UK

Seeing double: The twins turning a profit

The West Twins, The Collyer Twins, The Alberti Twins and Twins that Travel Image copyright West Twins/Collyer Twins/Alberti Twins/TTT

Social media is a crowded space for bloggers looking to make money from likes and follows, but for a select few, standing out means looking exactly the same. So what are the secrets behind a #twinning brand?

Two faces are better than none (or one)

Claire and Laura Jopson are not your typical travel bloggers. For one thing, they both hate flying.

"We started Twins that Travel because we hated travelling," Laura, 31, says.

"It was kind of an alter ego of someone I wasn't at that time - a confident traveller that goes around the world. Now, we travel - it was a strange lie that became reality."

A twin venture hasn't always been on the cards for the pair who now live 15 minutes apart near Milton Keynes.

"We meant to venture far from each other but we've failed," says Claire.

The sisters started blogging in summer 2014 and originally did not appear in their social media posts, which then featured colourful landscape photography.

But when a friend suggested a shift of focus - onto them - things changed.

"We forget the outside world sees us like that," Claire says, but "once we started to push the twin thing, it became easier to establish ourselves."

Four years and thousands of air miles and followers later, the sisters are full-time bloggers with an impressive collection of awards to boot.

They admit that as individuals, the blog "wouldn't have gone anywhere".

"We tried to be individuals our whole lives - we found [looking the same] embarrassing - but now embrace it because it's great," Laura says.

They do still get embarrassed should they turn up in similar clothes, though.

"But brands like that," Claire says. "They are always keen to play on the twin thing. 'Twin breaks' 'twin cities' - it's an easy hook - a marketing tool."


Twin trivia

  • One-third of all twins will be identical
  • All pregnant women have approximately the same chance of having identical twins - about 1 in 250
  • Identical (or monozygotic) twins happen when a single egg is fertilised and then splits in two
  • Each baby will have the same genes and be the same sex
  • There is no evidence that identical twins run in families
  • In 2016, 10,786 women had twins (identical and non-identical) in England and Wales out of 696,271 total births

Source: NHS, Office for National Statistics


But what's it like working together?

"It's like a weird marriage," Laura says. "We can fall out but 15 minutes later carry on where we left off. It's like having an insurance policy."

Claire agrees: "There's no filter," she says, "as twins we're bound together. We have to make up and carry on."

Be a 'world first'

"A picture of two girls is going to stand out more when we look more similar," says Jenny West.

Make that a picture of twin bodybuilders in matching outfits captioned with a motivational message and you have a business model.

Jenny and Lucy West - The West Twins - are figure competitors from Wigan and Stoke-on-Trent who, three years ago, decided to start sharing their fitness journey online.

"On holiday in 2015, Jenny introduced me to Instagram," says Lucy, now 31.

The pair put up some holiday-themed posts and soon enough they were approached by a manager and a company ready to sponsor them.

"It took us by surprise. We didn't expect it. Our following grew rapidly," Lucy says.

A year later, Lucy was self-employed and three years year on, the pair hit 300,000 followers.

"Being twins definitely helped us get noticed," Jenny says. "We were the world's only fitness female twins when we started out."

The twins had always trained together and when Jenny did her first bodybuilding competition in 2014, Lucy followed suit.

"Lucy and I have always got on and always been interested in very similar things," says Jenny, who some will recognise from ITV2's reality entertainment show Survival of the Fittest.

"Now it's part of our job - to play on being twins. We're having too much fun to stop."

The sisters admit they probably argue more than your usual business partners, but have the ability to bounce back quicker too.

"We almost take turns with who's pushing," Lucy says. "You have times when things get on top of you and one of us will be the driving force and step up for meetings or whatever.

"You don't switch off from it but I wouldn't change it for the world."

Twin fascination

Image copyright The Alberti Twins
Image caption John (pictured left) and Tony Alberti have been working on their debut cook book called Twintastico

The Alberti twins first hit our screens in 2015 on series one of Love Island.

"Being twins, we stood out and got exposure from that," says Tony Alberti.

With that exposure, the self-proclaimed "Italian stallions" from Manchester launched a YouTube channel and blog and have grown a 280,000-strong Instagram following.

"We're different to your usual chefs," Tony, 33, says. "We're really good looking and people are just fascinated by twins. We want to make cooking fun and sexy."

And the pair are rarely seen without each other.

"We were born twin so we make the most of it to our advantage," Tony says.

"People notice you a lot more - there's nobody out there like us," his brother John adds.

The twins can charge thousands for an endorsement post, with brands happy to pay for the "visually better" image of the mirror chefs, says Tony.

Their double image has also helped secure regular US and Canadian television appearances on morning programmes including NBC's Today Show.

And the twinning isn't just for the cameras, (they signed off an email to me "Yours twincerely") as the brothers have lived together for the last 10 years, joking that it will remain that way until they find another pair of twins to marry.

Best friends and worst enemies

Image copyright The Collyer Twins
Image caption Loanne (R) and Jordan (L) are DJs and fashion and lifestyle bloggers

Loanne and Jordan Collyer - originally from Bromley, south-east London - are the DJs-come models-come bloggers behind The Collyer Twins.

Their lifestyle blog began as a side project for Jordan during university.

"My sister graduated a year later [than me] and I said we should definitely do this together," Jordan says. "The twin thing will make us stand out."

Sure enough, in an online community where filtered lives are 10-a-penny, the "twin thing" worked.

Through constant posting, they started to make some money, and by mid-2016 they were blogging full-time.

"We were very lucky. Once we quit our full-time jobs, we got management which propelled us to a different level," says Jordan, 28.

The pair now travel the world working with brands from Hunter to Asos, making sure their followers don't miss a minute.

"Whenever we work with brands, they want us both in the image... we can wear the same items but style them in different ways," Jordan explains.

"The pictures that do best are ones of us in matching bikinis and the same poses - when we play up to the twin thing. Same same, but different."

They began DJ-ing as another "business opportunity" - says Jordan - "there's not that many female DJs, let alone twin DJs."

Image copyright The Collyer Twins
Image caption Twin photo rules: "Loanne always on the right. Jordan always on left."

But it's not all business. Jordan loves being a twin.

"We like the same things. We're so similar in mannerisms - we finish each other's sentences," she says.

"We spend every single day together which is very intense, but we make it work. We're best friends but worst enemies too."

The pair have lived together in London for the last two years, although Jordan admits a move may be on the cards.

"There's no switch off," she says.

The secret to their success?

"We had a good vision and we really nailed the twin thing. We knew that was our USP in such a saturated market.

"It's the twin power!"