Today, Hedley & Bennett aprons and chef coats can be found in over 4,000 restaurants worldwide, as well as in the corporate kitchens of SpaceX, Google, Lexus, Delta Air Lines, and many other brands. For most of these clients, their custom-designed kitchen wear has the signature Hedley & Bennett look, as well as the company’s ampersand logo, which Ellen says was inspired by how iconic the Lacoste alligator is.
Home cooks, too, love the added comfort and utility of Hedley & Bennett aprons and chef coats. Ellen has even released a line of aprons for kids, understanding that the intersection of cooking and fashion and comfort is now a part of family culture as well as kitchen culture.
The aesthetic Ellen brings to her aprons extends to everything about the brand, down to what might be one of the most beautiful factories in America. Light streams into the warehouse space, and John Lennon’s immortal words “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” are painted in cerulean lettering across the top of the wall.
Members of the public are welcome to come in and shop, not only for Hedley & Bennett merchandise, but also in pop-up shops hosted in the space that generally feature beautiful house and cookware. (Food52 was a recent pop-up resident.) Twice a week a local coffee company sets up shop and offers free coffee drinks to visitors. If you order an apron from the online shop, you’ll get a little extra treat in your perfectly cute package — in November, orders came with a sample from Guittard Chocolate, and on the company blog you were able to find a recipe for salted chocolate shortbread cookies from the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook. Hedley & Bennett is more than a garment company. It’s a lifestyle brand.
As such, Ellen herself has become a bit of a lifestyle celebrity, something that’s especially easy to do in Los Angeles, where the food and entertainment worlds often intersect. She designs custom chef coats for movie stars and can be seen at their homes and at Hollywood events. But it doesn’t seem to have changed the vibrant authenticity of this half-Mexican girl from Glendale.
When asked if this is where the vision ends, she says, “Hell no!” Now that she’s reached that pie-in-the-sky goal of a successful company, are there any more pies? “Oh my God, there are so many pies,” she gushes. “You have no idea.”