Search

Towie stars Sam Faiers, Amy Childs and Joey Essex provide business boom for Brentwood

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 February 2014

Amy Childs' Salon

Amy Childs' Salon

PA Archive/Press Association Images

It’s been more than three years since The Only Way is Essex (Towie) first emerged to immortalise the phrases “well jel” and “creepy sick”.

Sugar HutSugar Hut

With 10 series of the ITV2 reality show in the can, the public appetite for the Essex elite is yet to wane, with cast members Sam Faiers, Gemma Collins and Amy Childs cropping up on TV shows Celebrity, Big Brother, Splash! and The Jump respectively over the past few weeks alone.

But it’s not just television land in which these local celebrities are making waves; the show continues to provide an economic boom for Havering and Brentwood.

The show’s latest outfits, haircuts and handbags become must-haves, with bars such as Oliver’s, in Hornchurch High Street, and Kosho, in Romford, attracting crowds through regular appearances from cast members.

Shops have even pinched the show’s title to draw in custom, such as The Only Way Is Tanning, in Hornchurch, and The Only Way Is Elegant, a beauty salon in Chadwell Heath High Road.

Harry, a former Towie star has since become one of many to open his own shop in Brentwood called Harry's World.Harry, a former Towie star has since become one of many to open his own shop in Brentwood called Harry's World.

But there are few high streets more vibrant in Essex on what has been labelled “Tourist Saturdays” than Brentwood’s, and stores don’t come much busier than Minnie’s Boutique, in Ropers Yard.

Run by sisters Sam and Billie Faiers, alongside their mum, Sue, and aunt, Libby Low, the clothes store is a weekend hotbed for schoolgirls and hen parties hoping to spot their favourite star.

“The girls work every Saturday, providing they’re not filming,” explains Libby.

“It’s obviously the biggest day on any high street, but we have a big influx of tourists because of the show.

“Lots of the other cast members have shops like ours now and it’s great for Brentwood to have a bustling high street – especially in this current climate.

“Billie and Sam love it and to see the amount of fans that flock here on a weekend is just overwhelming.”

Minnie’s, which opened three years ago, has had visitors from as far away as Australia pop in during day trips away from their London holidays.

In fact, the tourist trade in Brentwood is booming enough for Towie tours to have become a surprise hit – with bus loads of reality show fans taken up and down the high street, as well as into Loughton and Buckhurst Hill.

Lewis Swan, who runs Brit Movie Tours, is the brains behind the “Towie safari” and says the likes of Joey Essex and Amy Childs opening up stores was catalyst for his eureka moment.

“It is a way for them to meet their fans,” he explains. “We are already fully booked until April and we’ve been going for a couple of years now.

“The people vary, but we do get a lot of hen parties and they come from all over the country.

“It works well for the stars, they get a bus load of people through their doors every Saturday –it’s win-win.”

Many of the stars left jobs as beauticians and bank clerks to join the show, or in the case of 19-year-old Harry Derbidge, dropped out of college.

He appeared in the first three series of Towie, alongside cousin Amy, and is one of those with a Brentwood shop – Harry’s World, in Ongar Road.

Queues regularly stretch along the pavement to rummage through his rails on a weekend, and he says Friday nights are certainly the calm before the storm.

“It’s just mental here on a Saturday, we have people waiting right down the street to get in,” he says.

“I definitely look forward to it on a Friday and we get people coming in with presents for me, wanting their picture taken with me and just wanting to buy something.”

Harry was just 16 when the show started, but his leap of faith to leave his Dagenham college behind paid off and gave him the chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Tom Hanks.

“That has to be the highlight of it all,” he reveals.

“We were all just normal people when they approached us. Filming was very tough, we would finish at 3am and have been at it all day. But you can’t knock it because it’s given us all so much.”

The likes of Sugar Hut, Fusey and Lucy’s Boutique may have turned the high street in to somewhat of a Towie theme park – but the huge increase in footfall is proving that’s no bad thing.

With little sign of fans losing interest, the Towie effect is sure to spread a little further before it ever disappears.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Havering’s A&E department has been given £1million from the Department of Health (DoH), to continue a pioneering project to cut waiting times.

Yesterday, 17:32

A nurse who had never before competed in a race let alone a marathon has raised more than £2,100 for Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Yesterday, 12:50

In an attempt to save lives and deter drivers from breaking speed limits, new sentencing guidelines came into effect yesterday.

Yesterday, 12:00

With obesity in adults and children continually rising, concerns abound not only as to the content of the food we are eating, and how active we are, but also to the medical conditions which can come on as a result.

Yesterday, 11:21

As the dust settles on the London Marathon and participants tend to their aches and pains now is the time to acknowledge the charitable efforts of Havering’s many runners.

Yesterday, 10:16

Major refurbishment works costing more than £1.5million have begun at a leisure centre to improve its facilities.

Yesterday, 07:00

After a busy career catching crooks a former police officer continues to make sure houses stay safe by fitting burglar alarms.

Mon, 16:06

A boxing legend came to Romford on Saturday and proved to be a real knockout with shoppers.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now