown, as people looked for ways to entertain themselves while indoors. During that time, Ellis started to see his videos reach more people, first with 5,000, then 10,000 before rocketing to almost one million views.

Since then the third-year Cardiff Uni student has accumulated 4.8 million likes, 31 million views, and 121,100 followers.

Ellis said that while walking through Cardiff people will come up to him and ask if he’s “the boy from TikTok”. “I just don’t see myself like that,” he says.

“To be honest with you, I never expected to get where I am now.” Ellis said that at the beginning, it was a “bit of fun”, and at the time he didn’t want anyone he knew to know he was on TikTok.

“Lockdown happened this year and that’s when it blew up. I posted a video called ‘Celebrities you didn’t know that were Welsh’ and took me from 4k followers to 10k in a week.”

And it’s not just Welsh people watching. “On my account, I have access to something called analytics where you can see where a percentage of your followers are from.” Ellis discovered his breakdown was 88 per cent followers from the UK, 3 per cent from America, and 1 per cent from Australia.

“I honestly can’t believe it! Mostly because I don’t know how they can understand me speaking. I always thought that my content would attract Welsh people but I was wrong clearly!”

The newfound TikTok fame is easy to deal with though, despite his 88 per cent UK based audience. “TikTok hasn’t really changed my life that much, especially with university,” Ellis says. The only change he has noticed is that a few people recognise him on campus, “if I were to walk on campus I’d have people ask me if I was Ellis from TikTok.”

He stresses that the only thing that has changed since being on TikTok and studying at university is that he sometimes can struggle to post as he has work to do.

Ellis is proud to be Welsh and to represent his country on TikTok, which is the subject of many of his videos. “I’d like to think that I have represented Wales on TikTok, but mostly for the Welsh language.” Ellis has done many TikTok’s in Welsh and makes some for one of S4C’s companies, “Hansh”.

“I always love seeing people discovering the Welsh language.” Stating that the best thing about showing people that he can speak Welsh on TikTok is to encourage other people to speak Welsh, “I will always ask people to speak Welsh to me if they can.”

But could he be the next Gavin and Stacey? “Oh god I hope not, I could never replace a national treasure” he joked. “I will say though, I will always get told by English people that I either sound like Nessa or Stacey, I personally don’t see it!”

Moving forward, the rise in popularity has changed Ellis’ plans post-uni, encouraging him to go into media and TV work. “Since being on TikTok I’ve had opportunities to work with S4C and BBC and many other companies which has been crazy.”

As for TikTok, “I guess it will always be a hobby, I could never commit to it full time. I can barely post three times a day!”

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