The founders of notonthehighstreet.com
won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at last night's Specsavers Everywoman in Retail Awards in London, where retail luminaries joined the UK's largest network for women in business, Everywoman
, to celebrate the most inspiring and pioneering women working in the industry.
Notonthehighstreet.com brings together products from around 1,200 small businesses — a large proportion also run by women — as the firm 's website explains:
Once in a while, we'd hit upon a really special little business. One that had that certain notonthehighstreet-style about it, hidden away somewhere at an urban market, or a country fair, or in a tiny village lane. We'd meet the owner, passionate about their products, buy up half of them for our homes and families, then want the whole world to know about them. The thing is, there's often no room for them on the high street; big retailers don't stock small brands… yet they're utterly, utterly fabulous.
The firm, which was started in April 2006, is predicted to turnover £6m this year and has a staff of 24. The pair, who says they have faced many challenges including having to rapidly develop their own technology for enabling products from different companies to be placed together in one order, now plan to represent more than 2,500 suppliers within the next few years, and to produce seven catalogues annually.
"We believe that we deserved to win as we have created something unique — a whole community who support one another — so winning would mean recognition for over 2,000 women," commented Holly and Sophie after the ceremony.
The panel of judges included some of the retail world's most prominent female success stories and influencers — Sue Brownson OBE, managing director of Blue Bell BMW Group; Anne Seaman, CEO of Skillsmart Retail and Kim Morton, chair of the Fashion Retail Academy.