SKORDO x Hedley&Bennett
SKORDO is constantly growing—new team members, new customers, new blends, new site! Next up on the list was new aprons. Our team members have rocked the classic navy-blue striped aprons in stores since opening in 2016. While they certainly served their purpose, it was time for an upgrade, especially to reflect all the big changes this year!
SKORDO’s mission has always been to empower you, the home cook, whether novice or total foodie by: equipping you with the best ingredients, accessories, and cookbooks, educating you on how to use them, + exciting you to experiment and have fun in the kitchen. SKORDO Co-Founder Cari explained, “Once we decided to update our aprons there were three requirements. One – they be functional, proper chef aprons that are fashionable. Two – they reflect our brand, who we are and what we stand for. Three – we be proud enough of them to sell them in our (bricks + clicks) shops. After some research, Hedley&Bennett was the only company to satisfy all three requirements." In her book, ‘Dream First, Details Later’, founder Ellen Marie Bennett said, “Our aprons are like a bridge from the professional kitchen to the home kitchen, because no matter who you are, when you rock H&B, you’re a proper cook. It is much more than a uniform. It’s an attitude.” From working on the line to running her multimillion-dollar company, Ellen Marie Bennett practically lives in an apron. Who better to trust with SKORDO’s aprons than her team?
Once recognizing this was the company to go with, Cari went on to say, “Then the hard part began, to agree upon a design we all loved. After we landed on fabric and color scheme, H&B mocked up our design. Once we approved, they went to work, and the rest is history.”
The team is rocking these aprons in store + you can to! Our SKORDO x Hedley&Bennett aprons are available for purchase in stores + online.
More backstory on H&B below.
Ellen Marie Bennett was working the line in Michelin star restaurants when she first became inspired to create. She took notice to her fellow kitchen staff carrying themselves differently, with more pride + pep in their step, when she saw them outside of work in their day-to-day clothes running errands, than they did on the line in their standard issue rented aprons. These cooks were putting out incredible food night after night but did not feel or look good doing it. “What if they had a uniform that didn’t make them feel like cogs in a wheel?”, she thought. So, she sketched and tested and tried and learned by creating designs and having her team test and criticize until she figured it out. Her story is a true example of perseverance and determination. She saw a problem and gave it her all until she found a solution.
When she finally got it right, she could see the cooks holding their heads higher and instantly looking prouder. Along the way, she figured out that to convince kitchens to make the switch to her product, “it wasn’t about what I was there to tell them- but how I told it, with humble enthusiasm.” She had to listen more than she spoke, she learned“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” Soon she was growing, and fast.
She has single handedly approached any kitchen she could to pitch her aprons to. By 2015, she had moved headquarters four times in four years. In the new building, she painted everything white to start, then added inspirational quotes, a playground-style treehouse (in place of standard offices), and a zipline. She had done it, she had set her dreams and achieved them, all on her own with zero loans or outside investors. Hedley&Bennett has grown into a multimillion dollar company, while Ellen keeps on dreaming + keeps on doing.
When the pandemic hit, she began to notice her favorite restaurants (+ apron customers) closing down. There was so much uncertainty in the world that H&B launched a sale on March 17, in response to the stay-at-home orders and in hopes to have enough business to hold them over while they shut down indefinitely. On March 21, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced a mask mandate, and Ellen was standing solo in her 16,000 sq ft warehouse with rows + rows of sewing machines. She knew she had to (+ could!) do something. She reached out to a friend’s husband, a pediatric surgeon and chief of staff at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, and asked what it takes to make a mask safe. With an international crisis, he didn’t have too much time to talk, but realized his hospital was rapidly becoming low on supplies and needed masks urgently. Ellen leapt right to it, by March 22, masks were launched on the Hedley&Bennett site. By August 10, they had produced nearly 1 million masks and donated 275,000.
The Hedley&Bennett ampersand is something I find great pride in wearing. I remember getting my first H&B apron as a gift to myself, after growing into my first Sous Chef role, and feeling the pride then. I’ve since acquired almost a dozen of their aprons, each more worth it than the last, and each representative of a different phase of my career. Now, I’ve been on the SKORDO team for a year, and have been honored to be involved as they have grown into such an incredible, reputable brand. It brings me such great joy to be wearing both the H&B ampersand + the SKORDO logo together.
Get the apron here: Hedley&Bennett x SKORDO Apron