Twin sisters Tonya and Rea, 32, hail from a humble background, growing up in a working class family.

They both dropped out of university after their parents were declared bankrupt and lost their family home.

To make ends meet, they both spent time modelling in the US before beginning separate careers in the estate agency business, working from the bottom of already established business as negotiators, up to management positions before setting up their own firms.

Today, Tonya and Rea, born and raised in Chelmsford, are experts in anything and everything to do with the property market.

From lettings, sales, and interior design to transformation projects and investment buys for their clients – and they have a combined portfolio of more than £3.5million, which they continue to grow.

They were also recently named two of Essex’s 50 most inspiring women in business by our sister publication, Essex Living magazine.

Juggling being a mum-of-two young children, Avie, five, and Drew, two, with her businesses, is the toughest part of working life for Tonya.

“It’s important for me to be a role model for my daughter and to work, but I also want to make sure I give them enough time and attention too,” she confesses. “It’s all balance really, family always comes first and time with them is precious.

“I owned my own lettings company for around seven years before merging my company with Adrian’s Estate Agents in Chelmsford.

“I now run their lettings department alongside managing my own portfolio of properties and mine and my twin sisters property blog, the Property Twins.”

Tonya is now an established and accomplished businesswomen, but how did this career really kick off?

“Me and Rea had been travelling and when I got back I told myself I had to get a proper job and start a career,” she explains.

“At the time the only thing I had an interest in was property, I would watch homes under the hammer every day and I’d often dream of being a property developer.

"The only way in I could think of doing this was working at an estate agents so that’s when I got my first job as a trainee lettings negotiator. This was the start of it all and my passion for property just grew and grew.

“Today, my role at the company is to run our busy lettings department, sourcing new business and general property management. Lettings is a tough job, but I’ve been doing this now for well over a decade and it’s what I know best.

“I am always on the lookout for new property to add to mine and my husband’s portfolio and the day-to-day running of that also keeps me busy.

“The Property Twins is the fun part, it’s easy for us to blog about property as we are working in and around it daily and we both share a huge passion for all things property including interiors, design and investment.”

Mum-of-one Rea runs high-end garden design and build company, Rose Hill, and is the other half of the Property Twins, and is a big advocate of knowing when to log off.

“I’ve learnt the art of switching off to enable me to have a balanced family life,” she smiles. So by 6pm it’s usually shut down time as I like to try to cook every evening.”

And what she manages to fit into her working hours though is no mean feat!

“I currently handle the design side of Rose Hill, (we design and build bespoke luxury gardens in Essex) which sees me visiting clients in their homes, surveying their gardens and designing plans to present to them in readiness for the build side of their project.

“And the Property Twins is growing from strength to strength and we have lots of exiting projects in the pipe line.

We are currently talking to production companies and working on a book as well as sharing daily property tips, advice and inspiration online.

Rea has a GNVQ in art and design which she believes has helped massively with her design work, but when did she decide to pursue her career?

“I have been in property for about 12 years now,” she reflects. “And I fell into it by chance. However I have always been fascinated with property, so it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

“With the garden design, I have also always had a flare for design, my husband is an experienced landscaper, so I have learnt a lot from him over the years, and, having sold my estate agents in 2018, it felt like the right time to open Rose Hill this year.”

What advice would she give to someone at the start of their career?

“It’s not going to be easy, but in time it will be worth it,” she muses. “Running your own business isn’t for the faint hearted, but as long as you are willing to commit you can make it work.

“Oh and be likeable, this above all is your biggest selling point.”