Mrs Hinch’s rise to fame – struggling hairdresser to UK’s richest cleanfluencer with £1m farmhouse
Sophie Hinchliffe, aka Mrs Hinch, has 4.6 million Instagram followers, the cleaning products she shares instantly sell out, and she has four best-selling books to her name, with her first children’s book, Welcome To Hinch Farm, out this week.
It’s an incredible success story for the girl from Basildon, Essex, who battled crippling anxiety and self-doubt while training to be a hairdresser in her early twenties.
Now paid as much as £25,000 per post to plug products, the 32-year-old earned an estimated £3 million last year with much of her appeal linked to her down-to-earth persona as much as her cleaning hacks.
Mrs Hinch never tires of telling her followers how much she loves a bargain, or ‘barg’ as she puts it, and her clothes are Tesco not Tom Ford. Her family life is just as fruitful. Last year, the queen of cleaning moved into a sprawling £1 million five-bedroom farmhouse in the Essex countryside with husband Jamie, their sons Ronnie, three, and Lennie, one, and pooch Henry (who has 262,000 of his own Instagram followers).
“Hinch Farm”, as it’s known, boasts a grand wooden staircase, stables and extensive grounds with a treehouse. It’s also home to their alpacas Roy, Rodney and Raymond, and chickens Peggy, Pam and Pat. The emotional departure from their modest detached home in Maldon, Essex, where her Instagram account was born inspired the narrative of her first children’s book, published by Puffin.
Welcome To Hinch Farm sheds light on the emotional true life story of the heartbreak Ronnie and Lennie (and dog Henry) felt about the big house move, and how they learned to love their new home by creating new memories, sending a comforting message that while change can be scary, with family by your side, you can face anything.
“This is by far the most sentimental and heartwarming project I have ever had the joy of working on,” said Sophie ahead of its publication. “My own children’s book. My heart is literally bursting with pride. A story I plan to hand down to generations to come and one I know so many families will be able to relate to. Our journey, which you have all been along with us for many years. A journey which my family and I have really lived is now a storybook for us to pass down.”
Compassionate Sophie gave her £600,000 Maldon property to a lucky family rent-free after moving into her luxurious farmhouse. “We haven’t sold it – we’re not renting out the house, we are just handing our keys over to an incredible family to start a new chapter in their lives so they too can build a life they have also dreamed of,” she confirmed to fans in a Q&A.
The cleanfluencer had previously sworn that she would never leave their original house, but revealed how their privacy had been violated and they needed to take action.
“Jamie had wanted to move for a while, due to a privacy issue which came about after we had extended the house,” she explained last year. “I was in such a mess because I didn’t want to move. I was crying to him, saying this is my home, I didn’t want to lose it.
"I was in a really really low place. If only some people knew how much their selfish actions affect others. But they will not win! I will always love this house, but I will make Hinch Farm our forever home, where the boys will be so safe, and we will feel comfortable again.”
Sophie – whose dad is a project director for a building company and whose mum works for the local florist in the little Essex village where she grew up – met Jamie aged 23 while working in recruitment in London. When she and Jamie moved into their first house, she started a private Instagram account to show it off.
In March 2017, she created another public account called @MrsHinchHome, where she initially posted interior inspiration and cleaning tips, sharing snaps of her famously grey aesthetic. “I was worried I might be boring friends and family who might not want to see my karate cushions, so I set up one purely dedicated to my home.” It took off like a rocket and saw brands queuing up to work with her – but Sophie wasn’t always “Mrs Hinch”.
During her early to mid-twenties, she had worked in a variety of other areas, including being a hairdresser, a waitress and a nursery assistant, and suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. She discovered that cleaning was her ultimate coping mechanism, saying, “I would then get up and grab a cloth or a mop or a Hoover and just start going.”
In 2020, she revealed how insecurity over her weight led her to have a £6,000 gastric band fitted aged 21 after dining out on junk food, saying, “Before I knew it, I was eating for what felt like eating’s sake.
I was getting pizzas and deliveries. I love food even now.”
She hit rock bottom when she couldn’t fit in a ride at a fairground and said, “It hit me… the stares, the way people look at you”. She subsequently lost eight stone, but the operation left her needing emergency surgery. Two years after the gastric band was inserted, she was left in crippling pain after it slipped and ended up being lodged in her oesophagus. She was admitted to hospital and underwent an emergency operation to move it back up. The band is still inside her, but is now unclipped so doesn’t work.
Speaking of her regret of having the band fitted in the first place, she said, “The surgery works for some people. But for me, if I had known the complications and the risks, I wouldn’t have done it.”
She added, “Body shaming angers me, because even if you lose the weight you never forget the comments. I’m still not 100% confident with my body but I’m getting there.”
Husband Jamie has been her rock throughout. He popped the question on their fourth anniversary together, proposing in dramatic style with a surprise helicopter ride. “As we were coming in to land he had arranged for both our immediate families to gather together ready for our landing,” revealed Sophie. “Together our families held a large banner reading ‘Sophie Barker will you marry me’. I turned back to look at him and he was down on one knee.”
The pair married at Gosfield Hall, a former royal residence in the heart of rural Essex in 2018, and had a fairy-tale wedding with little quirks, including naming each of the tables after Beyoncé songs.
“I have a secret obsession with Beyoncé,” she shared, “So the table names were Beyoncé songs… it had to be done. And I wore a lovely silver necklace and earrings from Next, some lovely white lace underwear and because my dress was so big I managed to wear some flat lace ballerina shoes with satin ribbon ties. They were a life saver as my feet didn’t ache at all at the end of a long day.”
The couple welcomed their sons Ronnie in June 2019 and Lennie in May 2021. Her 2020 memoir, This Is Me, is a gut-wrenching account of the highs and lows of fame, and significantly the trolling of her looks, her parenting and her kids.
“They message saying, ‘Your baby should be moving more, he should have more teeth.’ They’re even horrible about my dog! It turns my gut and takes my breath away; it makes me want to scream and cry,” she said at the time.
“I know I should ignore them, but when you get told the same thing over and over again, like, ‘Your voice is horrendous,’ ‘Your face is wonky,’ or, ‘Your hands are disgusting,’ there’s only so many times you can ignore it without wondering if it’s true.”
Sophie is managed by Gleam Futures, the team behind social-media superstars such as Zoella and Tanya Burr, but turns down scores of invitations to events. “I decline nearly all TV appearances. I hide away. I’m probably the worst person for this to have happened to because I’ve always been such a worrier,” she added.
Her biggest fear, she said, is that fame will alter her everyday life. “I was so happy before Instagram. I don’t want my life to change. I’ve had many opportunities – regular slots on daytime TV and all that – but that’s not me. Maybe in the future, but not now,” she said.
Welcome To Hinch Farm is expected to be another bestseller and Mrs Hinch already has a firm fan in her best friend, Stacey Solomon. The TV personality, 33, and Sophie have often unfairly been pitted against each other due to their similar content on their channels, but have always insisted there is no competition between them, just friendship.
They recently teamed up for the last episode in Stacey’s new series of her BBC show Sort Your Life Out.
Showering Sophie in praise over Welcome To Hinch Farm, Stacey said she couldn’t wait to read it to her youngest children Rex, three, and one-year-old Rose, who she shares with husband Joe Swash.
“So proud of you,” Stacey wrote on Instagram. “This is such an incredible achievement and the most beautiful book and memory for you and your family. I know you don’t believe it sometimes but you’re such an incredible woman, mother and author, love you. And I can’t wait to read this to Rex and Rose.”
Rumour has it that the pair became friends in 2019 after giving birth within a month of each other: Stacey welcomed Rex, her third son, in May and Sophie had her first, Ronnie in June. The famous mums quickly bonded over their shared interests in organisation, tidying and parenthood.
Stacey’s unexpected fifth pregnancy, which she announced in December, has subsequently shifted a spotlight onto Sophie, with fans asking whether she’ll follow suit. Sophie previously said that she wants more children, but only when she can devote her time to them fully.
Shooting down immediate pregnancy speculation, she said this month, “Aww sorry but you’ll be waiting years I’m afraid [laughing emoji] I’m gonna have newborn snuggles with pickles instead xxx”
Welcome to Hinch Farm, the first children’s book by Mrs Hinch and illustrated by Hannah George, is published by Puffin on 2 February
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