OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
When we talk about a successful business, we usually talk about the idea behind it. We tend to do that because a single moment of inspiration is more exciting to talk about than the years of hard work it takes to build a business. But there’s also another quality that’s vital in making the leap from inspiration to action: courage. You can have the best idea in the world for a business, but if you don’t have the courage to take the leap and turn your idea into a reality - and the courage to keep going through the tough times – then you simply won’t have a successful business.
Maria Ducote had the courage to walk away from a safe career, to start up a business she knew little to nothing about. Maria was a teacher for 14 years. And an assistant principal for nine years. In 2010 she was at an education conference in Baltimore, and went on a food tour. That’s when the inspiration hit: a food tour would be a business that would work in Lafayette. Maria thought, “Somebody ought to do that”. The somebody, it turned out, was going to be Maria herself. For over 7 years now, Maria’s company, Cajun Food Tours, has been running daily food tours, in Lafayette and around Acadiana.
Jaida McGee was born and raised in Kaplan, Louisiana. When she was 17, Jaida started designing, sewing, and selling children’s’ clothing. She sold her clothes at farmer’s markets, and used the money to help support herself through college. Then Jaida opened a store: Blush Boutique, in Abbeville.
Blush Boutique eventually left children’s clothes behind and specialized in women’s fashion. But by 2017, like lots of retail in America, business at Blush Boutique had slowed down. Jaida was thinking that, after 10 years, she would have to close. But she didn’t want to do that. So, instead - knowing nothing about web design or social media marketing - Jaida decided to build her own website and create a marketing campaign based on video-driven social-media. The strategy worked. Blush Boutique in Abbeville bounced back and today is a booming business.