DON’T be well jel of these sisters from Essex who have launched a reem business venture in Sunderland.
Lauretta and younger sister Laura are the real-life Essex girls behind 100% Essex in Chester Road.
The pink palace of fashion was the brainchild of Laura Etheridge, 37, who spotted a gap in the market after seeing ratings soar for reality TV show The Only Way is Essex, known as TOWIE.
Along with her big sister, 38-year-old Lauretta Bellingham, she decided to create a Wearside haven for Essex-lifestyle lovers.
Although they are not associated with the ultra-tanned stars of the show, they were inspired by the pouting leading ladies of TOWIE, who run their own boutiques.
Laura said: “I got right into TOWIE and because I’m from Essex, people talk to me about it.
“People go on holiday to Essex to go to places like the Sugar Hut that are in the programme, so I thought, why not bring a bit of Essex to Sunderland?”
Lauretta added: “We wanted to open a shop and base it on TOWIE. We’ve got T-shirts with ‘Don’t be Jel, Be Reem’ and another one of the girls in the show does hair extensions, so we have them.
“One of them runs a beauty salon, but we don’t do treatments, so we have false eyelashes in and makeup.
“A lot of people are coming in just because they like the programme.
“People love it. We’ve got more than 500 friends on Facebook.”
She thinks Wearsiders love the glamour of the ITV show.
“People just love the fantasy about how it is down there. A lot of people come in just for our gift bags to take bits and bobs down to Essex.
“We do bikinis made to order with flowers on, as one of the girls in the show had a flower bikini.
“We’ve had a few men coming in as well asking if we sell men’s stuff, so we might start that and call it a Geezer Drop.
“We would say to anyone, just come in and have a look about.
“We’re cheap and cheerful and fun.”
Born in Essex, the sisters and their parents moved to Wearside more than 20 years ago and their maternal grandparents are from Sunderland.
Before opening the shop with Laura, Lauretta worked in pubs and clubs, including Chambers in Sunderland then later Raffles in South Shields.