Behind Her Empire Podcast: Hedley & Bennett CEO Ellen Bennett Says 'Start Before You're Ready'

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Behind Her Empire Podcast: Hedley & Bennett CEO Ellen Bennett Says 'Start Before You're Ready'
Carla Choy

On this episode of Behind Her Empire podcast, hear from Ellen Bennett, founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett, maker of durable, functional and slick-looking aprons and kitchen gear.

After attending culinary school in Mexico City, Ellen cooked in some of LA's most prestigious kitchens and found that the aprons she wore fell apart. Thus, Hedley & Bennett was born. Her aprons are now found in more than 6,000 restaurants and hotels, as well as hundreds of thousands of home kitchens around the world.


Key Takeaways:

  • Ellen thrives on the challenge and adventure of "the abyss" -- of not knowing what's coming next.
  • After high school, Ellen moved to Mexico City and took on a bunch of odd jobs, including stints as an English tutor, model and lottery television announcer, before attending culinary school.
  • Back in L.A., she cooked in some of the city's most prestigious kitchens, and while she immersed herself in the world, she and a colleague couldn't shake off the idea of reinventing the essential pro-kitchen tool: an apron. She wanted it to be "proper" and beautiful, so that the wearer felt awesome and legit — a product which, at the time, did not exist.
  • It was the need for operational infrastructure that pushed Ellen to find a strategic partner.

By the time I was old enough to recognize happiness, I think that I could very clearly see people's genuine joy in situations that had nothing to do with resources, and they had nothing to do with money and it just had to do with life.

Today with Instagram and everything, you have to constantly be reminding yourself that everyone is on their own path. And just because something looks shiny on the outside doesn't mean that it's shiny on the inside.

Most of the time, you have the tools right in front of you. It's just like, how are you arranging your life and your time and your day to take advantage of them? And it takes hitting the ground floor of life sometimes to really embrace them totally.

—Ellen Bennett

Ellen Bennett was raised in Los Angeles. She was trained in culinary school and some of L.A.'s top kitchens before founding Hedley & Bennett

Want to hear more of the Behind Her Empire podcast? Subscribe on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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