'Risked it all' Not on the High Street founder recalls moment she feared 'losing home'

She said: “I could always remember it was Christmas and we were funding Not on the High Street through our credit card chequebooks at the time. “I was maybe going to lose my home and I had a very young child and we had risked it all.

“We were lucky enough that we managed, thanks to a friend who was in a church in the south of France who happened to sit on a pew next to someone she knew. That friend knew of a gentleman called Tom Teichman.

“Tom Teichman ran SPARK ventures which were the first people to write the first check for Lastminute.comLink

“It was at that moment that he said you’ve got the spark we’re going to invest in you.”

Ms Tucker is best known for her company NotontheHightStreet.com – an online marketplace for artisanal and niche products.

© NotontheHighStreet/Wikipedia Holly Tucker

She started the brand from her kitchen table in 2006, growing it to a multimillion-pound firm.

It now employs more than 200 people and has helped some of its own sellers reach that magic million-pound mark.

Ms Tucker continued: “Well, we grew Not on the High Street and it was phenomenal.

“Collectively, it’s pumped £1 billion into our small business community, so over that period of time our small businesses – that’s 5000 small businesses we have – have received over that period of time, £1 billion.

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“Now when I think back to Sophie [her business partner] and me persuading people that this was going to change the face of a retail you know we did it, you know we did it.

“I’m so happy that we created it but what I’m so happy about is the small businesses that never let us down, that were so creative.

“And in turn have gone on to have phenomenal lives too. You know it it’s just a beautiful story.”

Ms Tucker started her advertising career at 20 years old, working as an account manager in London with prestigious clients such as L’Oréal.

© GETTY Not on tHE hiGH STREET

However, after a year, Ms Tucker was forced to dramatically slow down after learning she had an inoperable brain tumour. This led to her having to quit her job.

It was during her hardest times that Ms Tucker developed the motivation which has brought her so far today.

As a distraction she started making wreaths out of vegetables.

Thankfully, Ms Tucker got better, and started to sell these wreaths more seriously.

Struggling to find venues to sell her creations, Ms Tucker decided to organise a fair for small businesses in Chiswick, West London.

More than 100 businesses signed up, so she began organising many more. Whilst doing these, she realised that the success of the fairs was dependent on weather.

The amount of people that would turn up to the fairs would decrease if it rained the roof leaked. “When it rained, when it poured, you name it, people wouldn’t turn up,” she added.

So, with her friend Sophie Cornish, in 2006, Ms Tucker launched Not On The High Street – a website where small businesses can sell their products.

At that time, it was the only online marketplace in the world apart from Amazon and eBay.

Within a decade the pair, who have been awarded MBEs for their achievements, were running a multimillion-pound enterprise, employing more than 200 people, with around 200 of the tens of thousands of small businesses signed up hitting an annual turnover of £1 million.

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