Love Island Star Francesca Allen On Her Second Essex Business


Love Island star Francesca Allen reveals all about her second business in Loughton, dealing with fame and an impending wedding

Francesca Allen has garnered many column inches over the last three years, and also many compliments for her business Bonnie and Clyde, but the greatest honour surely is that she is the first interviewee to appear twice within these pages – apt recognition considering her second outlet, Cloud Eighteen, has just opened in Loughton.

“It actually started as just a small office for my sister and I,” Francesca says on the boutique. “We ran the business online, so I am happy that we have opened a shop for people to actually be able to come in store and see the items in person and shop. I think one to one interaction when shopping is so important, it gives a whole different experience that is personal to you.”

The stunning jewellery on offer at Cloud Eighteen is perfectly timed, too, for Absolutely’s wedding special later in this issue, and marks a departure from Bonnie and Clyde’s clothes-orientated appeal. “It’s accessories and bags only,” Francesca says on the idea behind Cloud Eighteen. “The only thing even close to clothing would be our diamante bras, but they are not exactly everyday wear! Bonnie and Clyde is for your everyday, night out kind of shop, and we also stock different accessories, so more practical day to day bags for work. Whereas Cloud Eighteen is more something special, a great place to buy gifts for loved ones, and we also have some homeware in there, such as candles, vases and bookcase décor.”

@yvmvstudios – studio, @naveedamua – make up artist, @rudiejasminephotography – photogtrpher 

The one thing that does link the two is the fact they are both in Loughton. “I think the High Road is great, full of wonderful cafes and shops,” she says on that fact. “It still feels buzzy and people like to shop local, which I think is amazing. Online shopping is practical and easy for those who work, however you do really miss out on the whole experience, which we really encourage our staff to give. Also, when I am there I love getting to know someone, what they like, where they’re going, so you can really tailor a whole experience to one individual and once I know that person I could pull things I know would be of their taste. I think people genuinely appreciate that and want to come back. And,” she grins, “I also love a good chin wag! I drive all the way to London and hold out for my coffee from the local organic shops in Loughton High Road. Woodstock does the best coffee and banana cake. Also Organico make lovely salads too, also Fred and Dougs in Epping has got to be my favourite place for lunch locally.”

People wanting to get to know Francesca is something she has to deal with ever since starring in Love Island three years ago. “I do, yes,” she says about getting recognised from the show. “It still surprises me this far down the line, considering I haven’t done anything too related, although I am still in the press at times and my Instagram account is still active. [Love Island] feels like a lifetime ago. It was a great experience that I am grateful for and I still have friends from that series and learnt a lot about myself. I also laugh at the fact I went there for love and turns out it was right here in front of me the whole time.”

Today, Francesca is engaged to long-time family friend, Ed Crossan, and the two have moved out of Essex and into the capital. “I won’t lie, it’s not easy,” Francesca says on juggling her businesses and home life. “The commute to work is no longer ten minutes down the road. I can do so much for Cloud Eighteen from home, but I still go to the shops as I just love the vibe.”

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She is also very active when it comes to supporting local Essex charities, and has recently started holding events in aid of Haven House Hospice. “I love children,” she says, “it’s amazing how strong and resilient they are to the world and I think a lot of these children are really inspiring, also their families too. I think by going to their stores I am helping with awareness and perhaps showing people that these places are a great place to shop. I have, and always will, stick my head in a charity shop. You get some great finds in there and some that are so unique, and even better the money goes to helping these families and their children.”

Despite the busyness of the two shops, Francesca is clearly one not to rest on her laurels and has many strings to her bow that may come in useful in the future. “I was really into art, textiles and media,” she says on her younger self. “I always loved clothes, I would always be helping my friends with outfits and sewing and creating, coming up with different ways to wear something. At Cloud Eighteen, we also offer ear piercing and I am also trained to do that, and I really enjoy it.

“We do hope to expand and be in London stores too,” she says on the future of Cloud Eighteen. “We are always looking for new designs too, new ideas. We are currently starting to add a few luxury items into our brand, using Moissanite stones, so perhaps this could be something we would create more of in the future. But we also love being the affordable, fun brand as I too personally love switching up my jewellery pieces as well as having luxury items, and that’s what makes Cloud Eighteen so good.”

And how about Francesca the person, what does the future hold? “Hopefully a wedding and then lots of babies,” she laughs.


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