Updated: Mar 31, 2021
With Holly Tucker MBE (founder)
A British entrepreneur, philanthropist, and UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. Holly Tucker MBE is the founder of
Holly & Co, a small business advice and inspiration platform, co-founder of notonthehighstreet.com and author of the upcoming business bible "Do What You Love, Love What You Do" which is available now on pre-order and out on the 6th May.
We are truly delighted to share a brief insight into Holly's inspiring entrepreneurial journey as we celebrate "Women in Business" for National Women's Day this year. I myself felt super motivated after reading the wonderful feedback from our "quick-fire" Q&A and we could honestly hear more from Holly as a real leader in business.
What or when was your “ah ha” moment that led you to starting your business?
Well, my nickname is ‘Hurricane Holly’ and ever since I was a little girl, I had always been in a rush to do the next thing! I went straight from school, into the world of advertising, and at 17 I found myself as the junior-junior tea maker at Publicis. I rose through the ranks, and at the age of 20, I was the youngest Account Manager in London with clients such as L’Oreal and Royal Doulton. By the age of 22 I was married, by the age of 25 I was going through a divorce. I had reached my lowest ebb, and ‘Hurricane Holly’ had to slow down.
So I found myself a creative outlet, and started making vegetable wreaths - yes I know it sounds a bit odd (it was if I’m honest!) but I really thought I was going to make my fortune with my less ordinary Christmas wreaths, made of vegetables! But after selling door to door, I then realised that I actually just needed to sell them at my local Christmas fair. At the time I lived in Chiswick, and I set off to look for the Christmas fair - and discovered there wasn’t one! So I then set about putting on the first Chiswick Christmas Fair, I handpicked all the small business stalls, gave myself the best trestle table and advertised like crazy (it was the one thing I definitely knew how to do).
It was a huge success, the magic of bringing the customer and brilliant products together was undeniable. By the end of the first fair, I HATED wreaths, never wanted to see another one again! But I knew my next step, creating fairs across London, so I created my first company - You Local Fair and over the following 3 years, I ran fairs across London.
It was a success, and when it worked, it really worked. But when it rained, when there was a football match on...it was a disaster.
But then - the internet arrived!
So, I decided I would try to take it online. I emailed my old boss Sophie, and asked her if she wanted to join me, as I had had an idea about ‘putting everything that was not on the highstreet on the internet.’ She emailed me back 24 hours later, and as we say, the rest was history! Notonthehighstreet was born!
How do you motivate yourself when you’re having a bad day?
Passion for what I do. If there is one lesson I can share, it will be that having passion for your business is at the heart of any successful business and is fundamental!
Starting a business purely because there is a gap in the market, or because there is an opportunity to make some money will not ultimately lead to happiness and building a life that you love.
Passion is infectious and irresistible - consumers see passion shine out of your brand from a single glance, and passion will drive your energy and vision even on the toughest days on the journey.
How do you celebrate a win or a successful pitch?
I don’t do this anymore, but each time I secured a round of investment funding for notonthehighstreet I used to buy myself a piece of jewellery! Now it's much more likely to be a glass of wine (or a cup of tea) with some of my team!
Talk us through your morning routine?
I’m normally found first thing - 6.30am every morning, on my garden step with a good old cup of tea, listening to the birds and thinking about the day ahead. Frank now laughs as it has become such a ritual for me. I really do have this crazy period of our lives to thank for finding a few rituals. I’ve never had them before as there was never time for them, but instead of rushing out on that daily commute, I have learnt to make time for myself, gather my thoughts and have a little mindful moment which sets me up for the day. I would highly recommend it!
Coffee … Decaf or full on??
Having a shop that sells coffee is a dangerous thing… oat lattes on tap!
Cocktails or Champagne or AF?
Margaritas are my drink of choice!
Best book / podcast recommendation for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Is it cheeky to say my own?! Do What You Love, Love What You Do; How to turn your passion into profit. I have designed it as the ultimate small business bible - you can pre-order it now, and it is out on 6th May!
Where do you see your brand / business in the next 2 years?
I hope to be inspiring even more founders and those dreaming of building a life doing what they love - watch this space! I’m always dreaming up new plans - maybe more books, more podcast guests
What would be the single best piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Trust your instincts Holly - they are always right, however much you might think the experts know best - noone knows your business like you. Oh, and take some time to celebrate the achievements, life is a journey and not a destination!
Website: Holly & Co
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