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

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

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

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