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.
In 1994, a guy called Jeff Bezos was working in banking when he decided to start up his own business, selling books online. Most people thought that was a stupid idea, for two reasons. One, nobody would want to give a total stranger their credit card number. And, two, if you wanted to buy a book, why wouldn’t you just go down to the bookstore?
In the face of withering criticism, and years of phenomenal financial losses, Bezos persisted with his online shopping idea. Today his company, Amazon, drives global commerce. And Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Following in Bezos’ logic-defying footsteps, other entrepreneurs were emboldened to launch startups based on what seemed like crazy ideas. Ideas that turned into like Facebook, Uber, Tinder, Tesla, and thousands of others – some successful, some not.
Local business person Laurel Hess has a startup business, called Hampr. That spelling might remind you of another local startup with a missing vowel, Waitr. The similarity is not insignificant. You can think of Hampr as the Waitr of laundry. Hampr is an app that will have someone show up at your house, pick up your dirty laundry, take it back to their house, and deliver back to you, clean. Is this a crazy idea that’s going to crash and burn? Or is it the next big thing that will make Laurel Hess a billionaire?
Traci Pecot had a crazy idea too. She made a connection between lonely pets and lonely people. Specifically, pets whose owners need someone to look after them while the owners are away from home, and elderly people who are still active but forced to spend long hours alone. In May 2017, Traci launched her elder-people pet care business under the name, Paws and Paw Paws.
Today, business is booming and – like Amazon’s progression from selling books to selling everything - the affectionate Paw Paws are a part of an expanding doggie pet care service that includes boarding and grooming.