Too many high streets are characterised by big, bland boxes that pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap. Although physically there’s a lot there, they feel empty. It’s what Holly Tucker calls the “grey world of business.” And it’s why she founded online marketplace notonthehighstreet.com a decade ago and, just this year, Holly & Co—to shine a light on the incredible talent of creative small business owners, and bring some colour back to retail. I asked her a few questions, and she had plenty to say.
How does the idea of ‘plenty’ fit into your work?
My work is centred around championing creative small business owners across our nation. For me, the idea of plenty means ensuring that their existence in our societies is plentiful, now and forever more; I feel it’s my life’s quest to do this. Some might call me an entrepreneur, but I like to think of myself as an imagineer—someone who believes in the impossible and the power of creativity. I want to make sure that handcrafted doesn’t become a thing of the past, and that talented makers have the support they need to continue making a living doing what they love. As the UK Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses, I’ll be working to positively influence this creative movement by amplifying the voice of this talented group where it matters most.
What can you never get enough of?
I can’t get enough of the exciting feeling of discovery, the feeling that I’ve stumbled across something really special. This usually happens when finding a new maker or small business who is doing something completely new and innovative, pushing the boundaries of convention and creativity. Nothing makes me happier than being able to support a budding new enterprise; sharing my expertise and knowledge, helping them on their respective journeys of discovery. I almost live for the buzz of turning a corner and having a new, glittery experience. Palms sweating, retail heart pumping, potential and opportunity knocking! Though, my jewellery obsession would come close second!
What have you definitely had enough of?
I’ve had enough of the modern-day high street. Like so many others, I’m bored and disheartened with what’s on offer. We’ve become a nation of clone towns; the beautiful individuality of our high streets has been replaced with soulless strips of the mainstream. How can we tell one place from another anymore? I feel like we’re asleep at the wheel when it comes to the opportunities that are available. The desire to keep a sense of community alive on our high streets has waned. I truly believe that independent shops and creative small businesses are going to have to save what big business is ruining. However, I do feel like people are slowly waking up to the fact that we don’t have to live in a mass produced, soulless world, and that supporting small and consuming more consciously is a better path to follow.
What’s one resource you’d like to use more wisely?
Time! I never seem to have enough of it, and I feel like I don’t use it to its full potential (don’t we all!). I’m always trying to find new ways of making my days more time-effective and productive; I use an amazing tool called Trello throughout my life to get organised, make lists and plan projects.
What are you most grateful for?
Knowing that we have 28,000 days on this planet and each day is another we can’t get back. From the moment I worked this out (at roughly day 14,600!), I have become mindful of everything. I think and behave differently. I’m grateful for each second I spend on this planet.