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Douglaston bee lover launches own beauty biz

Ruth Harrigan's homemade beauty products are on sale at Douglaston's Giftalicious shop near the local Long Island Rail Road station. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

For Douglaston’s Ruth Harrigan, getting laid off has become a blessing in disguise, thanks to her humming helpers.

After spending more than a year producing beauty products with homemade honey extracted from her own bee hives as a hobby, Harrigan’s newfound freedom has allowed her to spread some new wings.

Earlier this month, the Douglaston native officially launched Mee Beauty, a line of beauty products mixed with authentic New York City honey. Mee, meaning “honey” in Chinese, has become the focal point of her product pitch because Harrigan said it serves as a natural moisturizer for the skin.

“The idea came from my husband. I was just having fun in the bee yard,” said Harrigan, who has been beekeeping as a hobby for three years. “I thought I would take my love for beekeeping to the next step.”

After drawing up a logo and working with her husband to design labels and have the products assembled, Harrigan has introduced a line of body lotion, face cream, and lip balm cleverly labeled as “Bee Moisturized,” “Bee Hydrated” and “Bee Kissed.”

“My excitement is what motivates me,” Harrigan said. “I have always wanted to be in the driver’s seat and make my own destiny.”

The products have already been prominently displayed in Douglaston’s Giftalicious near the Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station, where owner Demetra Sirica spoke volumes about Harrigan’s work.

“It’s all good because it’s all natural,” said Sirica, who uses the products herself. “Ruth is fabulous. Her line is fabulous. She knows how to make a good product.”

After years of fascination led her to take on beekeeping as a hobby, Harrigan said she has become well-versed in the language of her buzzing buddies, learning how to be invisible to them while working alongside them.

The Douglaston mother of four started taking in hives from friends and neighbors more than three years ago and has since spent hours each weekend tending to the bees. By the time she had launched her new line of honey-driven beauty products, Harrigan said she worked her way up to eight hives, which produce about 100 pounds of honey each.

Harrigan said she has been working on the line’s own website at meebeauty.com, where she will also offer an exclusive 20 percent discount to TimesLedger Newspaper readers who use the promo code Ledger20.

“I hope that in a year I can say that being laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Harrigan said. “A concept is one thing. But action is another.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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