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LOCKDOWN LIMBO: MEET RUTH

Ruth Nye is a BUSY lady. And I mean seriously busy.

I first met her through an event she was running a few months ago (in fact I think that was probably one of my last pre-lockdown outings), but she’s involved in all sorts of Hertfordshire businesses (and beyond…). Let’s find out more.

MEET RUTH FROM… THE BUMBLEBEE COLLECTIVE (and more)!

Known to some of us as the founder of the Bumblebee Collective, Ruth’s day job is actually handling the marketing for Hitchin’s glorious Hermitage Rd., The Farmhouse at Redcoats, The White Horse at Brancaster in Norfolk, and other venues under the Anglian Country Inns brand (it’s the family business)… She explains that the Bumblebee Collective is her ‘side hustle’, and something that she loves to nurture alongside her day job as a way of putting on events about “things that get people curious”. You can find out more about some of the types of events when we get to her small business recommendations in a bit – each event is a collaboration with local experts.

Lockdown hasn’t made things easy for Ruth in any of her roles. Bumblebee Collective workshops and events have had to be cancelled (although social media workshops with Pippa Akram have gone ahead online), and as for the boutique hotels, pubs and coffee shops under the ACI brand…

“We actually took the decision to close before the government made it compulsory”, she says, “but that meant cancelling Mother’s Day events, missing Easter… it’s been hard”.

They’ve been working hard to bring smiles to customers’ faces though, offering local communities everything from ‘quarantini’ cocktails and food to take away from Hermitage Rd, to the Farmhouse at Redcoats’ amazing Father’s Day offer (check out their Instagram for more). It seems that even in lockdown, the ‘busy’ doesn’t stop!

Ruth’s small business shout outs

Ruth has done us proud with the shout outs – this is a bumper haul and there are some fabulous small businesses to check out! First up, a few friends of the Bumblebee Collective:

  • The Basement Florist is normally… well, a florist. In fact, she’s a WONDERFUL florist who runs our wreath-making workshops. Lockdown has meant cancelling the Spring Wreath workshop we had planned, but it’s also given her the opportunity to shift her business to focus on selling houseplants – which as been brilliant!
  • The Yoga Shed were part of a festival we ran with the Bumblebee Collective last year and I love everything they do! They’ve taken their classes online in the last few weeks and you can still buy their beautiful products and vouchers, too.
  • Ink and Flow – the lovely Kirstie – collaborates with us on modern calligraphy workshops. On a more personal note, she blew me away with a commission of the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling which I gave as a gift to my husband. The words are all the more poignant at the moment.
  • Social Pip is Hitchin’s resident social media expert and her workshops always go down a storm. We’ve managed to keep these going online during lockdown and they’ve been really, really well received!

Next up, a few more that Hitchin locals know and love!

  • Jolly Brown Vintage not only has this utterly stunning window (just look at that rainbow!), but they’ve also been keeping their stock updated online while we can’t get to see them in person.
  • Arkley Fine Art  is a neighbour to Hermitage Rd, run by a wonderful husband and wife team and dedicated to making interesting art available to us locally.
  • Fabios Gelato is another Hitchin favourite, and another Hermitage Rd neighbour. Known for their crazy (but brilliant) flavours (Irn Bru anyone?), they’re still open for takeaways, thank goodness… We’ll be making a trip there for my daughter’s birthday!

Ruth’s friends and family are a talented bunch too:

  • Sage Creates is a new business (fresh during lockdown) set up by my great friend Cesca. She’s perfect for anything creative, from websites to brand design, illustrations and more.
  • Hertfordshire Fresh is keeping us all in fresh, local food, carefully selected for the very best in quality.
  • Kraken Travel is excellent for holiday adventures in stunning settings. Overseas travel might be looking iffy this year, but their UK-based sailing holidays are going ahead, no experience required!
  • East London Parasol Company… well, I’m not sure I need to say much here. Just look at Lucy’s exquisite parasols! Everything they sell is responsibly-sourced and I love what they do. I bought one of these as a birthday present during lockdown and it’s just gorgeous.

And finally, a talented duo who are on Ruth’s go-to list for wedding-inspiration photoshoots:

  • Mr and Mrs Unique is the brainchild of Erica, who’s an all-round creative, lovely person! Her Instagram account is packed full of gorgeous, distinctive and individual wedding inspiration and ideas.
  • And last but not least, we have Binky Nixon, wedding and commercial photographer extraordinare! She’s the talent behind the camera at many of our photoshoots, and she’s been making the most of lockdown with socially distanced shoots to capture memories of this weird (and sometimes wonderful) time.

Thank you so much for finding the time to chat, Ruth! Find out more about the Bumblebee Collective, and have a read of the other Lockdown Limbo chats right here…

…and if you enjoyed those, check out my copywriting website too. Thank you ta.

Photo credits: Photo of Ruth by Alexa Loy. All other photos taken from businesses’ own Instagram accounts.

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