Local Legends: Spotlight on Herts’ Smaller Companies

With the ever-changing economic landscape, our local companies have to go above and beyond to continue trading. Here we share some of them and urge you to show your support too

retro b
Stephen Cash, founder of The Retro Bee, saves furniture that often ends up in a landfill and brings it back to life. Based in Hitchin, Stephen buys, restores and sells mid-century and vintage pieces including Ercol and G Plan, using traditional and sympathetic restoration techniques. Whether you’re looking for a vintage oak desk, a teak coffee table, or a 1960s sideboard, you’ll find beautiful and well-loved furniture for your home. Buy via Instagram @employee

Great British Life: Stephen Cash, from The Retro Bee, saves furniture that often ends up in landfillStephen Cash, of The Retro Bee, saves furniture that often ends up in a landfill (Photo: Stephen Cash)

Annie with Alex
Annie with Alex is a mother-daughter collaboration that designs and manufactures trendy bags for you and your family. “Our bags are designed with multiple uses in mind, so they can’t be used for just one occasion,” says founder Alex Minzi. The bags are made of premium cotton canvas, French cotton linens and fine British wool – all machine washable. The Walk in the Park messenger bag, £70, does exactly what it says. Designed for wet weather, it can hold a water bottle, book, glasses, and all your essentials. Now comes in new colors. Owner Alex Minzi adds that the bags were ‘lovingly made by our family for you.

Great British Life: Walk in the Park messenger bag, 70's, Annie with AlexWalking in the Park Messenger Bag, 70, Annie with Alex (Photo: Alex Menzi)

epic gameplay
EPIC Play was created in the aftermath of the pandemic in late 2021. As parents of five, Emma and Paul Wilde have experienced years of birthday party planning and the stress that comes with it. Their aim is to provide luxury accommodation for young children without any stress, and since November last year, they have been providing many parents in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire with a touch of luxury. Having worked in education for many years, with a passion for early years learning and development, Emma knows how important play is. “We love what we do, it’s a small part of our family who shares our love of playing through our party kits.” Says.
epic-play.co.uk or epic_play_hertsbeds

GREAT BRITISH LIFE: Stress-Free Toddler Parties with EPIC GameStress-free toddler parties with an EPIC game (photo: EPIC Play)

NMRK Jewellery
The female-founded NMRK Jewelery brand was launched from lockdown last year and has quickly gained popularity with celebrities and influencers. The first two collections focus on the importance of ethically and sustainably sourced pieces made of 9 karat gold and diamonds. Combining luxury with affordability, NMRK specializes in elevated essentials like their signature collection of solid gold Huggie earrings. The latest collection, The Diamond Edit, has arrived just in time for Christmas, adding even more sparkle to the season.

Great British Life: Diamond bar stud, ?  285, NMRK JewelleryDiamond Bar Stud, 285, NMRK Jewelers (Image: NMRK Jewelers)

Beautiful ceramics and glass
Pretty Ceramics & Glass is an innovative new home décor business developed during the lockdown. Launched by Boxmoor artist Lauren Bates, it specializes in the vintage art of paper decor, which is used to create one-of-a-kind designs on new and upcycled home accessories including furniture, mirrors, and storage pieces. She also creates botanical tile plaster in Paris and wall hangings that capture the fleeting beauty of seasonal flowers and plants. Lorraine Interiors’ first collection sold out at The Creative Collective in Berkhamsted. She describes her style as “simple luxury,” and pieces often include shiny gilding and shimmering accents. Each collection is an exclusive limited edition of unique handcrafted pieces. Commissions are welcome.

Great British Life: Artist Lauren Bates, specializing in the art of vintage paper decoupageArtist Lauren Bates, specializing in the art of vintage paper decoupage (Photo: Beautiful Ceramics & Glass)

A large green area
Created in 2013 by Louise Barcock, a creative event planner, Big Green Space specializes in arranging your very own garden weddings and parties. When planning a party, what started as a fun experience can quickly turn into a bit of a headache…and that’s where Big Green Space comes in. They work closely with you to design unique and personal celebrations, taking care of the following- spectacle preparations and event management throughout the day, to ensure everything runs smoothly and you are free to enjoy the day. Whether you are planning a family wedding or a party for friends, they can support you from start to finish and help you with every little detail in between.

Great British Life: Arrange unique and personal celebrations with Big Green SpaceArrange unique and personal celebrations with Big Green Space (photo: large green space)

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