Holly Tucker MBE, is best known for being a British entrepreneur, as well as a philanthropist and the UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. She was founder of the company Notonthehighstreet, which prides itself in supporting small businesses by handpicking products and selling them on their website. However, currently Tucker is working on her new company, Holly & Co; it is a unique idea where anyone with products to sell, no matter what profession, gets a chance in the spotlight. I was lucky enough to ask Holly Tucker a few questions about her new company, Holly & Co, as well as some challenges that people can face when starting up a small business. 

Holly & Co has cafe located in St Margaret’s, Twickenham, where cakes, drinks and small gifts can all be purchased. I live close to here, hence it is nice to stop by for a drink as the staff are very welcoming. So out of all places, why did Holly choose to base her shop in St Margaret’s? 

Holly said, ‘I absolutely love St Margarets - the whole area, the Thames, Marble Hill Park - I love being able to wander to work and the community feel.’ Holly clearly feels passionate about her local town, as it has a very relaxed, welcoming feel to it, making it a great place to start up a friendly shop. 

However, starting up a business may bring many difficult problems. So did Holly encounter any challenges whilst making her business?

‘In 2006 when a friend and I were out trying to raise investment for NOTHS, (notonthehighstreet), we were greeted by men in grey suits who told us that their wives did the shopping and they weren’t interested in investing in a ‘craft’ business! I’m pleased to say that the landscape has changed! When we were raising money 0.5% was raised by women, today it's closer to 8%.’ This fact, on its own, really shows just how big of an impact Holly and her team had on this industry. ‘With Holly & Co it was about understanding what the creative and local community wanted from us as “cheerleaders of small business” and how we then balanced that to create a profitable business.’ Discovering what your customers want from a company is therefore a key aspect for many entrepreneurs, so that you can have the right target market. 

Finally, I wanted to find out what one tip Holly would give young people looking to start up their own business, or become an entrepreneur. Holly says‘I’m often asked this question and there’s no silver bullet, or one piece of advice that will wave a magic wand. It takes so many elements to build a successful business. But the No.1 most important thing when starting a business, that I believe in and have practiced, is to make sure you’re crazily and insanely passionate about what you’re doing! Whether it’s a product, an idea, a service, whatever it is - you must be 100% “in love” and believe in your idea. Running a business is hard work (the hardest work that you’ll ever do) and there are so many lows along the journey that you will need to be your own biggest advocate, as you’ll be out of steam at times, enthusiasm and vision will dwindle and so it will be the hidden power and belief that will push you on. That will make you succeed where others fail.’

Holly & Co is open every day, so I would recommend you pay it a visit; whether it’s just for a quick bite or a long chat with any of the members of staff, I can assure you that you will not regret it.