The final part of our International Women's Day blog series, is non other than one of my personal inspirations Holly Tucker MBE. Holly is the co-founder of Notonthehighstreet.com (where Hoobynoo started out), UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses and the founder of Holly & Co.
You have dedicated your career to helping other small business, first with Your Local Fair, then through the founding of NotontheHighstreet.com and now with your latest venture Holly & Co, where do you think your passion to help others succeed comes from?
As a little girl I was nicknamed Hurricane Holly because I was in a rush to do everything first - I started the first school tuck shop, I got my first job at 13 cleaning a pub (my dad used to sit outside in the car and wait for me!) So my whole life I’ve had a lot of energy to get ‘out there’. I also have a very positive outlook on life, I never see problems, only solutions in front of me - I think it's the combination of this alongside very early on finding a creative community that I love, that has led me to where I am today.
Your Local Fair was created before the days of Facebook and Notonthehighstreet launched when social media was much less prevalent than it is today, do you think this made the journey to building your business harder?
Instagram is just such an incredible tool to grow a business - I only wish we’d had it when we launched NOTHS - it would have made it a lot easier! Holly & Co actually started out as just an instagram feed, its now grown into the business it is today and is to continuing to evolve and grow. The ability to use to social media to connect your tribe and use as a force for good is just incredible.
Of course with everything, social can be a force for good or bad, but as long as we acknowledge this, acknowledge that ultimately people put their best foot forward on social and it isn't a 360 of someone's life, then we can protect ourselves and shut ourselves off to anything damaging or confidence destroying.
Holly & Co recently celebrated it’s first birthday, as well as being a coffee shop that stocks products from independent creative’s it is also a resource for small businesses offering advice and workshops, what was the inspiration behind this latest venture?
I am lucky enough to have spent the last 15 years working within the small business creative community, which is full to the brim of the most supportive, resilient and brilliantly creative people I have ever encountered. I've had a privileged birds eye view of thousands of incredible creative businesses being built from the kitchen table, which in turn has created a thriving network. It is the small business creative community that are the wind beneath my wings, it's who drive me forward everyday and who I plan to dedicate the rest of my life to. Watching so many businesses go through such similar journeys (but all feeling as though they were the only one), I knew I had to re write the business rulebook and build a community where advice could be shared in a colourful and creative way.
If you could go back to the start of your career, is there any advice you would give yourself?
Trust your gut! It’s your internal compass. People around you will be quick to advise on what path to take, but my gut instinct has never proved me wrong. It sounds like a simple piece of advice, and I suppose it is - but its one I wish I had known at the start of my journey.
You can find Holly here:
Facebook: Holly & Co