Young Business Person of the Year nominee – Holly Cooke

Young Business Person of the Year nominee – Holly Cooke
Posted on 14.03.24
Share it:

Young Business Person of the Year nominee – Holly Cooke

A business inspired by the loneliness Holly Cooke felt after moving from Stoke-on-Trent to London now has tens of thousands of members, has spread to other cities around the UK and has seen her partner with global brands.

Holly, the daughter of Saltbox CEO Lloyd Cooke, founded The London Lonely Girls Club on Facebook in 2018 after moving to London from Stoke-on-Trent.

She grew so desperate for company she eventually found herself searching omline for ‘how to make friends in London’. The search proved mostly futile but she did find a few other women who lived in London and were also lonely. She was seeking women friends specifically because “we really need to look out for each other”.

“Admitting that you’re lonely and you don’t have people around was really scary,” said Holly. So she was pleasantly surprised when five women showed up for a get together and they all got along well. The success of the first meet-up proved that she was not alone in her loneliness and that she could help others in the same situation.

Her Lonely Girls’ Club is now six years old and organises four to six events each month which have included picnics, brunches, board game and cocktail nights, pottery and jewellery workshops and even puppy yoga.

Regular park walks in different London parks have attracted more than 150 women to each event. For most events attendees are charged a small fee to cover deposits while other events charge more depending on the type of activity.

The club now has more than 70,000 London members. In 2023 Holly launched similar clubs in Manchester and Nottingham where monthly events are now taking place.

The Lonely Girls’ Club now has more than 75,000 Facebook members across its three locations, more than 50,000 Instagram followers and 15,000 email newsletters are sent out each week. One recent Instagram video went viral and has been watched by more than one million people.

At the beginning of 2024 Holly turned Lonely Girl’s Club into a business. She has been interviewed on BBC TV and has featured in the Washington Post in the US.

She spends much of her time sourcing new venues, has developed her negotiating and business skills and secured partnerships with the likes of Chelsea Women’s Football Club, Heineken and Kate Spade.

Holly says she has lost count of how many women have made enduring friendships through her group. She’s seen members go on holidays together and also become roommates.

“It’s beautiful and it’s rewarding and it’s the reason I’ve carried on,” she said. “We can’t stop now. As long as there is a need, we will be here.”

Holly has been nominated in the Young Business Person of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards by her proud dad, Llloyd Cooke.

© Copyright 2023 Staffordshire University Business Awards