Ellen Bennett knows how to hustle. In 2012, at just 25 years old, she launched her own apron company Hedley & Bennett, while working the line at some of L.A.'s hottest restaurants. Today, her functional and stylish designs are a favorite among chefs, and Bennett's days are filled with launch events (such as the one for her latest collaboration with Vans), development meetings, photo shoots, factory check-ins and more.
"Everything is 100 miles an hour from the minute I wake up," she says of her days. "Like if I'm driving, I better be on a call — I cram it all in." While the 31-year-old makes it look like fun most of the time (check out her colorful Instagram for proof), she's also the first to admit that running your own business is exhausting. We talked to the consummate multi-tasker about how she keeps her energy up — and still manages to find ways to unwind.
Movement as Meditation
When Bennett added a boot-camp regimen to her packed schedule, she says she was "basically making time out of no time." In addition to changing her diet (no bread or alcohol!) and sleep habits (logging at least eight hours a night), she went from a single workout a week to six. "I would go straight from my boot camp to my office," she says. "Half the time, I was in my workout outfit for most of the day!"
And while her original motivation for upping her exercise game was to get fit for her wedding, she quickly realized that all those 6 a.m. workouts were having a much bigger impact on her life: "I was learning discipline on all levels — in my job, in my day to day routine, in how I ate," she says.
Although her official boot-camp stint has ended, Bennett's commitment to fitness has remained strong. She reveals that spinning in particular makes it easier to deal with "the everyday storms" of managing a company, adding that the 45-minute class is her version of meditation. "I do that and I'm not thinking about anything," she says.
Fueling Up With Healthy Food
Bennett shares that there was a time not so long ago when downing a whole box of mac and cheese at 10 p.m. was "pretty standard" for her, particularly at the end of a stressful day. That was pre-boot camp.
Since then, focusing on fitness has made her more aware of what her body needs. "It's become more like food is fuel — you don't need it to binge," she says, referencing those late-night mac and cheese sessions.
Of course, as a former chef, food is still a meaningful part of Bennett's life — and spending time in the kitchen actually helps her relax. "I love, love, love cooking," she says. "My favorite foods to cook are the things that are so simple — like a beautiful salad, a piece of steak, chicken soup. Only real stuff that's genuine, tasty and homey."
Keeping It Uncomplicated
With her crazy calendar, Bennett says that creating "moments of calm" are essential. For example, when she arrives at the office, she knows there will be a candle burning, violin music playing in the background, and a hot cup of tea waiting. "As simple as those might sound, they bring me one more layer of calmness," she says.
She also credits regular "tubbing sessions" (as in "bathtubbing") with helping her decompress, plus spending time at home with her fiancé and 200-pound pet pig Oliver.
"Life is so complicated and crazy these days; honestly it's just the simplest things that help me recharge," she says. "You don't need complexity to calm down."
We couldn't agree more.