How Ellen Marie Bennett is combining eye-catching aesthetics and functionality with her brand Hedley & Bennett

Ellen Marie Bennett_Blog Header

Describe Hedley & Bennett in a few words?

An apron and kitchen gear brand born out of a professional kitchen making beautiful, durable pro grade gear for the home that is used by thousands of restaurants and home cooks alike. Also, click this link to purchase “Dream First, Details Later: How To Quit Overthinking & Make It Happen!”, my latest book!

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

It all started with wanting to make a better apron for the professional kitchen where an apron is as important as your knife or cutting board but it eventually turned into a direct to consumer business where we took all of our learnings from professional kitchens and created products that were not just functional but beautiful for the home cook too.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I used to cook professionally at a 2 michelin star restaurant.

Hedley & Bennett Photos by STUDIO 1208

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I think we all have an entrepreneur within us, it’s just that certain life experiences and opportunities propel us to take the leap into it fully.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

It was old school, street by street, chef by chef and working with restaurants to outfit their whole team. This acted as the best marketing because you would see our gear in your favorite spots till it eventually became a thing. If you saw our red Ampersand patch on the chest of the apron, you knew it was H&B and therefore the good stuff.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

One of the most challenging times in my business was fairly early on when I realized I couldn’t just do everything myself and I also couldn’t just make everything land and work always. Mistakes were going to be a part of the journey and I needed to start recognizing that there was no way around them but a major opportunity to learn from them.

Hedley & Bennett Desert Collection Photos by STUDIO 1208

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Having donated half a million masks during covid thanks to our incredibly viral wake up and fight mask that was done by way of a buy one donate one model.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I always try and find people who are low ego, high EQ, mega problem solvers and very collaborative. You want to pressure test their ability to be honest, upfront and be comfortable with candid conversations because I believe those ingredients are essential to great team work.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We had to shift dramatically because 50% of our business relied heavily on restaurants and overnight, that business took a nose dive because of covid. We decided to take our 16,000 sq ft factory in LA and produce face masks through a buy one donate one model and thanks to that initiative, we have been able to donate half a million masks and produce 1 million of them.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Lots and lots of pro grade, well made kitchen gear that helps make the basics of the kitchen from a commodity to a beautiful necessity.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

How to adapt effectively and rapidly.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

To be laser focused and look at the value versus effort of the things you choose to be a part of, in essence, is the juice worth the squeeze. Lots of shiny stuff will come along so you need to know what to say no to.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Lots of baths and lotssss of walks.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I believe in making my work and life blend because if you love what you do enough, it’s less of a burden to do the “work” of building something and more something you are excited to think about. I also have a job that involves me working with the restaurant industry and that is ALWAYS fun.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

One of my many jobs to pay my way through school in Mexico city was announcing the Mexican lottery numbers on television during the week.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Staying hydrated, finding the right space to get into your groove, for me it’s airpods in and chill music happening while I’ve got my emails going, and lastly sleeping enough. 8 hours is my go to or else it’s hard to crank for 10 to 12 hours.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Action, hustle, movement forward no matter what.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Cheri Moon of SNOOKNUK on building a brand that has a real impact on children and families

Describe your business in a few words? I’ve been a songwriter for many years writing for TV, commercials, myself, other artists and children. I built a company around my children’s brand, SNOOKNUK that creates content, media & products for children and families that teaches kids life lessons, social awareness, and basic hygiene. Not only do…

Ginger King of Grace Kingdom Beauty and FanLoveBeauty on the power of trusting your gut in business

Describe your business in a few words? Grace Kingdom Beauty – We help you to create your own beauty brand from concept to launch so you can create your own legacy on your own terms. FanLoveBeauty – A clean beauty brand for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs to empower confidence through beauty. We take care of your…

Alicia and Alejandra Torres-Candè of Lasto Foods on why you will never be ready to launch a business, but should do it anyways

Describe your business in a few words? Lasto Foods is a company that produces almond and peanut butter and packages it in squeezable containers for maximum convenience. We do not add any oils or emulsifiers because we believe in the power of simplicity and natural ingredients. What made you take the leap to start your…

Brooke Jonsoon and Suzie Potter on using influencer marketing to launch The Good Ritual with and scaling it to the go-to wellness brand for women on the go

Describe The Good Ritual in a few words? The go-to wellness brand for women on the go. What made you take the leap to start your own business? We already had our own service based businesses as wedding photographers however even though weddings allowed us to break away from our 9-5 jobs shooting weddings is…

Haily Meyers on building a brand born out of her love of motherhood with Lucy Darling

Describe your business in a few words? Lucy Darling was born out of my love of motherhood and my desire to cherish the moments of childhood. I love being a mom and I love watching my babies grow, which is why creating a brand that helps families cherish those moments has been so important to me.…

Carolyn Bothwell on her mission to empower independent creatives with Freelance Founders

Describe your business in a few words? Freelance Founders is a members-only community and resource hub for independent creatives. What made you take the leap to start your own business? In the early days of the pandemic, I saw many agency and in-house creatives being laid off and starting their freelance journey. For me, being…

Beau Wangtrakuldee on discovering the gap in PPE for women in STEM and launching AmorSui

Describe your business in a few words? At AmorSui, we provide the simplest way for hospitals and clinics to adapt zero waste PPE solutions towards greener health care. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I experienced firsthand the importance of having functional personal protective equipment (PPE) in protecting the health…

Caroline Conner on making wine education accessible (and entertaining!) to all with Wine Dine Caroline

Describe your business in a few words? As Wine Dine Caroline, I provide expert and entertaining wine education for consumers through live virtual events, online wine courses, and in her free facebook community. When travel returns, my other business, Lyon Wine Tastings will emerge from its Covid-coma to teach our local wines to English speaking…

Adapting quickly and being grateful for what you have with Carol Chen of Maskela

Describe Maskela in a few words? Saving the world, one beautiful mask at a time. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When the pandemic first started in Asia, I wanted to wear a mask but I didn’t want to feel embarrassed. Someone actually told me I looked “scary” because I…

Dionna Dorsey Calloway on inspiring action with District of Clothing

Describe your business in a few words? District of Clothing is a lifestyle brand encouraging progression, inspiring action and supporting self-love. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Initially, I was laid off in 2008 during the Great Recession. That’s what led to my first company, Dionna Dorsey Design. District of…

Marcia Dawood on her mission to help founders build companies that are changing the world

Describe yourself in a few words? I’m an angel investor/venture capitalist working with mainly diverse founders to help build companies changing the world and helping those founder’s dreams come true. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in corporate America for many years and always knew I wanted to…

Melissa Bowley on launching the Flourish Fund, the only experience-based baby registry that puts wellness first

Describe the Flourish Fund in a few words? The only experience-based baby registry that puts wellness first! Every bundle includes gift cards for the expecting mom to use on experiences like prenatal massage or yoga, meal delivery, postpartum support and more. Her Flourish Fund is flexible based on what she needs, when she needs it.…

Andréa Bernholtz on being a serial entrepreneur and using social media and ambassadors to spread the Swiminista mission

Describe Swiminista in a few words? Chic eco friendly womens and little girls luxury swimwear. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had always been an entrepreneur and I had sold my former clothing business, Rock & Republic and my friends and I were complaining about the lack of chic…

Karla Salinari on helping women heal their relationship with food through her work as a Holistic Health Coach

Describe your business in a few words? I am a Holistic Health Coach who helps women heal unhealthy relationships around food by learning to eat with purpose, fall in love with foods that love you back and love and accept their bodies at every stage of the journey. What made you take the leap to…

Carolina Reis Oliveira on developing the first cosmetic product that reverses aging at the molecular level with OneSkin

Describe your business in a few words? OneSkin is a Silicon Valley-based, venture-backed Biotech company that developed the first cosmetic product that reverses aging at the molecular level. After 5 years of leading research by a team of PhDs, we launched our flagship product, OS-1, which is debunking the anti-aging industry with a unique approach…