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Tucker in 2015
Holly Lee Tucker
29 March 1977
|Education||Antwerp International School|
Holly Lee Tucker, MBE (born 29 March 1977) is a British entrepreneur, philanthropist, and UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. Tucker is founder and chief inspiration of the online marketplace, notonthehighstreet.com; founder of Holly & Co, a small business advice and inspiration platform (launching in 2017), founder and trustee of The Happy Bricks Foundation; and co-author of best-selling business books Build a Business From Your Kitchen Table and Shape Up Your Business.
Early and personal life
Tucker was born and raised in Chiswick, London, UK, and has one younger sister. In August 1984, at the age of 7, Tucker and her family relocated to Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, in support of her father's career. The family returned to the UK in July 1989.
Tucker currently lives in St. Margaret's, Twickenham, with her partner, Frank, and son, Harry.
Tucker displayed early traits of entrepreneurship. While at school she worked weekends as a waitress, and also ran the school tuck shop during the week, making a healthy profit from the sale of goods, which was donated to the school's nominated annual charity.
Tucker has struggled with dyslexia throughout her life.
In 1980, at the age of 3, Tucker was enrolled at Kew College, a preparatory school based in Kew, Richmond-upon-Thames, for children aged 3–11.
Following the family's relocation to Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands in 1984, Tucker was enrolled at The Antwerp International School in Belgium. The family returned to the UK in July 1989 and Tucker started at her new school in October 1989, the Licensed Victuallers' School, at its new site in Ascot. It was during her time at LVS that Tucker was recognised for her strengths and creative abilities, winning competitions and awards including:
- LVNH Art Competition, October 1991
- A prize for 'Design and Realisation', October 1992
- The Carlsberg Scholarship – a financial contribution to school fees for pupils who were considered to be of excellent standing, June 1993
- The Lowenbrau Art Competition, The Chivers Award for Community Spirit, and the ‘K Team Award’, October 1993
- The Smalley Prize, February 1995
- The High Wycombe LVA Open Prize for Innovation, October 1995
She was appointed Head Girl in 1994, and in 1995 she passed A-Levels in Art & Design, Design & Technology, and Business Studies.
In October 1995 Tucker began work as a Trainee Account Executive at Publicis, where she had already had a work experience placement for three consecutive summers. Tucker was one of the youngest trainee account executives in London at the time, gaining five years' experience in hardcore advertising, working for accounts such as L'Oreal's Luxury Products International division of Prestige and Collections, and Royal Doulton.
In June 2000 she joined a small start-up website, Coolwhite.com, based in Chelsea Harbour. The site offered a premium wedding directory, allowing the bride or groom to search a curated selection of unique wedding services directly, such as venues, photographers and florists, all on one platform based on the pay-per-click model.
During her employment with Coolwhite.com, Tucker ran the 'Chiswick Christmas Fair' in October 2003, which was featured in 'The Chiswick'. Due to its success, Tucker handed in her resignation and started her own business, 'Your Local Fair', a series of upmarket events that were staged in affluent areas of London and the South East. In April and June 2004, Tucker ran the Hampstead Children's Fair and Fulham Summer Fair respectively, both of which ran under the banner of 'Your Local Fair'. Tucker ran the final fair, 'Your Chiswick Christmas Fair', at the Town Hall in Chiswick, in December 2004, due to the fact she was heavily pregnant with her son, Harry.
‘Your Local Fair' provided the inspiration for notonthehighstreet.com, which Tucker co-founded with Sophie Cornish in 2006. When the company launched, it was running on a shoestring budget with Tucker and Cornish underwriting the business' debts, working unpaid for over a year with only skeleton staff as support. notonthehighstreet.com has grown to become an award-winning online marketplace, providing a retail platform for 5,000 curated small creative and entrepreneurial businesses, collectively offering more than 200,000 original and innovative products. The company currently employs 200 people at its offices in Richmond-upon-Thames, which Tucker refers to as 'Silicon-upon-Thames'.
In October 2015, she launched Instadvice – a business advice blog offering instant advice to small creative businesses and independents. The advice given is supported by artwork and photography, which is fed through from Tucker's Instagram feed. The success of Instadvice led to the creation of Holly & Co, a curated advice and inspiration platform, launching in Spring 2017.
Continuing her career, Tucker was invited to become a "UK Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses" in September 2015, with the official announcement being made by the Prime Minister in November 2015. In this role Tucker represents and supports creative small business in the UK.
Tucker was instrumental in founding The Happy Bricks Foundation, a small non-profit charity which focuses on the lives of disadvantaged children globally, raising money to improve the quality of the environment they live in. The charity, which was founded in April 2013 and officially registered by the Charity Commission in February 2015, has already completed a school build in Lukwambe, Tanzania, and has co-funded the build and fit-out of a new science laboratory at a small independent school in Windsor, The Green Room, which provides an alternative for young people who can no longer access mainstream education.
The school build in Lukwambe was completed and officially opened in April 2015, and now provides an education to 100 children. The charity continues to support the needs of school in terms of development and resources.
The new science laboratory at The Green Room independent school was officially opened in December 2015, enabling the pupils of the school to work toward obtaining a third GCSE in Science, previously only being able to achieve GCSEs in English and Mathematics.
- Build a Business from your Kitchen Table, ISBN 978-1-47110-211-0
- Shape up your Business, ISBN 978-1-47110-214-1
Awards and honours
- Appointed UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses – In November 2015, Tucker was announced as the newly appointed UK Ambassador for Creative Small Businesses. Business Ambassadors are a network of Prime Minister appointed CEOs (or equivalents) and academic leaders, who have a sector focus, reflecting their particular expertise in specific sectors.
- The Google Award for Women in Digital at the Digital Masters Awards – The Digital Masters Awards were created and launched in 2014 to recognise executives working in the UK's digital economy, judged to have shown excellence in digital leadership.
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year – The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award honours those who build market-leading companies.
- MBE for 'Services to Small Businesses and Enterprise' – The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (often shortened informally to "Order of the British Empire") is the most junior and most populous order of chivalry in the British and other Commonwealth honours systems.
- Investor Allstars: Entrepreneur of the Year, 2012 – This award is for professional excellence and is open to corporate development teams and the M&A teams of corporates who acquire high-growth companies.
- Media Momentum Top 50, 2011 – Celebrate the fastest growing and most promising companies in the digital arena, at the Media Momentum Awards. The Media Momentum league table lists the 50 fastest growing digital companies in Europe.
- The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100, 2011 – a ranking of promising technology start-ups in Europe.
- Women of the Future Awards, 2009 – The Women of the Future Awards are given to successful young women in Britain.
- Management Award: 35 Women under 35, 2009 – Management Today's 35 Women Under 35 awards celebrate high-achieving women in business under the age of 35. Women who make the list range from entrepreneurs and designers to lawyers, bankers and senior civil servants.
- BT Business 'Essence of the Entrepreneur' Awards, 2008 – The BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur competition is awarded to small businesses judged to be making the most effective use of their technology.
- Young Guns 2008 – These awards aim to highlight founders, co-founders and CEO's under 35 of privately owned businesses, who are demonstrating a unique or outstanding proposition, proven in its market and that has experienced considerable success.
- "Success for the 'notonthehighstreet' women". thenextwomen.com. 31 December 2008.
- "How the website notonthehighstreet.com became a lifeline for crafty businesswomen". Daily Mail. 1 August 2009.
- "Notonthehighstreet gears partners up for growth following £7.5m backing". The Daily Telegraph. 5 August 2010.
- Director Magazine. Notonthehighstreet.com. 1 May 2013 http://www.director.co.uk/9065-notonthehighstreet-sophie-cornish-and-holly-tucker/. Missing or empty
- "How tiny firms that joined notonthehighstreet website hit £1m in sales". This is Money. 30 November 2013.
- Richard Tyler (12 January 2010). "Why craft designers celebrated Christmas three times". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Prime Minister names new Business Ambassadors to support international trade and investment". Government of the United Kingdom. 20 November 2015.
- "Holly Tucker named among Cameron's new UKTI business ambassadors". Young Guns by Startups.co.uk. 23 November 2015.
- "Work hard, play had in notonthehighstreet creator's home". The Sunday Times. 3 March 2013.
- "Meet the winners of the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards". Financial Times. 7 October 2014.
- "Queens of e-commerce". Growth Business UK.
Interviews and talks by Holly Tucker
- "Interview with Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish, Co-founders of notonthehighstreet.com as it celebrates five years of online success". YHP. 4 April 2011.
- Alice Kahrmann. "Interview with Holly Tucker of notonthehighstreet.com". The Good Web Guide.
- Sirena Bergman (2 January 2014). "Holly Tucker: 'If we're not careful our small business heritage will disappear'". The Guardian.
- "Notonthehighstreet founder Holly Tucker's 3 tips to start-up success". virginstartup.org.
- "3 Ways To Make Your Business Succeed Beyond Start-Up, By Holly Tucker, Founder of Not on the High Street". Marie Claire. 14 July 2014.
- "Notonthehighstreet.com's Holly Tucker MBE talks marketing, pitching, and business inspiration [VIDEO]". startups.co.uk. July 2014.
- Zoe Wood (14 December 2014). "The e-commerce sisters doing it for themselves". The Guardian.
- "My First Million – Holly Tucker". Financial Times. 2 October 2015.