Spring apron featured at Zazzle.com
If we want a new beginning, a change in direction towards a better life, a rebirth, here’s three steps to kick start the process.
These three tips can make a new beginning possible and are exemplified by a Forbes article “From line cook to CEO of a multi-million dollar opportunity” (1) . This is the story of a start up apron business run by Ellen Bennett.
Ms. Bennett started Hedley & Bennett, an apron company whose designs have been adopted by (some of the best) restaurants in the world. Here are three steps she used to move this company from an at home business in 2012 that sold its products at a flea market, to a 14,000-square-foot factory in Los Angeles that employs over 40 people.
The article says: “Four years ago, Bennett went from a line cook to the founder and designer of Hedley & Bennett, a custom apron and culinary work wear company based in Los Angeles. Today she has her aprons in Whole Foods and in more than 4,000 restaurants worldwide including celebrity chefs-Martha Stewart, Mario Batali and Alton Brown. Because aprons aren’t just for the kitchen, she has collaborated with SpaceX, Google, Lexus, Delta, Four Seasons and Food & Wine to craft functional aprons for their needs.”
Her first secret is to keep things simple. Hedley & Bennett uses simple designs, nothing fancy.
Second, she maintains high quality and keeps the product personal. The firm uses carefully chosen hardware, customized detailing, reinforced bar tacked pockets and durable fabrics.
Third, she started small and then let the business grow at a natural pace. Ellen Bennett did not let the need for financing stop her from recreating her life. She started in her house. She worked as a cook to pay her bills and sold aprons on the side. She never got investors. Hers was a bootstrap operation starting in her living room. Then she moved into a small 400-square-foot office. Each year as the business grew and could afford it, she got a bigger space.
The article quoted Bennett: “I sold at the Hollywood Farmers Market and told people about them everywhere I went. Since 2012, we’ve grown from a tiny office to a 14,000 sq. ft. apron factory. We outfit 4,000+ restaurants around the world, including some of my favorite chefs and heroes like Martha Stewart, Nancy Silverton, April Bloomfield, Mario Batali and Alton Brown, to name a few.”
There you have it, a pretty simple formula, start a small, simple, high quality business and let it grow organically.
Here are three last words of wisdom. These are mantras we repeat continually at our website. “Do what you love”. “Go try things”. “Be resilient and embrace change”. As Ellen Bennett puts it, “The path in front of you is rarely a straight line. It’s full of bumps. Embrace the bumps in the road”.