The innovation of Hertfordshire businesses during the lockdown

PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 May 2020

JacquesPALUT/Getty Images/iStockphoto

JacquesPALUT/Getty Images/iStockphoto


SMEs across the county are showing just how resilient they are by adapting to the constraints of lockdown. We asked about the changes they’ve made to business as usual.

Val CansickVal Cansick

Val Cansick Studio

Art workshops

Val Cansick

Val Cansick Studio at Hall’s Green near Hitchin has gone online to stay connected with our regular painters while we are not able to open the studio for face-to-face tuition during lockdown. We all need to stay safe to help our NHS cope with the pressures they are under right now.

Creative activities have never been so needed in these challenging times, so we are working on new online tutorials to support beginners and improvers of any age, and encourage you to ‘have a go’, or pick up where you may have left off with ‘arty’ things a while ago.

Visit our website for updates while we work on our new set of videos that you can download or follow on your phone or computer.

Do sign up for our free newsletter, or call us on 07544 343749 if you have any questions about painting in lockdown and beyond.

Jonathan WillisJonathan Willis

Future Start

Financial advice

Jonathan Willis

01923 909339

Future Start is an independent financial advice firm assisting high net worth clients plan and structure their financial affairs to reduce inheritance tax and protect their assets down the family bloodline.

New technology means that important planning can be done without delay and enables us to help people further afield – useful for trustee meetings!

The technology we use allows us to share our screens while working with clients, securely send agreements out for electronic signatures, share documents securely and communicate via video link.

One thing that has improved is efficiency. Advice can be broken down into more manageable chunks for clients as meetings are so much easier to arrange. In addition, we use technology to communicate with our other key partnerships such as solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers. Our doors continue to be open here at Future Start, metaphorically speaking!

Bodhini ArmstrongBodhini Armstrong

Bodhi Aspirations

Meditation & wellness

Bodhini V Armstrong

Bodhi Aspirations has been completely transformed by the lockdown. Before Covid-19, we were blessed to be hosting flourishing meditation classes and wellness retreat days across Hertfordshire. The demand for meditation classes increased as soon as the stress of isolation and other effects of the pandemic took hold of the country.

I instantly moved our classes online and with thanks to the Zoom network, I am still able to provide wellbeing sessions to our corporate clients. I have also created a monthly subscription service for those in need of extra support.

Social media has always been invaluable to our business, but now more than ever. It is the best way to connect with new and existing clients.

Social media has been instrumental in spreading the word of our services and how we can help people during this challenging time and beyond.

Sarah Jarman and Anna MurphySarah Jarman and Anna Murphy


Garden design

Sarah Jarman & Anna Murphy

This surreal time of lockdown has emphasised the importance of our outside space and has encouraged us all to slow down; appreciating, noticing and really valuing what we have on our own doorsteps.

It’s a tricky time for all of us, and like everyone, we are concerned about friends and family. However, with our gardens being more important than ever, we are keen to make the most of the time, and have enjoyed seeing more people get outside; sowing seeds, growing vegetables or just sitting with a book.

We are fortunate to have offices in our homes, as we have since we began jarmanmurphy in 2015. We have continued to design gardens and make site visits to oversee local builds in progress, albeit on a smaller scale. Being the busiest time of year for nurseries, we have been supporting our local independents and including their plants in our schemes.

We use Instagram and Facebook ( and to keep in touch with other designers and clients, sharing and posting pictures and articles that followers may find helpful. It’s also lovely to be sent messages or film clips from our clients of gardens we have designed, and we love to see how they’ve developed over the years.

The Ladbury family, John Ladbury kitchensThe Ladbury family, John Ladbury kitchens

John Ladbury Kitchen design

Bespoke kitchen company

Jackie Ladbury

John Ladbury bespoke kitchen company has been producing high-end kitchens in Welham Green for over 40 years. Very much a local family business, our excellent reputation for productivity and reliability is still guaranteed, regardless of the recent uncertainty due to Covid-19.

More than ever families have discovered that their kitchen is the heart of their home as adults and children try out new baking recipes and cooking styles. Take a look at our brand new website (address above) to see our innovative new designs for our bespoke kitchens.

We are very much open for business. If you have a project that you would like to discuss with us, do not hesitate to drop us a line and someone will contact you as soon as possible.

You can also find images of many of our recent projects on Facebook and the usual social media sites, including Instagram: @johnladburykitchens

Download and colour in a series of sketches by Sarah LeeteDownload and colour in a series of sketches by Sarah Leete

Gallery 1066

Art gallery

Hayley Norman

Gallery 1066, one of Hertfordshire’s leading art galleries, has been working hard during lockdown by offering clients virtual gallery tours and home visits. We are also proud to have helped raise over £150,000 collectively across the UK for the NHS with the new release by acclaimed artist Doug Hyde called Thank You. This collection sold out within two days – a phenomenal response by collectors.

The Baldock gallery is always looking at innovative ways to help brighten everyone’s day with inspiring works of art and we’ve recently teamed up with local fashion designer and illustrator Sarah Leete. Sarah has been busy creating a fabulous collection of fun and witty illustrations (such as Beauty Hag, right) to download free of charge and to colour in. The drawings are for all ages and we would love people to share them with other families and have some fun with them.

And as people are now finding more time to spruce up their walls, the gallery is offering a free 30 minute virtual interior design service over video call.

With a safe door-to-door delivery and virtual service, if you are looking for inspiration (there’s more on Instagram @gallery1066) and advice please do get in touch on 07974 246389. Staying supportive, staying kind and standing together is key for us as a business and we hope to promote that message to everyone.

Shane LutkinShane Lutkin



Shane Lutkin

There are some things we cannot change in this Covid-19 situation, but we can modify how we react psychologically to these troubled times. 

At Emotionalskills my colleagues and I are using Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime to help people who are emotionally troubled. We have adapted and this is working well and many clients are feeling reassured and less stressed and anxious. 

There are lots of things that you can do – stay connected online with friends and family; keep busy with hobbies, crafts, reading, films and home improvements; be physically active, such as walking, running and online exercise classes; stay calm, thanks to mindfulness, meditation or pets; limit information intake by managing access to news and social media; maintain routine by having a daily plan.

Talking to a professional listener, a therapist, and receiving counselling to place anxiety rationally and dispel imagined worries can help most people who are stressed in these times. For assistance, call 07986 488690 or email

Platform WinesPlatform Wines

Platform Wines

Wine, beer & spirits

James Allsop & Daniel Blake

Platform Wines opened in December 2019 in Harpenden offering a carefully selected and affordable range of wine, beers, spirits and soft drinks. We then swiftly opened another store in Berkhamsted later that month. Platform Wines had always planned to offer an online service, however the government lockdown forced us to move in that direction and we sadly had to close both of our stores that had only just opened.

We decided to try and launch a free same day contactless delivery service, initially within Dacorum and St Albans districts. This was a great success and we have recently employed additional staff to support this. This has allowed us to undertake same day delivery in other parts of Hertfordshire.

In April we then extended our range of wines and craft beers available and included spirits, mixed wine cases and beer tasting events. We are proud of our huge range of craft beers and our fine wines.

We also offer gift cards which can be purchased on our website and emailed to your recipient. These are a perfect gift for your ‘hard to buy for’ friend or family member, allowing them to choose their own gift and have it delivered while in lockdown and beyond.

Celia WarbrickCelia Warbrick

Moneyhill Interiors

Kitchen & interior design

Celia Warbrick

Moneyhill Interiors is operating successfully during this lockdown period. Of course our primary aim is to keep clients, staff and all our installers safe. While the Rickmansworth showroom is open by appointment only we are still using our design and IT skills to produce wonderful schemes and drawings for both new and existing clients.

We are presenting and having conversations with clients remotely on a one-to-one basis, using Skype, Zoom and FaceTime to show our designs, quotations and drawings, then individually checking sites and dimensions.

With most of our factories still producing kitchens, we feel it’s imperative that we keep this supply chain operating, so that we can fulfil and install our outstanding kitchens as quickly as possible. Once you have started a building project it is imperative to be able to complete it as soon as possible. Installers can still work individually in isolated rooms and with intelligent coordination we can ensure that everyone is looked after.

Please contact to arrange a consultation.

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