Entrepreneur

THE CREATIVE PROCESS STARTS WITH PROCESS

“HOW ARE THOSE APRONS COMING ALONG?” I ASKED. “WE GETTING CLOSE?”
“OH, I’M SORRY, ELLEN,” MY SEWER SAID. “I WILL FINISH THIS WEEK. I PROMISE.”

He’d said that yesterday, too. Time was running out. The year was 2013, and I’d just launched my workwear and apron startup, Hedley & Bennett. Today our aprons are standard in kitchens; we’re used in more than 6,000 restaurants across the U.S., and we make a new sale every four minutes. But back then, we were clueless upstarts. We were trying to convince chefs—any chefs!—to try our aprons. And then, miraculously, we got one of our biggest orders ever: Chef Bryan Voltaggio, who was the first-ever person to compete on Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, wanted 100 aprons for his D.C.-area restaurant, Volt. And he wanted them in just a few weeks.

Exciting! And also: We didn’t know how to make 100 aprons at once. But aren’t these the stories you hear about—the fake-it-till-you-make-it tales, where entrepreneurs summon their grit and it all works out? There was no way I was going to say no to a massive order for a major player in the food world. So instead of checking my inventory, consulting with my sewers, scheduling check-ins with my team to ensure a

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