Fans now best recognise her for playing Nicky Wheatley in Coronation Street but there’s a lot more to Kimberly Hart-Simpson than being an actress. Away from the ITV soap, the 35-year-old is a businesswoman having set up a sustainable rework brand, Hart-Work, in 2018 and all the items for sale are handmade by the soap star herself.
But it may not come as a surprise to her Instagram followers as she regularly wows them with her latest handy work, regularly picking up items from the charity shop and bringing them back to life as brand new pieces. Back in February Kimberly, who made her Weatherfield debut in 2020 before returning earlier this year, struck a pose in an eye-catching leather look cropped top with distressed jeans in a snap shared on her Instagram.
And fans were even more impressed when she revealed that she had snapped up the bronze lace-up top for just £2. Then last month Kimberly looked a far cry from all the drama on the cobbles as she sparkled in sun-soaked photos while donning a dazzling multi-coloured mini dress. And she revealed that the designer dress was a bargain charity shop purchase hat she had snapped up for £18 from the British Heart Foundation.
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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News and other press, Kimberly said it was buying the cheapest sewing machine she could find, which she ‘put on an Argos card because I couldn’t afford it outright' that she credits to saving her mental health.
"I’m from a working-class family that went to charity shops so it’s in my bones. I’ve not changed, I’m not going to change despite whether I’m on a high wage or a low wage. It doesn’t matter. A bargain is a bargain at the end of the day.
"I got a sowing machine a couple of years ago and that saved my mental health massively because I had this thing where I could turn something that was destined for landfill into something beautiful again and that resonated with me in life and your saving the planet and you’re working on yourself. What’s not to love about that."
She added: "I’m also sick to death of seeing influencers push a narrative of Louis Vuitton and Gucci and all of these other things which have a direct impact on young people’s mental health, looking up to them thinking that is who they need to be like and that’s not sustainable on so many levels.
"I’m not saying be like me but I’m saying please don’t be like everyone else. There are other routes. There’s nothing wrong with what influencers are doing, good for them if they want to put their achievement on there, I’m all for that but I’m just trying to offer an alternative."
But the regular posting of her charity shop bargains and upcycled items have led to her becoming a sustainable fashion guru to many, and means her DMs are full of others sharing their bargain hauls. "Most people probably get cheeky little DMs sliding in there trying it on and that but I get people sending their bargains and I quite like that life for me.
"People send me what they’ve got and young girls message me saying thank you because 1, they didn’t know they could get brand new things from charity shops and 2, they’re on a budget. We’re all on a budget so it’s a safe space to talk about it.
"There are other people doing this as well which is great. The more the better, the stronger the vibe but I was doing this way before I started on Corrie, for years and years I’ve been talking about it."
Kimberly’s love for a charity shop bargain doesn’t stop at just buying items. While she's been away from Corrie, the Rhyl-born star has been helping out at a charity shop. Since October Kimberly has been volunteering at a British Heart Foundation store.
"It was a place I went to because it’s local to me and then it ended up saving my sister’s life so, at the time, I was investing money and knowingly into something we have all probably been affected by. It just makes me feel good so why stop," she said.
Kimberly also recently shared a post from her 'Hart Work' Instagram page which revealed that people will soon be able to grab her designs on the high-street. She wrote: "All confirmed - my brand @hartwork._ will be launching @urbanoutfitters 20th May in Manchester Branch." Kimberly then added: "Grateful for every bit of support thus far. The movement continues..."
And peaking to us, Kimberly said that it is a pop-up for now and her work will be appearing in stores up and down the country.