Ellen Bennet came from a Latinx single-parent household, had no experience in design or manufacturing, yet built Hedley & Bennett into a multimillion-dollar apron empire. Her upcoming book Dream First, Details Later is a must-read for anyone who wants to silence their inner critic, stop the obsessive over-planning, and learn how to get out of their own way.
Tell us briefly about Dream First, Details Later?
I was inspired to write Dream First, Details Later to share how I started my business, Hedley and Bennett, as a $10/hour line cook with only $300 in my pocket and a wild idea. My journey has been nothing near perfect, but actually quite the opposite as I figured out my business along the way. As I approached obstacles, rather than panic, I found ways to overcome them. I wanted to share my story and inspire others to just begin, stop overthinking, and make their dreams come to fruition.
What was the final thing that pushed you to stop procrastinating on your dreams and just go for it?
The moment I just went for it was when the chef at the restaurant I was working at came in and said there was a girl that was going to make aprons for the restaurant, and asked if I wanted to buy one. I saw a chance that I knew I couldn’t miss. I said “Chef, I have an apron company and I will make the aprons for you.” At the time, I didn’t have a pattern or fabric, but an idea that I wanted to make aprons that, when people wore them, they felt like they mattered. I saw the chance to take the step to start my company by speaking up. And that is how I made my first order.
Can you share a few books that inspired you in your life or while writing Dream First, Details Later?
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger by Lisa Donovan
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
What are three things you hope readers get out of your book?
Having the courage to show up, try and learn, and fail and get back up again—because that’s the only way you’re going to make something out of nothing.
Do you have any words of advice for someone who’s too scared to follow their dream?
START BEFORE YOU STOP. You are the driver of your life car and you just need to begin, stop thinking about it, and start doing it! Don’t ever for a second let anyone make you feel ashamed and stop being afraid of the word “no.”