From engineer to beekeeper: Highgate woman smashing stereotypes
- Credit: Jon Challicom
A Highgate beekeeper is selling home-made honey, candles and soap - when she's not working as a structural engineer.
Helen Rogers, who lives in the Holly Lodge Estate, moved to London from rural Oxfordshire in the 1990s to study engineering.
However, she has "always been fascinated" by nature, and was delighted when her husband presented her with a beehive 10 years ago.
Helen told the Ham&High: "When I moved to London, I noticed beehives hidden away everywhere I looked.
"They're in bushes, on buildings - they're little secrets few people know about."
Since then, the mother-of-two has been beekeeping alongside working as a consultant engineer, and founded Highgate Honey four years ago.
The business sells honey, candles and bees-wax wraps, and runs honey-tasting workshops focused on British products.
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Yesterday - January 10 - Helen's talents were recognised in the f:Entrepreneur #ialso100 campaign, which profiles 100 female entrepreneurs across the UK.
Founded by Small Business Britain in 2017 to "celebrate the multi-achievements" of women running businesses, including a disability activist, grief coach and dog rehabilitation expert.
Helen said: "It aims to spotlight women doing more than one thing, women who wear lots of hats.
"We don't have nine to five office jobs. It's a fantastic group of women and I'm gobsmacked to be part of it."
Although there are few studies about gender ratios within beekeeping, research from The Magazine of American Beekeeping has found that just a third of leadership positions in the industry are held by women.
The 44-year-old also found time to write a book, '80 Flowers for Bees', with her horticulturalist mother during lockdown.
"People want to help bees but have no idea where to start," Helen explained.
"I feel confident that I'm not exploiting the bees - I see many bad practices in beekeeping which I don't subscribe to.
"I ensure my bees are left with plenty of honey, as it's good for humans but also good for bees. There's a lot of misconceptions about bee-keeping out there."
Helen's products and workshops can be found at highgatehoney.com/shop/.