Our judges

When searching for the very best Independent Small Businesses, we knew that we needed incredible experts to help us crown the winners. So we were utterly thrilled when our esteemed judges agreed to pick our finalists and winners.

Highly regarded in each of their sectors, we are privileged to have their expert eyes and insights to judge the Independent Awards 2020.

High Street Shop of 2020

Oliver Tress

Founder of Oliver Bonas

Oliver opened his first shop in 1993, and now has 80 stores nationwide, showcasing great design and innovative homewares and fashion.



Founded in 1995, Lush has stood strong to its beliefs and pioneered a positive impact on the world since day 1, it now has over 800 stores worldwide.

Holly says…

‘Two icons of the Great British high street, I was thrilled when Oliver and Mark agreed to join our judging line up! I greatly admire Oliver and the strength of brand that has stayed true even as it has grown. And for me, Lush is one of the best examples of immersive theatre not only in the UK, but across the globe. Just the smell when walking past a one of their shops is captivating!’

Newcomer Award

Ade Hassan MBE

Founder of Nubian Skin

Named ‘Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2014, Ade has successfully pioneered the way in making underwear for women of colour.

Marcia Kilgore

Founder of Beauty Pie

Founder of numerous successful start ups, Marcia has an exceptional eye for building household brands from the kitchen table.

Holly says…

‘A powerhouse of female founders, Ade and Marcia know a thing or two about being a newcomer. It is never easy to bring something brand new into any sector, but Ade has done just that in an area dominated by huge brands, an incredible achievement in just over 5 years. Ade is joined by a personal heroine of mine, serial entrepreneur Marcia truly understands the magic DNA required for a new business to thrive and turn and industry on its head.’

Community Brand Award

Emily Coxhead

Creator of The Happy News

Emily amassed a community worldwide when she launched “The Happy News” in 2015, a newspaper sharing only happiness and positivity.

Joe Wicks MBE

Founder of The Body Coach

British fitness coach, TV presenter and author. Throughout lockdown, Joe galvanised the nation into changing the way people think about food and exercise.

Holly says…

‘Emily and Joe are the gold standard in what it means to build a community in the digital age. Bringing happiness to our everyday, Emily knows what it takes to build a true connection and if there is one person who has epitomised what it means to inspire a community in 2020, Joe is surely it!’

Modern Crafter Award

Sarah Sevier

Head of Retail, V&A

Sarah is responsible for the creative direction of all product sourcing and development at the world renowned V&A.

Jay Blades

Presenter, Founder of Jay & Co

Jay is a modern furniture restorer who’s passionate about sustainability. Famed for ‘The Repair Shop’ he is a passionate champion for the preservation of traditional craft.

Holly says…

‘Is there a bigger thrill than visiting the V&A shop? Such a brilliantly creative and innovative shop, so I am honoured that Sarah will be judging this category. Along with Jay, a man with huge passion for craft and design, and as much enthusiasm for small businesses and the colour they bring to our world as I do – which is no mean feat!’

Products of 2020

Bryony Sheridan

Buying Manager for Liberty London

Liberty London is the ultimate emporium for creative product. Bryony heads up the buying team for the celebrated Home department.

Harriet Vine MBE and Rosie Wolfenden MBE

Co-Founders of Tatty Devine

Founded in 1999 in the heart of East London by Harriet and Rose, Tatty Devine has been synonymous with quirky creativity for over 20 years.

Holly says…

‘There is little that sparks more joy for me than stepping into Liberty London and seeing their beautifully created products, so I was totally thrilled when Bryony agreed to join the judging line up! And even more thrilled that she will judge alongside Tatty Devine founders Rosie and Harriet – 20 years in the business and still at the top of their game with fresh designs, they’re a powerhouse duo who have an incredible eye for brilliant product.’

Passion & Purpose award

Edward Perry

Co-Founder of COOK

Edward co-founded COOK in 1997 and is a passionate believer in building businesses that are a force for good.

Sir Tim Smit KBE

Founder of The Eden Project

A true visionary, Sir Tim Smit is pioneering a social enterprise and creating a blueprint for sustainability worldwide.

Holly says…

‘There are few better equipped or more passionate about building a business with purpose and changing the world than Edward Perry and Sir Tim. I admire them both greatly and feel incredible honoured that they agreed to judge this award.

with thanks to our small business supporters