Claire Barratt: "TOWIE tweets took my business from dream to reem"

Published Monday, Aug 17 2015, 18:00 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
Claire Barratt, founder of ClaireaBella - August 2015.

© Refresh PR

All it took was a £30 loan for ex-policewoman Claire Barratt to get her ClaireaBella brand up and running into the successful business it is today.

Claire, from Hull, found her business boomed after her much sought-after bags ended up on the arms of The Only Way Is Essex cast members.

Now, with an interest from American investors, Claire could well be taking the ClaireaBella brand from TOWIE to Hollywood next year.

"I can't believe how far a business that started on my dining room table in 2010, boosted by a £30 loan from my mum, has grown," she told Reveal.

"If someone would have told me five years ago that ClaireaBella would have sold over a quarter of a million products and would be worn by some of my favourite celebrities, I probably wouldn't have believed them."

The former detention officer came up with the idea while on honeymoon with her husband John in Paris, where she paid for a caricature to be drawn while she sat under the Eiffel Tower.

Upon seeing the final product, Claire loved the eyes but felt the rest of the body needed improving, so she took inspiration from it and drew herself, eventually painting her design on her own bag.

The bag soon got the attention of her female colleagues, and with some help from her mum in the form of a £30 loan, Claire bought the materials to start her first orders.

Being a big fan of TOWIE, especially Chloe Sims who was a new cast member at the time, Claire contacted the reality star through Twitter to send her a personalised jute bag, which Chloe was spotted wearing just a few weeks later.

Amy Childs at Fubar Radio with band The Carnabys - 20 June 2014.


Amy Childs - 2014.

The Only Way is Essex star Chloe Sims finally arrives at LAX with her ClaireaBella bag - 4/4/2012.

© Michael Wright/

Chloe Sims - 2012.

Orders began to trickle in and Claire decided to gift a selection of the girls from the cast. Soon enough, Amy Childs and Gemma Collins were also sporting their own ClaireaBella products.

Now, Claire has built ClaireaBella up into a successful business with celebrity fans including Little Mix and Michelle Keegan, who most recently rocked a personalised carry-on suitcase during her wedding celebrations.

Claire said: "I'm looking forward to the future of the business but will never forget the past, and all of the people who made ClaireaBella the fabulous brand it is today."

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