You’ve likely seen or heard of Hedley & Bennett aprons, which can be easily identified by the tiny ampersand logo on the front pocket. H&B outfits many of our Charleston restaurants, and is the official apron of Charleston Wine + Food festival! Recently one of our street team members, Liz Martin of Charleston Weekender, headed to the H & B headquarters to give us a peek inside the colorful Los Angeles apron factory. Read on to hear Liz’s list of reasons you’ll love Hedley & Bennett, too!
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A few years ago, I was introduced to Hedley & Bennett through the Charleston Wine + Food festival. There, I met the founder, Ellen Marie Bennett – a lively + inspirational entrepreneur who started her company in her twenties! I was knee deep into a major girl crush once I discovered her “workspace” even had a slide inside! A couple years later, I had the opportunity to attend a conference inside the apron factory. I loved it so much that I asked to have a little tour while recently in LA, and Ellen + her team kindly obliged. I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek & glean some insight into what makes this the most badass apron company around!
When you pull up to the H & B headquarters and drive past the rainbow mural wall, you instantly know you’re in for a treat. One thing this apron company isn’t, is boring! You don’t typically find such bold patterns + colors as options when it comes to kitchen workwear. Don’t you love how fun these aprons look lined up in all their rainbow glory? Don’t worry, there plenty of neutrals for the more subdued chef.
So many products are manufactured overseas nowadays, but these are made in house at the Hedley & Bennett headquarters right in Los Angeles. This allows the brand to foster an amazing sense of community, with local chefs often stopping by to co-host events. The factory recently added a new test kitchen that I got to check out, too. It looks like the happiest place ever to cook & test all those aprons!
When things are heating up in the kitchen, the last thing you want is itchy or uncomfortable workwear. All of the chefs coats, work shirts, & aprons are made from American canvas, raw Japanese selvage denim, or European linens. These materials are definitely able to withstand wear and tear. I had fun checking out all of the embroidery threads & watching the H&B team concentrate on their creations!
Who better to design an apron than an actual chef!? Ellen’s career started as a line cook at 2 top notch restaurants, so she knew exactly how to build an apron that other chefs would want and need. At the same time, she doesn’t take life too seriously (as evidenced by the factory’s slide & zip line I got to try)! This sense of fun & ease definitely translates into the H & B products.
One of the best parts about Hedley & Bennett has to be their love of food and working with some phenomenal chefs. Well, they’re bringing that culinary love (and even some of their chef friends) back to Charleston during the Wine + Food Festival! Last year, many of you may have joined me at “Brunch Squad”, an amazing event where we divided and conquered to cook and eat a family style meal. We got to meet & work with some truly amazing chefs; at one point I was elbow deep in batter alongside chef Kristen Kish! This year, Ellen is back with “Lunch Squad”, and it’s sure to be chock full of even more fun.
Thanks for reading and taking this little apron factory tour with me! If you’d like to learn more about Hedley & Bennett or founder Ellen Marie Bennett, head over to read my interview with her on my blog where she shares some tips on building an awesome brand. I can’t wait to see you all at the Lunch Squad event in March!