Four Hitchin independent businesses bag Hertfordshire Muddy Stilettos Awards

Haelan Therapy owner Rebecca Kelly with fellow award winner Michelle Smith from Pilates Pod, picture

Haelan Therapy owner Rebecca Kelly with fellow award winner Michelle Smith from Pilates Pod, pictured with her husband Ed and their son. - Credit: Archant

Four independents from Hitchin have been voted the best in the business at what they do.

Haelan Therapy, Pilates Pod and Twisted Fabric all won individual categories at the Hertfordshire Muddy Stilettos Awards 2015, while Hermitage Rd Bar and Restaurant and sister retail store Hermitage Rd & Co bagged titles for best casual dining and best interiors store respectively.

It is the first time the awards – set up to promote the best independent businesses – has been held in the county, with more than 8,000 voting for their favourites across 28 different categories.

The win was particularly special for Rebecca Kelly, who decided on a change of career path from a fundraising manager to therapy centre owner after finding out her mum had cancer and reassessing her goals.

After spending two years gaining qualifications in massage, reiki and reflexology, she set up Haelan Therapy in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since.

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Rebecca’s approach is unique in that she also combines life coaching skills – which she also has a qualification in – to create bespoke treatments for her clients at the centre in Lancaster Avenue.

“By treating a client as a whole person and not just their symptoms, I am able to help them discover any emotional links to the cause of their issue or condition,” she said.

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“It is about building a relationship and giving them the opportunity to look after their wellbeing so that they can be strong for everyone else in their lives.”

About winning the award for best complementary therapy centre, she added: “I am passionate about the work I do and helping my clients to be the very best they can be through my treatments. I am a small business and the Muddy Stiletto award will not only put me on the Hitchin map for complementary therapy but it has also shown how much my clients care and support the work I do.”

Pilates Pod in Bancroft came out on top in the best yoga/pilates studio category, while Twisted Fabric in The Arcade was declared the best men’s boutique.

Category runners-up included Hermitage Rd for best bar, as well as fellow Hitchin businesses Halsey’s for best deli and Jolly Brown for best emporium.

To view the full list of winners and nominees visit

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