Ellen Bennett on Unstoppable with Kara GoldinStarting as a line cook in a kitchen in L.A., Ellen Bennett came up with a great idea for an apron that has turned into the multimillion dollar culinary lifestyle brand, Hedley & Bennett.

Ellen has designed aprons for Google, David Cheng, Martha Stewart, and almost every show on the food network. She sells thousands of well-made and fashionable aprons each week.

On today’s episode of Unstoppable, Ellen joins me to talk about how she went from being “The Apron Lady” to a high-powered CEO, her journey out of the kitchen and into clothing design, why she is getting married in Mexico City, her pet pig, and many awesome entrepreneurial insights.

And I have some very exciting news to share with you! For the next 3 months as a special thank you to all my listeners, I’ll be choosing 5 lucky listeners to win ONE YEARS supply of Hint Water!

To enter and win, all you have to do is head over to iTunes HERE and leave a meaningful review for the show. That’s it! And if I see you tweeting it out and tagging me @karagoldin, you’ll increase your chances of being picked. Please be sure to spread the word to your family and friends, and thanks for listening to Unstoppable!

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Unstoppable with Kara Goldin on Apple Podcasts

“It is just like listening to your customers in the restaurant world and realizing they are just really functional. Everything they do is so smart and efficient and better. So then we take that and put it into our direct to consumer channels too.” – Ellen Bennett

Show Notes:

  • Who is Ellen Bennett
  • What it is like to be a CEO
  • How to create a clothing line
  • Why trial and error is necessary
  • How to finance your company
  • What it is like to have a pet pig
  • What is the School of Hustle

“There was a lot of trial and error, and I wasn’t afraid to mess up.” – Ellen Bennett

Links Mentioned:

  • Connect with Ellen Bennett:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Hedley & Bennett

“Own the shoes you’ve built for yourself.” – Ellen Bennett

Transcript:

Kara Goldin:Ellen. Thank you so much for being here. So Ellen Bennet, Apron Lady, founder and CEO.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah.
Kara Goldin:Huge, huge, huge thank you for coming and meeting with us today. So we’re here in West Hollywood everyone.
Ellen Bennet:In the cutest bungalows ever.
Kara Goldin:The cutest. And Charlie Chaplan used to live here. And we found this great space on Trip Advisor.
Ellen Bennet:Really good.
Kara Goldin:And I was looking for a place where could stay and actually have a little living room to be able to do these talks. So we’re very, very excited about this who living room opportunity. We should talk to Trip Advisor about this, by the way.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Exactly. We need to get this sponsored. Come on guys. Pull it together.
Kara Goldin:I know. We need to get this sponsored right. So anyway, so Ellen. Super excited to have you here and talk.
Ellen Bennet:Thank you.
Kara Goldin:And I should also say that Ellen and I have met before, because we were both EY winning women.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah, we were!
Kara Goldin:So, I was 2012 and Ellen was 2017. And so, basically I want to hear all about Apron Lady and how, let’s start there. How did you decide to do this company and you’re based out of LA, by the way.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. We are. So I started Hedley and Bennet six years ago. We just had our six year anniversary on, yesterday actually. July 5th. And I basically, I decided I wanted to have this company because I hated the way our uniforms looked and felt. And I felt like there was a huge hole in the market in the restaurant world. I was a line cook. I was working at a two Michelin star restaurant. And we just were making insanely beautiful food, yet we all looked and felt like shit. And it’s kind of like an athletic team when you’re in a kitchen. Everyone is working towards a goal and a mission and you’re going down in flames and you’re trying to get the goal. And I was just like, “It’s so bizarre to me that no one is thinking about the people in the kitchen.” It’s just like, “Get the food out, get the this out, make that happen”, but not the humans behind it.
And so, this idea sparked there. And everyone was like, “That’s cute. That sounds really sweet. Good luck with your cute idea of making aprons for people. That sounds lovely.” It was very diminutive when I started it. And I was just like, “You know what, this is so much bigger than an apron. The apron is the conduit of the masses. But really it’s about the people wearing the product.”
And so, I just started, street by street, chef by chef. I went to the farmers market and I set up a little stand. I got a chef who I used to cook for and he actually got somebody that was going to make him aprons and he was like, “Would you like to buy one of these aprons I’ve been getting this girl to do for us.” And I was like, “Chef. I have an apron company. I will do those aprons.” And I had shit. I had nothing. I literally had no aprons. I didn’t even have a pattern. I just had the idea. And I convinced this guy to drop this chick, give me the order of 40 aprons. And that was basically how Hedley and Bennet started.
So no money, $300 out of my house, six years ago. And a hell of a lot of gumption, call it. And I was just like, “I have to do this. I need to cover the world in better products and better aprons and give people the sense of dignity and pride that’s missing in the kitchen. And it quickly morphed from just the kitchen to carpenters and painters and bakers and potters. And I kind of accidentally stumbled on a huge opportunity, because I realized that people in the kitchen weren’t the only people wearing aprons. It was also Google and SpaceX and Yahoo and Four Seasons and humongous companies all over the world that also had terrible uniforms. And the only companies that existed were giant conglomerates from overseas and they didn’t really care about the people. They were just, “Oh, it’s a poly-cotton apron and we make it overseas for $5 and call it a day.” And I was like, “Well, let’s make it with Japanese denim. Let’s make it with beautiful fabric. Brass hardware. Let’s not use plastic, let’s use American webbing that lays flat around your neck. Let’s make it fit well. Let’s use cuts from Helmut Lang and beautiful brands that know what they’re doing and clothing.
And so I brought fashion and function to the kitchen, all while everyone was like, “That sounds so sweet and cute and little.” And I was just like, “Get out of my way. We’re going to fucking do this.” And so now we outfit thousands of restaurants all over the US.
Kara Goldin:Where are your biggest clients?
Ellen Bennet:David Chang, Martha Stewart, every single show pretty much on the Food Network wears Hedley and Bennet. We’re at William Sonoma, Sur Le Table, Whole Foods, Heath Ceramics, Steven Allen, Nordstrom. We’re doing collaboration with Vans. We’re making shoes for the kitchen. This is, we turned into this lifestyle world that, again, it was the root of the mission that was what made us different.
Kara Goldin:So the Apron Lady, how did that end up-?
Ellen Bennet:You know, it’s so funny. So I used to call myself Ellen the Apron Lady. And the reason that happened was, I would meet chefs and I’d be like, “Here, give me your phone.” And I would punch my number in. I’d be like, Ellen, the Apron Lady, so they could remember me. Or, a chef would be like, “Oh, you’ve got to meet Ellen, the Apron Lady.” In the world of food, it’s like, “Oh, you’ve got to meet the mushroom guy, you’ve got to meet the pottery lady, you’ve got to meet the guy, all the vendors.” And for a long time, that was totally my MO. I was like, “Yeah, I’m just an apron lady.” I’m curious if this ever happened to you, but about four years into Hedley and Bennet, we got a 16,000 square foot factory. Like, this was a real business. This was not a joke. This was not in my house. I had just given my staff healthcare and 401k’s and I was 28 at the time, 30 now. And it just hit me. This seat I had created at this table of life, call it. And I was like, “You’re no longer this little cute apron lady. You’re the CEO of this company. Own it. Own the shoes you’ve built for yourself.”
And I mentally made this switch where I was like, “I’m the CEO. I’m not an apron lady. I actually run this company and I created this out of nothing. And I have to own it.” And I kind of was not owning it by calling myself an apron lady. I was just like, “I’m just this girl that works here at this thing that I made.”
Kara Goldin:Well, and it’s much more than aprons. Right?
Ellen Bennet:Totally. Totally. So that’s been my own evolution of owning what I’ve made, which I feel like almost every entrepreneur I’ve ever spoken to has that moment where they shift and they’re like, “Oh yeah. I did this. Okay. I’ve got to own it.”
Kara Goldin:And did you grow up here in LA?
Ellen Bennet:I did. I’m an Angelino.
Kara Goldin:And did-
Ellen Bennet:Where did you grow up?
Kara Goldin:Arizona.
Ellen Bennet:Oh. Amazing.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. So, but spent a lot of time in New York. And we’re based in San Francisco.
Ellen Bennet:I love it.
Kara Goldin:So, yeah. So super, super fun. So you’re at almost 40 people? Is that-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. We are between 40 to 50, depending on sewing capacities. But on average, it’s 45 is our typical number.
Kara Goldin:So you’ve gone from just aprons to uniforms. So, you talked a little bit about this before. But if somebody just decides that they want consistency amongst their team in terms of what they wear. If Dry Bar for example wanted to have something in there where everything is super consistent, would that be something that they could call you guys to help design?
Ellen Bennet:Yes. So we can totally do stuff like that. But we also do a ton of custom work. So it’s like, if you guys are like, “I love yellow and I love red. And I want to do something that’s custom to those colors.” For Google, for example, we made a whole collection of colors that matched all the Google letters. And we can do it to a pan tone match. And we have a whole team of designers internally that create mock-ups and digital scans and everything, so that you have exactly what you get out of the drawing.
Kara Goldin:This is so cool.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah, it’s really customized and amazing. But then we also have a whole collection we create online. And what’s really exciting is that we take custom designs and see what’s trending in our custom world. And then we take all that, it’s like our focus group. And then we take that and we put it online and we sell it on our site. And then, we end up getting a lot of the designs from customers. We’ve had people say, “You know, I have neck problems. Okay. I don’t want a strap that goes around my neck. I’m going to do cross back aprons.” So then we invent a cross back apron for them. And we’re like, “That’s a great freaking idea. Let’s sell it on our website.” And it becomes our number one item.
So it’s just like listening to your customers in the restaurant world and then realizing they’re just really functional. Everything they do is so smart and efficient and better. So then we take that and put it into our direct to consumer channels too.
Kara Goldin:That’s awesome. And so, this is not just a B2B play?
Ellen Bennet:No. Not at all.
Kara Goldin:I mean, it’s definitely B2B, but-
Ellen Bennet:I mean, we’re like a full blown omni-channel company. We sell online, we sell in retailers, we do collaborations. We also partnerships with people. We have partnerships with Don Julio, Samsung, Pelligrino, we host events in our space. We bring community together.
Kara Goldin:That’s so awesome.
Ellen Bennet:We’ve built a world around us called The Apron Squad and its everyone that cares about those details. It’s like, our aprons aren’t for everyone, because not everyone wants to spend what our aprons cost, but it’s about believing that you can and that you should be proud of what you’re doing and putting something on that you’re proud of. Like a Nike. I actually am a runner. But when I first started running, I went to Nike and I bought a really great Nike outfit. And I was like, “I’m a runner now.” And I held my head up high. And then I went and ran the New York marathon.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. It made you feel better.
Ellen Bennet:It’s like, yeah, if you believe it, you can do it. So same idea.
Kara Goldin:That’s awesome. And so, you went from being a chef to deciding that you wanted to wear great stuff. How did you make that first step to actually, did you sew, did you-?
Ellen Bennet:No, I don’t even know how to sew, which is crazy. But I love design. And I’ve always had this knack at seeing something for what it could be and never for what it is. Even with people, with my employees. I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I gotta show this and I gotta teach them how to do that.” And I took the idea of an apron and made it that much better, but it was just about improving people’s perspective on themselves and proving the uniform. And so we just took the barebone basics and sat with chefs and would say, “What do you hate about it? What do you like about it?” And essentially, I was my own version of McKenzie. I was my own focus group with my chefs. And they all told me exactly what was wrong with everything. And then combined with my design sense and their own functionalities, we made the perfect aprons. And a lot of trial and error. And I wasn’t afraid to mess up. So my first aprons stunk. They were terrible. And my chef called me in, because by the way, I was working for the guy. So he called me in after I delivered the order and he was like, “Bennet. These straps suck.” And I was like, “Oh my god. I’m going to lose my job. This is my own one and only client. I have to make things right.”
And so, I was like, give me half of them. You use the other half and I’m going to figure out what to do to make it right. And he was like, “Okay. Fine.” And the strap system that we created to this day, which is really amazing, is the same thing that I invented on that spot with a gun to my head. But it’s sort of like, those are the circumstances you sometimes have to put yourself in to make things happen. If I’d been at my living room, kitchen, just sitting there trying to figure out what the perfect apron was, I don’t know that I could have done it, if it wasn’t like this.
Kara Goldin:Are there minimums that people-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. One person can call us and say, “I want to do a custom one run of an apron.” We do that, because we do all of our manufacturing in house. So we have that capacity. But then someone can call us and say, “We want to do 1,000” and our minimum is 50 units. So it’s like not a lot.
But yeah, we do thousands and thousands of aprons weekly. And now we do chef coats and work shirts. We do the shoes. We do chef socks. We’re working on a collection with Parachute Home that’s all linen and beautiful and pot holders and napkins and kitchen towels. We just did a launch with a Rifle Paper company, which is a beautiful brand. So we did a bunch of florals.
So we love to team up with other people in the same way that we’ve teamed up with chefs from day one. Now we team up with businesses. And say, “You bring this to the table, we bring this to the table. Let’s make something beautiful together.”
Kara Goldin:That’s not a lot of people in your company. 40.
Ellen Bennet:No. No.
Kara Goldin:I mean, it’s just amazing.
Ellen Bennet:I mean, it’s totally, I still own it 100%. So we don’t have … I think because of that, we’ve been able to find ways to be really resourceful. And have our team manage what we have coming our way. And we control our inventory. Everyone is in the same place. So it’s fully vertical in that sense. And I think that you can do a lot with people, when they believe it.
Kara Goldin:What are your thoughts on raising money?
Ellen Bennet:I am not, personally I don’t want to go down that route. And we’ve had so many people want to buy us or invest. And you know, they’re there. And if I ever want to do that, I can make one call and make it happen. But I don’t have an MBA. I didn’t go to business school. I studied cooking. And I feel like if I had taken on money, I would have missed the opportunity to learn how to do things by sheer experience. And I didn’t want to give up that opportunity.
Kara Goldin:Well, and it sounds like you’re able to run the business without raising money.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. And we’ve been able to. And it’s kind of interesting. Every time I’ve had, I mean, I’ve talked to plenty of investors. Every time I talk to them, they’d be like, “So what would you need the money for?” And I would say, “X, Y, Z, H, P.” And then I’d be like, “Wait a second. I think I can figure-“. And then I’d talk through it with them. And I would leave the meeting and say, “You know what, I think we can actually do that right now.”
Kara Goldin:You don’t need to-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. And then I would end up figuring it out and not needing that money. And I just kind of like kept pushing ourselves to the next place every time and not need that additional stress and money from them. I jut figured it out with my own team. I was like, “I can’t bring our manufacturing in house.” And then we met the guy that managed, he was the chief manufacturing officer for American Apparel for 16 years. And he’s like, “I’ll help you set up the floors.” And I was like, “Great!”
Kara Goldin:What? That’s crazy.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. He came on board and joined our team. We just-
Kara Goldin:Oh, so he’s on?
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. He’s on our teams. We have some pretty, we’re small but we’re mighty. And we have some amazing people that are helping us go to the next level, because to your point, this is unusual. It’s unusual to have a fully owned company in this day and age. And, we’re like, we’re in the black. We don’t have debt. We are just, we’re not growing at a velocity of a Glossier, but we have full control of what we’re doing. And that, I love.
Kara Goldin:That’s amazing. So, we just saw Allie Webb. Actually friends.
Ellen Bennet:Yes. It’s amazing.
Kara Goldin:And she said that you’re getting married in Mexico City?
Ellen Bennet:I am.
Kara Goldin:So what is, so Mexico City? How did that?
Ellen Bennet:So I’m half Mexican and half English.
Kara Goldin:Okay.
Ellen Bennet:And when I turned 18, I moved to Mexico City by myself.
Kara Goldin:Congratulations.
Ellen Bennet:Thank you. Thank you. And I’ve just always loved Mexico a lot. I love the culture. I love how lively and happy Mexico is in general. And so, I just thought, my finance and I love going there. So we were like, “Let’s do it. We’re going to get married there.”
Kara Goldin:That’s awesome. Does your fiance work in the business?
Ellen Bennet:No. He has a company called Good Magazine and Upworthy. So he’s in social impact and went Brown. Wants to save the world. Like a proper human.
Kara Goldin:That’s amazing.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Yeah.
Kara Goldin:So how did you guys meet?
Ellen Bennet:We met here in LA, a mutual friend. She was like, she actually said, “I know your future husband.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” And then she introduced me. And I was like, “Okay. That’s true.”
Kara Goldin:That is so funny.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. He’s wonderful. He’s very calm. Very calm and collected, which is a perfect balance for me.
Kara Goldin:That’s so great.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah.
Kara Goldin:Well, Good and Upworthy are totally great, great content.
Ellen Bennet:I know. I’m very inspired by him. We make a good team.
Kara Goldin:That’s awesome. And then, you mentioned your pet pig?
Ellen Bennet:Yes.
Kara Goldin:Tell me, what’s his name?
Ellen Bennet:Trusty Oliver. He’s very large. He’s kind of the size of this table. He’s 212 pounds.
Kara Goldin:Whoa!
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Not going to lie. He’s a handful. And we’ve had him for three years.
Kara Goldin:Can you lift him?
Ellen Bennet:Oh my god, no.
Kara Goldin:No.
Ellen Bennet:No. No, no, no. He’s so big.
Kara Goldin:When you take him to the vet, do you put him on a leash?
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Well, let’s be real. My vet comes to us now, because we can’t actually take him to the vet anymore. He’s just too big. But yeah, he’s gigantic.
Kara Goldin:Do pig bite or anything? Or no.
Ellen Bennet:He’s a little feisty. So Oliver bits. But if you have a female pig, they’re a little bit more chill than a male pig. But he’s domesticated. He never goes pee or poop or anything inside the house. He doesn’t smell at all. Like, at all.
Yeah. If you follow me @EllenMarieBennet on Instagram, you will see a lot of Oliver action on there.
Kara Goldin:That is so funny.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah.
Kara Goldin:How old is he?
Ellen Bennet:He’s almost, he’s three and a half. But you know, they live for 20 years.
Kara Goldin:So he’s there with you.
Ellen Bennet:That’s a long time.
Kara Goldin:He’s going to Mexico City with you?
Ellen Bennet:No. My god. Somebody will turn him into carnitas if I turned around. Like, “No! Oliver!”
Yeah. Oliver is not leaving LA for the wedding.
Kara Goldin:[inaudible 00:17:46].
Ellen Bennet:Yeah, exactly. No, it’s all right. I’m like, “I’m Jewish and I have a pig and I still eat bacon. So I’m guilty.”
Kara Goldin:That’s awesome. I love it.
So, tell me about the school of hustle? How did that come about and do you have something planned for the shoot?
Ellen Bennet:Yes we do. So, when we turned five years old as a company, I was like, “I really want to do something that’s not just a party.” Because we are great at throwing parties. But I wanted to give back to our community in a way that was really real and tangible. And I thought, “Okay. If we can throw a party. What if we throw a conference and we make the conference all about everything we’ve learned over the last five years.” So it’s like, it’s our five year anniversary, here’s the tools that we’ve learned.
And so we teamed up with Instagram on it. And he built a gigantic conference. And it was incredible, because we got people like Allie and the president of William Sonoma and Roy Choi and Jon and Vinny from Animal and Son of a Gun, who are amazing entrepreneurs as well as restaurant tours. And we had all these people come in. We didn’t pay anybody to come be a part of it. We just said, “We want you to share your journey and share your hustles and everything that you’ve done to build your life.” And they were all like, “Hell yes.” Because everyone has had people in their life that have said, “I’m going to help you.” Right. So you want to give back to the community.
And we made it this thing where people had to go online and apply to register. And thousands of people applied. And we only accepted 250 people in. And everyone flew in. There were people flying in from like Canada. It was crazy. New York, Canada, Boston, all over the country. And, we’re doing another one this year. And this year we teamed up with Taste Made to do it.
Kara Goldin:Very fun.
Ellen Bennet:So it’s really fun.
Kara Goldin:Did people pay to go to the conference?
Ellen Bennet:No, no. We sponsor it and we team up with somebody to do it, and we just-
Kara Goldin:Well, we need Hint for the conference.
Ellen Bennet:Oh my gosh. Done. It’s happening. I would like to request these two flavors. Thank you very much.
Kara Goldin:Pineapple and blackberry fizz.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. My favorite is sparkling blackberry. And then in the flat version, I like the pineapple.
Kara Goldin:Seriously. We love it. We would love to do that.
Ellen Bennet:So good. Done. You’re in.
Kara Goldin:Yeah.
Ellen Bennet:Done.
Kara Goldin:Super, super fun. So what’s next for Hedley and Bennet? I feel like you guys have been through a big transition from aprons to-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. I think we’re really morphing into a proper, call it culinary lifestyle brand. I think that culinary is becoming a lot more important in everyone’s lives and people are thinking about food in a different way. And everything from food to food waste and how is this a part of our life.
Kara Goldin:Well, it’s funny that, as you’re talking about this, I’ve said this for years that I feel like people go to a restaurant or they set up a restaurant, whatever end you’re looking at it from. And they forget about a couple of things. They don’t forget about the tables and the chairs normally. Maybe they used to, but they don’t do that anymore.
But they forget, if you’re a food restaurant, so Hint is an unsweetened flavored water. And our biggest competition is the soda industry. So, typically, the soda industry provides or partners with restaurants and provides these free dispensing machines. And their restaurants for Coke or Pepsi. And there’s others. But those are the big ones, right? And I laugh over the years when I hear these great healthy, better for you restaurants are serving, they’re putting so much time and effort into the food, and then you can, you see on the menu or you see the machines off to the side, where the customers can actually see it. You’ve got these Coke and Pepsi brands, right?
Ellen Bennet:Yes. Exactly.
Kara Goldin:And it’s kind of like, “Did you guys just” … that to me is maybe more important than having the right table. You know. And yet-
Ellen Bennet:That’s a really good point.
Kara Goldin:People forget about it. And I think the aesthetics of the uniforms too and the consistency and to your point, the colorful and playfulness of it and the uniqueness.
Ellen Bennet:And the quality. At the end of the day it’s the quality.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. And it’s like, they’re, maybe best case scenario, they said to the workers, “You have to wash your clothes every day.” Right. And there can’t be any stains on them. But they don’t actually try and differentiate, to have the same vibe, the same brand that they tried to-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. It doesn’t permeate … it’s actually off brand to have a Coca-Cola machine at a vegan restaurant. You’re like, what!
Kara Goldin:No.
Ellen Bennet:That doesn’t even make sense. What are you doing?
Kara Goldin:It’s rude.
Ellen Bennet:What are you doing there?
Kara Goldin:Yeah. And I’ve had these conversations with so many, and in particular in the last six months. And people are really starting to get it. So I think that this is an aspect that you guys are doing too. It’s like, people are so ripe for this conversation. It needs to be every single detail of it.
Ellen Bennet:No, absolutely. And we’re headed in that direction, for sure. I think people are just like, so much more educated and aware. And thank god, because we need people to know that. And I think chefs are a big part of that movement of just understanding what are we eating, where is it from, how did it get there, what does it do to your body. And it’s really important.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. And it’s about the uniforms too. And so I think that that’s really important. I mean, where did the uniforms come from? How is actually making them.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Exactly. It’s like, for the longest time, it just showed up in front of you. Kind of like meat. You’re just like, oh, it’s just meat. You go to the store and it’s a package. But you don’t know where that meat came from of what it was like or how it was processed. Same thing with our aprons. It’s like, everything was just from China. Everything was from overseas. And you don’t know who’s making it, how they’re making it, or anything. And in our case, if you come to our factory in downtown LA, you get an open tour of our space.
Kara Goldin:That’s really interesting. Have you ever talked to Food Buy?
Ellen Bennet:No. What’s-?
Kara Goldin:Do you know who Food Buy is?
Ellen Bennet:No. Who are they?
Kara Goldin:So Food Buy is the largest food surface operator in the country.
Ellen Bennet:Oh wow.
Kara Goldin:And they own, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Bon Appetit or Compass Foods or-
Ellen Bennet:Yes.
Kara Goldin:So they are the holding company for all those. So we have a huge relationship with them.
Ellen Bennet:Oh my god. That’s amazing.
Kara Goldin:And actually another EY entrepreneur. A guy who’s name is Fidel and I’ll screw up his last name, so I’m not even going to try. But he is the CEO and founder of Bon Appetit.
Ellen Bennet:Oh wow.
Kara Goldin:And so, I had met him just from wandering around an EY conference, with our mentor. I had met Fidel and anyway, we ended up grabbing lunch. He’s in the bay area. And we ended up grabbing lunch one day and talking a little bit about our business. And then, he made the connection to his parent company Food Buy.
Ellen Bennet:Oh my gosh I’d love to meet him.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. So it’s been an amazing connection. But it’s interesting, because he cares a lot about, so when I say food service, he’s not just about, he hires all the staff for, Bon Appetit is the high end of food service operations within companies. So they do Google, he does Nike, now they’ve gone into college campuses, so he does Stanford and Duke and UPenn.
Ellen Bennet:I feel like we might work with them, because we outfit Google and Yahoo and Facebook’s campuses. Like the kitchens. So maybe we already work with Bon Appetit.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. I wonder, so you should-
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. We’ll have to find out.
Kara Goldin:[crosstalk 00:26:02] because it’s like, he’s very much about, a couple years ago, he really started to dig into the farms and he wants to understand the wages of the farms.
Ellen Bennet:Oh, I’d love to meet them. That’s so cool.
Kara Goldin:Yeah. He’s super. So I would think that he would be very interested in the uniforms and everything that surrounds that too and looking good, especially since so many new spaces around here too. I mean, they’re not behind closed doors where-
Ellen Bennet:You know what the craziest thing is, I have seen how when people put our aprons on. Something psychological happens. They actually lift their head up higher. And they’re like, “Okay. Let’s do this. And they put it on and they look good and they feel good and they’re going to do a better job.” It’s because they’re trying harder.
Kara Goldin:Well, I was thinking about that too, because open kitchens are pretty much everywhere now, right.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah. Literally everywhere. Yeah, like chefs are the new rock star. And we’re the ones outfitting those rock stars.
Kara Goldin:Interesting. Well, this has been really, really fun. We’re going to still continue with some rapid fire questions. But I want to-
Kara Goldin:So what’s your favorite Hint flavor.
Ellen Bennet:Definitely the sparkling Blackberry.
Kara Goldin:Awesome. Okay. So, favorite exercise?
Ellen Bennet:Flywheel. Spinning. I’m dedicated.
Ellen Bennet:I lost 15 pounds by doing flywheel for the last two months.
Kara Goldin:Oh my gosh. Congrats.
Kara Goldin:So, what healthy habit makes you feel great about yourself?
Ellen Bennet:I try to drink relatively modestly. So pretty rare. Which means zero hangovers.
Kara Goldin:Awesome. What habits sabotages your health?
Ellen Bennet:Not sleeping enough.
Kara Goldin:Okay. What ways do you stay health when traveling?
Ellen Bennet:I drink a ton of water and I carry these little protein shakes around, so that no matter what, I have vitamins and the basic nutrients, depending on wherever I am.
Kara Goldin:What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Ellen Bennet:[Daiku Kulia 00:30:36], which is a cash only Ramen Spot in Little Tokyo.
Kara Goldin:How interesting.
Kara Goldin:I know. Exactly.
Ellen Bennet:Oh gosh no. Ramen is not healthy. Okay. My favorite healthy meal, I think is, honestly it’s like a bowl of kale with beans, some feta cheese, olive oil, vinegar. Super simple, clean. And then random veggies in it.
Kara Goldin:I just got back from Greece and that’s what I was eating in Greece. It’s so funny that you just said that.
Ellen Bennet:Yes. That’s literally, it’s just like, it’s so good. I like eating food that you know what you’re eating. That’s kale, that’s this, that’s it. Like, each thing is what it is.
Kara Goldin:Love it.
So top three most used apps on your iPhone?
Ellen Bennet:A color story, which is a really amazing, she’s like, yeah. Social media captain of proofs. Instagram. And Google Calendar. So, my entire life runs on Google calendar. Not iCalendar. Not other calendars. Google Calendar.
Kara Goldin:Interesting. Favorite hobby?
Ellen Bennet:Running. Actually. Running and exercising. Extreme sports, I guess. Triathlons, marathons, running. Things where I’m very out of my comfort zone.
Kara Goldin:Are you a morning or evening person?
Ellen Bennet:Morning. Morning exercise makes me so on point for the entire day. And virtually anything could happen and I have 10 times more resilience the days I work out at flywheel.
Kara Goldin:So funny. Are you shorts or legging person?
Ellen Bennet:No, I’m definitely leggings, because of my legs will chafe.
Kara Goldin:I’m with you. Favorite artist right now?
Ellen Bennet:Ai Weiwei.
Kara Goldin:Oh. Interesting.
Ellen Bennet:Yes.
Kara Goldin:Very, very cool.
Ellen Bennet:That’s in artist land. But I guess in music, Radio Head, for sure. All the way. I’m 100%. Yeah.
This is great.
Ellen Bennet:Yeah.
Kara Goldin:Thank you so much.
Ellen Bennet:You’re so welcome guys.