In Australia, the Instagram cleanfluencer is still a little-known category, and Facebook is where most of the domestic online community gathers, still holding a candle to Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which became a worldwide phenomenon earlier this year. Here, the most passionate chatter occurs in the groups focussed on levelling-up budget home purchases, like Ikea Hackers (410,000 members) and Kmart Hacks & Décor (244,000 members). These pages are so popular, they even have parody accounts, the fiercest being Kmart Unhacks & Roasts (125,000members), which reposts the most polarising stylistic undertakings with a snarky Joan Rivers-like candour.
The fastest rising market in the world for the cleanfluencer, however, is in the UK. In fact, there’s a whole water-cooler discourse based around one Instagram account in particular, @MrsHinchHome, who has 2.6 million followers and counting. Mrs Hinch is Essex’s Sophie Hinchliffe, a charismatic and unapologetically zany 29-year-old hairdresser-cum-cleanfluencer. Hinchliffe started posting photos of her highly styled home and stories of her cleaning routine in March 2018. By October, she had her own army of followers, or ‘Hinchers’, and was skyrocketing at such a rate she was signed to global Influencer management company Gleam Futures, the same people who look after A-list beauty talents like Zoë Sugg, aka Zoella, who has more than 10 million combined Instagram followers and 11.6 million YouTube subscribers.
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Just a few months ago, Hinchliffe published her first book, Hinch Yourself Happy: All The Best Cleaning Tips To Shine Your Sink And Soothe Your Soul, which was the result of an 11-way bidding war between publishers.
Like Federico, but more prolific, the gold is hidden in Mrs Hinch’s mesmerising, and at times, exhausting stories. Tune in to be taken on one of her ‘Hinch haul’ shopping trips. Watch her bizarrely entertaining vlogs filmed with the Snapchat ‘Gretel’ filter. You can even join Mrs Hinch and her friends – Dave the duster, Clarence the cloth, Minky the sponge and Vera the mop – as she gets to work around the home on everything from artificial flower scrubbing to stamp-sealing her toilet rolls, as well as sorting out her under-sink cupboard (aka Narnia) and going on one of her Febreze-spritzing adventures. What’s more, she pairs most of her activities to the saccharine upbeat sounds of pop songs of the ages, which her Hinchers then use to create Spotify playlists in her name as an homage.
“A talent manager in our office came up to me and was like: ‘Lucy, this woman – Mrs Hinch, we must phone her! You have to look at her content,” Gleam’s head of talent, Lucy Loveridge recalls. “I looked at her grid and was like: ‘Uh, okay? I can’t see why you’re so obsessed.” But like everyone who has shared Hinchliffe’s account with a friend, the words “look at her stories” were uttered, followed by the realisation Loveridge was looking at something extraordinary.
She says it was the first time they had seen anyone utilising Instagram stories more than the grid. “Sophie went from 1,000 followers to a million in about six months,” she notes. “She would get mentioned every single day in the office and I was like: ‘I bet this is happening in every office.’ Everyone offline and online was talking about her and became obsessed. It was very organic, but I do think the word-of-mouth element played a real part among women in their 20s and 30s at that time.”