Thought you knew how to store a T-shirt? Think again. Suzanne Harrington meets Sophie Laird, ‘The Folding Master’ with 4.7m TikTok followers .

From thongs to pancakes, frocks to phone cables, it turns out there’s nothing you can’t fold. What’s more, there’s nothing people won’t watch on TikTok, which is how you can amass 4.7 million followers by simply filming yourself folding.

Meet Sophie Laird, the Folding Lady of TikTok, who did exactly this. She has just published her first book, eponymously titled The Folding Lady, having become TikTok famous by folding socks online during lockdown. “It was a simple nine-second video,” she writes.

“I went from 20k followers to 120k in the space of a few days… the sock video is currently on 4.4 million views, and I will forever remember it as a big moment for me.”

To get a flavour of TikTok, she recounts how for her very first post, which she did in tandem with a friend, the friend posted herself cleaning a carpet with a handheld pet hair duster. It got one million views.

Sophie, who is from Manchester and now lives in Surrey with her husband and two children, currently has 4.1 million followers. She differentiates herself from spark-joy tidying lady Marie Kondo – whom she calls an “organiser” – because organisers tend not to show how to actually fold. Sophie does. She describes herself as a master folder.

“I’ve only seen Marie Kondo on Netflix,” she tells me. “I haven’t done her course or read her books, but I look up to her as someone who has brought folding to the forefront. She started it. I love her vibe. She’s very relaxing to watch. But she’s a professional organiser – I’m not. I’m a retailer who has a skill in folding – I was really good at merchandising.”

Sophie began what she calls her ‘folding journey’ while working in a department store aged 16. Seeing a pile of folded jeans “made me happy just looking at them; it soothed me and filled me with instant calm.”