Shaper: Holly Tucker

Show aired on 13th May 2017


Holly Tucker

Holly Tucker has many strings to her bow – mother, MBE, founder of Holly & Co, UK Ambassador to Small Creative Businesses, Chief Inspirator and co-founder of But Holly simply sees herself as an imagineer – someone who believes in the impossible and the power of creativity.

“I grew up with the belief that anything is possible and it is something that has never left me. From starting the first town hall craft fair in 2003 in Chiswick, my belief in the power of small business has remained a constant driving force throughout my life. After nearly 15 years, my passion only gets stronger and I plan to cheerlead this group of amazing people until I’m a very old lady!”

Holly’s newest venture Holly & Co has been borne out of her lifelong passion to champion creative enterprises and support small businesses. After a decade of creating – one of the first marketplaces in the world designed to support small businesses – Holly is continuing her mission to bring colour to grey. Holly & Co is an all-encompassing destination, a home, for artisans which to aims demystify business, connect like-minded creatives across the world and shine a light on small creative enterprises. As part of the new venture, Holly will be taking on a mentoring role through the Holly & Co Pharmacy, offering ‘first aid for business’; sharing her knowledge on a more personal basis and supporting individuals on their journey.

Holly’s dedication and contribution to business has been recognised through a number of awards over the years, most notably by her MBE for services to small businesses and enterprise as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2013, and her appointment as the UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses by the Prime Minister in 2015. Other awards include: Entrepreneurial Woman of the Future Award, EY Entrepreneur of the Year (London and South Region winner 2014), Management Today 35 Women Under 35 Award, Media Momentum Women of the Year, The Google Award for Women in Digital at the Digital Masters Awards, and many more.

A real belief that everyone should have the tools to enable them to live ‘The Good Life’ led to Holly publishing her first book in 2012 with NOTHS co-founder, Sophie Cornish; ‘Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table’, which topped the Amazon and Sunday Times Business bestseller charts. Their follow-up book, ‘Shape Up Your Business’, published in 2014, achieved equal success.

As part of Holly’s mission to support independent enterprises and a continued belief that changes must start at the grassroots level, she is also Chair of the St Margarets Traders Association. The Association itself is setting out to build a town of merit, to support and protect its independent high street, and act as a model that all high streets can seek to emulate.

In 2013, Holly founded The Happy Bricks Foundation, a charity set up to improve the lives of disadvantaged children across the globe through access to safe schools and education. To-date, Happy Bricks has funded a school build in Tanzania which now has the capacity to educate 60 children, and co-funded the build and fit-out of a new science laboratory at a small independent school in Windsor.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyLTucker.

I was working in a publishing world, wanted to be more creative, was going through a lot in my life, and decided that I wanted to be a small business myself

…the two of us would get together in our respective homes, with dog cages and playpens and bottles and sterilisers, and we’d try and work out how to build a market place.

That first year we didn’t have a weekend ever. We were on baked beans literally, not being paid a salary. We had husbands who were working, young children, mortgages to pay.

I have always been someone who has been in a hurry. My nickname when I was younger was Hurricane Holly. I have done many things, I have lived many lives already

We found ourselves pitching incredibly well because I think it was from the heart, it was a genuine need from small businesses and a genuine need from customers

Over the decade of building Not On The High Street and watching it flourish, I was privileged enough to have a bird’s eye view of the journey of incredible people going from literally their kitchen table to million pound plus businesses

…everyone has roughly the same journey when starting a small business and running a small business. That’s not to say we have the same businesses, but we have the same low moments, we have the same high moments

I believe that great things come from when an idea is truthful and when it’s based on ethics and it’s based on something that you truly love