LOS ANGELES - A woman who has made a living by creating aprons and other high-end kitchen attire in downtown Los Angeles for nearly a decade is now making masks for workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Never in a million years did Ellen Bennett think she'd be taking her talents to help fight a virus outbreak, but she, along with her team are doing just that.
“I couldn’t not do something to make a difference. And when I told my team I wanted to make this happen, they said ‘let’s figure it out,” Bennett, Founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett said.
Since 2012, Hedley & Bennett has been outfitting chefs and restaurant employees across the country with durable, modern workwear. The small LA-based business, with fewer than 40 employees, serves an estimated 6,000 clients, many of which are high-profile. Think Martha Stewart, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Yahoo, and Google, to name a few.
But the coronavirus outbreak changed that.
Nowadays, Hedley & Bennett’s team, at their Vernon factory, is turning their fabric into tens of thousands of masks for those on the frontlines – from medical workers to grocery clerks to law enforcement officers.
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"We’ve already gotten thousands out to Shriner’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital, UCLA, and St. Jude’s Medical Center," Bennett said.
Bennett says she developed the face coverings with Shriner’s Hospital’s Chief of Staff in Pasadena. The "Wake Up and Fight Mask," as she’s appropriately named it for more than one reason; the company motto is "Wake Up and Fight."
The masks are available with an array of colors and patterns. And perhaps, most importantly, is washable and includes the extra protection of a filter pouch.
So, how is this small business able to afford this? It’s a buy one, donate one deal that’s bringing out the best in people online. By the end of the week, Bennett estimates her team will have donated 100,000 masks to those who need it most, which is a feat made possible by that buy one, give one program.
"It’s with the community support that we’re able to make these donations," Bennett added.
Your mask means someone fighting the virus on the frontlines will be better protected.