Minnetonka resident Kate Meier is a sewer. So it came as no surprise when one of her sons, a chef, came to her two years ago and asked if she could build him a better apron. He’d been buying expensive professional aprons, but they were less than durable, with the pockets catching crumbs and other annoyances. Meier took up the challenge—and in fact, her two other sons (also chefs) got in on the process.
Pretty quickly, Meier was getting requests for more aprons. “I honestly had no intention of starting a business,” she says. “I was receiving more orders than I would ever be able to fill on my own.” Meier and her business partner Trent Taher were able to scale up and perfect their popular crossback design; the business officially launched a year ago as BA Craftmade. “We’ve been told that once you’ve worn it, you cannot go back to a standard apron,” Meier says. “It relieves neck strain and provides better coverage.”
Plenty of notable chefs are getting in on the buzz. “We have had the unbelievable support of Minnesota’s best chefs,” says Meier. She mentions Tim McKee, Thomas Boemer, Lenny Russo and Justin Sutherland (currently on Top Chef) just to name a few. But it’s not just professional chefs who love Meier’s aprons. “Our audience has grown to home cooks, bartenders, butchers, florists, barbers, fishmongers, jewelers and woodworkers,” she says. “We love to keep working…with anyone who has great ideas to make their job easier. Working in collaboration is a key ingredient.”
BA Craftmade sells aprons online and at a few local retailers, and also makes custom aprons for individual chefs, restaurant groups and others. And what’s on the horizon? Meier says, “We are working on rolling out a sustainable social justice initiative that will be driven by our community in service for our community.”