- By Holly Tucker MBE, small business ambassador and founder of Holly and Co.
I am often asked by I’m so obsessed with small businesses – and that question always makes me smile. You see, I am not actually fascinated by business itself. No, it’s more about the incredible opportunities running a small business offers, enabling each founder to live their life on their own terms, to live creatively, to build a life they love and to strive to be happy each day. Far from being a champion of business, my passion is for each founder, like you, who has poured their heart and soul into their trade, created magic in their own retail space, brought an independent shop to the high street and made the brave step to follow their dream.
When I stepped back from notonthehighstreet.com and set about launching Holly and Co, I looked at the landscape for anyone who wanted to turn their passion into a small business. To be frank, I found the information on offer bleak and grey. It was essentially a government website or a very dull and serious book. Even television programmes portray running a business as scary, complicated and intimidating.
That wasn’t my experience of business, and I don’t believe you need to swallow a business bible to make it work. Nor do I believe that it has to be grey and uninspiring. Business is the key to unlocking dreams. It’s creative, colourful and there’s no secret to success reserved just for the very few. Rather, I wanted to empower anyone with a dream.
So, I decided to create the ultimate inspirational landscape for all small business founders. I started with my podcast, Conversations of Inspiration (at the time it was the first podcast hosted by a seasoned female businesswoman)! And I have also written a Sunday Times best- selling book: Do What You Love, Love What You Do.
Last year I launched my annual Colour Friday campaign, a day where I encourage everyone to reconsider their Black Friday mass consumption and encourage consumers to shop thoughtfully with small businesses during the biggest retail period of the year.
We know this year is going to be one of our toughest Christmases yet. I’ve already had to take the difficult decision to close my Work/Shop, and I know thousands of you across the UK are in the same boat. We need to encourage this year’s Christmas shoppers to buy fewer gifts from big businesses and more from the smalls — and quite literally, use us or lose us.
This year on 25 November we are encouraging the nation to swap Black Friday for Colour Friday and support the UK’s independents who work so hard to bring colour to grey. With your help, we can take a stand before it’s too late.
There are so many ways independent retailers can get involved. If you head to my website (holly.co) you can download the free Colour Friday marketing pack filled with exclusive artwork that you can print out to put in your shop window or turn into stickers to pop on orders. You could even turn it into badges to gift to your in-store shoppers. The information also includes some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in retail over the past 20 years as well as how you can make the shift from Black Friday to Colour Friday as a small business.
I know how tough it’s out there for all of us this Christmas. I really hope you might pledge your support and take part in Colour Friday – I will be looking to each one of you to shout about it from the rooftops and get our collective voice heard. I wish you all the luck and success over these critical months and weeks.
Holly Tucker MBE is a small business ambassador and founder of notonthehighstreet.com and Holly and Co. She offers advice and inspiration to indies through her podcast, book, Instagram accounts (@holly.co and @hollytucker) and online Advice Hub. Find out more via holly.co.