Founder of Holly & Co and Not On The High Street, we chat to the amazing Holly Tucker on her passion for design diversity and independent businesses.
Lover of colour, positivity and inspiring others, Holly Tucker has made it her mission to elevate small businesses into the industry. We are thrilled to chat with Holly about her ground-breaking businesses and how they came to be what they are today. As a master of many crafts and an advocate for the creatives, we know that you will love this brilliant chat with Holly as much as we did. Finally, we get to take a look at Holly's marvellously eclectic interiors in her home. Read below to be inspired by our 10 Mins With Holly Tucker Interview...
1. Let’s start at the very beginning, tell us about yourself and your brilliant businesses…
16 years ago I started a company with my co founder Sophie called notonthehighstreet, it was the third ever marketplace in the UK (after Amazon and Ebay - and at the time Amazon only sold books!) Fast forward 15 years it has now pumped £1billion into the UK economy and supported thousands of founders to build their businesses.
Five years ago I set up Holly & Co with my co-founders Carrie (my sister) and Gabi (my honorary sister) with the vision to redefine what ‘business’ means. We knew small business was colourful, creative and exciting - certainly not grey, male and only accessible once you have done a business degree! Far from it - I passionately believe that anyone who has a passion can build a business from it and live their happiest life. So, we set about creating a whole eco structure which anyone who either loves small businesses or is a founder can consume - be it my podcast (Conversations of Inspiration), my weekly IGTVs, the inspiration hub full of my favourite small business finds or join us for a coffee at our small cafe in St Margarets, The Work/Shop.
2. What inspired you to set up Not On The High Street and Holly & Co?
In my early twenties I set up a company called ‘Your Local Fair’ - it was an events company where I hand selected small businesses and put on fairs in towns halls across London. The magic of a curated collection of small businesses and customers' reaction to them was simply incredible. But when it rained, or there was a major football match on, footfall would be so low.
This coincided with the start of the internet and so, I decided to put ‘everything not on the highstreet’ under one virtual ‘town hall’, it would be open 24 hours a day and it didn’t matter if it snowed!
It was seeing first hand the magic of those hand picked small businesses in one place, the electricity when the customer finds them, that ignited my passion for small businesses, and I have never looked back!
3. Tell us a bit more about how you inspire other people to use their passion in business with your innovative community Holly & Co…
When I set out to build Holly & Co, we literally had to create the ecosystem in which to exist. How crazy is that - that there are 5.5 million small businesses in the UK, yet apart from grey government websites there was no single place for them to call home, nor anywhere for them to get inspiration.
So we set about creating that, and 5 years on I can say we have! Through events, our podcast - Conversations of Inspiration, an advice hub and inspiration blog, IGTV lives, a best selling book (Do What You Love, Love What You Do) and a physical space, as well as the annual ‘Independent Awards’ the biggest awards prize fund in the UK for small businesses - we have the most wonderful and supportive community and are empowering women across the UK to live a life less ordinary.
It is the culmination of all these things that I hope will empower anyone who has a dream, and ultimately my vision for the future is that we will support and inspire hundreds of thousands of women across the UK to build a life they love by following their passions.
4. You have a passion for colour, positivity, and small stand-out businesses, does your home interior reflect these themes?
Absolutely yes! My home is full of colour, small business finds and animals! I don’t think I will ever sit back and think my home is ‘done’. For me, the interior of my home is like my version of yoga! It is my creative outlet and it's the time in my week when I can immerse myself in creativity and switch off from the world around me.
5. When decorating or shopping, what influences your own personal style?
I believe more is more! If I love something, if it speaks to me in some way and makes my heart sing - I buy it. I don’t believe in ‘trends’, for me, your home should reflect you, not the latest trend which will come and go.
6. Which room in your home do you and your family spend the most time in? How have you worked your interiors to suit the space?
Definitely the kitchen is the heart of our home - it's a space that is bright, open but warm with an olive tree in the middle of the island. From quick morning breakfasts with Harry running out the door to school, to drunken dancing with friends until the early hours, it's a space that is home to it all!
7. What trends do you see becoming popular in 2022?
I don’t believe in trends per se, but I do think conscious consumption and a keen eye for supporting sustainable brands, or brands with a purpose greater than their products is here to stay.
8. For someone who is thinking about starting their own business, what key advice would you give them?
Go for it! There is no ‘perfect time’ much like having a baby, you just have to go for it and trust that whenever you decide to take that first step, it is exactly the right moment to go on that journey. It is certainly a rollercoaster, but it is the most fulfilling and exciting road to travel.
9. What is next for Holly Tucker and her spectacular brand Holly & Co?
Holly & Co will continue to grow and evolve. My vision is that Holly & Co will become a brand beloved by women across the UK, and is the springboard from which hundreds of thousands can leap into brand new adventures following their passion.
10. Finally, name three new Rockett St George products that you love!
- Birds and naughtiness, my perfect combination - The Nice Tits Small Plate / Trinket Dish
- I love the blanket by Denim and Bone, I know Daisy and this is a beautiful piece - The Denim & Bone Blue Loved Woven Cotton Throw
- Pink and red is my fav combination - The Round Metal Pink Side Table With Red Heart
- I am happiest when…I am building my business
- My favourite podcast is… my own(!) can I say that? Conversations of Inspiration
- My dream holiday would be…Kaftan fun anywhere in Thailand
- My ideal day would be spent….buying earrings at Maria Tash at Liberty
- My personal motto is… never doubt that a small ground of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that has.
- My guilty pleasure is… Monster Munch crisps
- The last film I saw was…Don’t look Up
- My favourite book is…Four Thousand Weeks - Oliver Burkeman
- In five years’ time, I want to be… doing exactly what I am doing right now, I have never been happier personally or professionally helping to empower others to follow their dreams.
- The three things I can’t live without are… my iPhone, tea and creativity