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Northern Ireland

Seven things you should know about Sophie Cornish…

01 Feb 2019

Sophie Cornish notonthehightstreet

The co-founder of Notonthehighstreet has recently been confirmed as one of the speakers at this year’s IoD Womens Leadership Conference. has helped thousands of small creative businesses across the UK promote and sell their goods online to a worldwide audience. Sophie has become an inspirational figure to female business leaders and, coupled with her a colourful life story, is very much an in-demand guest speaker.

Here are seven things you should know about Sophie Cornish…

1. She had an unconventional upbringing. Sophie’s mother was the novelist Penny Vincenzi. Her seventeen bestsellers have sold over 7m copies worldwide, and her epic sagas always feature strong female lead characters. Her late father, Paul Vincenzi, was an inventor who Sophie described as a ‘brave risk-taker when it came to his career.’

2. One of her first jobs, back in the mid-80s, was working as an editorial assistant on Cosmopolitan magazine. This was hugely influential period in her career where she says women mentored their juniors and shared the credit. Although she also admitted there was something of a ‘Devil Wears Prada’ vibe about working there!

3. She would later go on to work for major brands including L'Oreal at advertising agency Publicis where she met Notonthehighstreet co-founder Holly Tucker. In 2005, Sophie received an email from Holly suggesting they should go into business together. They hit upon a trend where people were moving away from the big, designer brands and seeking something more authentic, artisan and original. 

4. When Sophie and Holly were trying to get the business off the ground they went looking for investors. Sophie recalled, ‘We faced sexism, jokes and patronising comments from potential investors who dismissed us as a couple of mums doing arts and crafts.’

5. Notonthehighstreet currently brings together more than 5,000 of the UK’s most creative small businesses with more than 170,000 original, inspirational lifestyle products, many of which are bespoke and made to order. Turnover has grown from £134,000 in its first year to £165m by 2017. In 2013, both Sophie and Holly received MBEs for services to small business and enterprise.

6. Sophie is also successful author in her own right. She co-wrote Build a Business from Your Kitchen Table which went to number one in the Sunday Times bestseller list back in 2014.

7. In their second book, titled Shape Up Your Business, Sophie offers this piece of advice when it comes to starting a business partnership. ‘We both filled out a long and detailed questionnaire, which we then swapped and read, clarifying exactly how we felt about our visions for the company, the time we could give to it, our attitudes. We’d recommend anyone going into a partnership to do the same.’

Join us at the IoD Women's Leadership Conference 2019– 8 March

Sophie will be one of our headline speakers at the IoD Women's Leadership Conference in Titanice Belfast on 8 March. Join us and some of the country’s most inspirational business women to hear fascinating stories, learn how to implement lasting changes in your company and leave motivated to accelerate your career.

Find out more

For more information, please contact the IoD NI Office on: 

028 9694 6740


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