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How These Founders Reinvented the Apron and Won Over Celebrity Chefs Founded in 2012, H&B now supplies aprons for more than 700 restaurant clients across the globe.

By Carren Jao

This story appears in the January 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

photo © angie quan
Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett.

It's about as humdrum an item of apparel as you can get. But in the hands of an impassioned Los Angeles-based designer, the humble apron has become the cornerstone for a successful business.

Hedley & Bennett (H&B) got its start in 2012, when Ellen Bennett—then a line cook for trendy L.A. restaurants Providence and Bäco Mercat, and a personal chef—finally had enough. "An apron is something that every single chef uses besides a knife," says Bennett, who juggled all three jobs while launching her company. "It was this thing that we all wore, and it was ugly and gross and weird."

Unlike the traditional garment, an apron from H&B (the "Hedley" comes from Bennett's grandfather) features quality cloth sourced and test-washed for durability; adjustable straps with 1-inch-thick webbing to prevent cutting into the wearer's neck; brass hardware; and well-placed pockets reinforced with bar tacks to avoid ripping. The aprons utilize American-made materials and are assembled locally at H&B's building in downtown Los Angeles.

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