226 episodes

OUT TO LUNCH Business over lunch. Each week Christiaan invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join him. 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.

It's Acadiana: Out to Lunch ItsAcadiana.com

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

OUT TO LUNCH Business over lunch. Each week Christiaan invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join him. 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.

    You Are What You Eat

    You Are What You Eat

    In theory, plants are a pretty simple product. The general principle of it is straightforward. You put something in the ground. Add some water, some nutrients. You wait, you harvest, you eat. Or maybe you stuff it in a wicker basket and sell it at the farmer’s market. 

    But it’s really not that simple if you want to take something homegrown and market it. We run across products all the time that — in theory — you could make yourself. But maybe you couldn’t make it quite as well or as consistently or cheaply. 

    That’s the hump to get over in taking backyard commerce to the marketplace. And it applies to folks selling produce like hydroponic lettuce or what business school types call “value added products” like an herbal tea. 

    Or how about manglier tea? If you grew up in a Creole or Cajun household, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, manglier tea is a French Louisiana cure-all made from a shrubby bush you probably have in your backyard. Traiteurs — faith healers — use it to treat all kinds of maladies. Your grandmother might have made it for you when you got a cold. It works. And like any medicine that works, it usually tastes awful.

    Rayvin Silas-Chevalier has figured out how to make it more than a little palatable. Her company Blackbird Botanica brews manglier tea with honey, lemon orange and cinnamon. Her recipe is so good at helping the medicine go down, she can hardly keep up with the demand on shelves at local shops around Lafayette. Rayvin comes from a long line of healers. And it was her work as doula that first got her interested in herbal brewing. Her flagship product is Brave’s Brewed Manglier Tea — a Creole Immune Boosting Elixir.

    Homebrewing and home growing can be rewarding, especially when it’s healing. But what if you want to scale up and bring that nutrition to a wider audience. 

    That’s actually pretty tricky. Selling even lettuce on grocery store shelves takes an act of Congress — more specifically meeting USDA standards. But that’s what it takes if you want to do local — bigger. And that’s Kohlie Frantzen  is trying to do with his hydroponic farming concept — Helical Farms.

    Hydroponic farming was an “a-ha” moment for Kohlie. The set-up, the machinery, the possibilities all seemed like a perfect fit for the skilled trades in Louisiana’s oil patch.

    Helical’s top seller is lettuce, which they supply to several local restaurants. And the operation has partnered with food banks to stock pantries during the pandemic. 

    This show was recorded live over lunch at The French Press in Lafayette. You can find photos from the show by       at our website.

    Check out more lunchtime conversation about local health alternatives and healthy local food farming here.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    Creative Tattoo

    Creative Tattoo

    Creativity can be like gas in a tank. If you go, go, go, you burn it all up. Work/life balance in creative industries is really important. 

    Business owners are paying more attention now to the environment they create for their employees. It’s not just about recruitment, either. It makes for a better product for your clients and customers. 

    Talent needs a place to thrive. And running creative businesses in a secondary market like Lafayette means you’re often a training ground. Developing talent can be an important competitive advantage. 

    Creative

    Cherie Hebert created a garden for advertising talent when she launched BBR Creative with her partners in 1997. The firm has grown to compete on the national stage with award-winning campaigns for big brands like Tabasco, CC’s Coffee House and Cox Communications.

    What got Cherie into the business was a passion for advertising design, a discipline with an important distinction from visual design. Advertising design is about sending a message, not just establishing a vibe. BBR creates messaging that cuts through the noise. With so much media noise pollution out there, it’s a tricky thing to do. At BBR, Cherie has created a space for her employees to create. They make a point to avoid burnout so their creative juices can refill. It’s an attitude that’s helped the firm attract gobs of talent over an impressive two decade run. 

    Tattoo

    Like good design in advertising, a good tattoo needs clarity. Strong lines. Stark contrast. An image that cuts glass. Or, as tattoo artist Coby Cox would put it, an image you can make out from across the bar. 

    Tattoos aren’t rebellious like they used to be. Thirty percent of Americans have at least one tattoo. That’s about 100 million people. And the market for ink is getting more competitive but also more sophisticated. 

    Coby has watched the industry change from his shop AAA Tattoo in Lafayette since 1997. AAA sets itself apart from other shops with an open environment. It’s the kind of place anyone can get inked without judgment, and where young artists can learn tricks of the trade. Coby knows what it’s like to be the punk kid in the tattoo shop. He got his first tattoo at 16 in the back of a Harley shop. In other words, AAA’s business strategy is to invest in people.

    See photos from this show by Brad Bowie at our website. And check out Cherie's previous appearance on Out to Lunch Acadiana when she was in the tiny house business.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    Enfants d'Acadiana

    Enfants d'Acadiana

    Family is a big deal in Acadiana. That can be quite literally true. Family trees are large and deep-rooted, and that grounds a lot of us here. This area is known for having among the highest population retention in the nation.

    That doesn’t necessarily make being a teenager in Acadiana any easier. Defining who you are and who you want to be can be challenging. All the more so perhaps as the community diversifies and what it means to be from Acadiana becomes more complex. 

    Angst is angst wherever you are. And growing up in Acadiana can throw some unique challenges at you. There’s a dark side to joie de vivre. And in that shadow depression, anxiety and alienation lurk for teenagers coming up in a thorny world. 

    Roy Petifils helps high schoolers navigate all that as a professional counselor. At one time, Roy sought a career in the cloth, but left the seminary to work at St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette. He figured out quickly that he connected better with students one-on-one than at the whiteboard and made the career switch to faith-based counseling. He’s an author, podcaster and public speaker and practices at Pax Renewal counseling center in Lafayette. Roy is also the host of the podcast, Today's Teenager.

    Historically, Acadiana’s unique culture has been a grounding force folks growing up here. That’s come through tremendous effort over the decades to preserve and promote Francophone heritage in the region. The effect has been powerful for our traditions — music, food, art — but not necessarily for the French language. 

    Speaking French natively is still waning, observes Lindsay Smythe Doucet. There was a time when most of us had a native French speaker in our families, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore, even as the broader culture has persevered. 

    Lindsay has taught French and English in the public school system for over 15 years, most notably at Lafayette High. In 2021 she’ll make the leap into running a brand new French immersion elementary school in Sunset: Ecole St. Landry. The program emphasizes dialect and conversation in its curriculum, instead of harping on conjugation and grammar. The goal here is to teach kids a language in a way that allows them to express themselves, to get on Twitter or Instagram and TikTok and play with French in the same way they do their native tongue. The school will open with 100 kids.

    See photos by Lucius Fontenot from this show, recorded over lunch at The French Press, at our website. And there's more lunchtime conversation about Acadiana families here.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    True Vodka

    True Vodka

    The Romans had a saying: In vino veritas: In wine truth. It’s due for an update. Vodka is much more transparent. The art of distilling vodka is the pursuit of purity. There’s nothing to hide behind. 

    It makes a pretty good vehicle for a story to tell. And telling a good story is important if you want to get a leg up in the beverage industry. Of 220 million cases of alcohol sold each year in the U.S., 34% is vodka — the most among hard liquors. 

    So how do you tell a good story? You start with a grain of truth. In JT Meleck’s case: that’s rice. A distillery born on a rice farm in Branch, Louisiana, JT Meleck’s vodka is a genuine Louisiana product, and in that respect it’s one of a kind in a distilling sector dominated by potatoes and rye. 

    Mike Fruge started JT Meleck to add a new dimension to his family rice and crawfish farm. It’s no gimmick, either. JT Meleck is a premium spirit that doesn’t hide where it comes from. It’s named for Mike’s great great uncle who migrated to Louisiana to start the farm. The distillery is a new part of the business, and Mike still helms crawfish and rice farming operations, too. The label is also working on a rice-distilled whiskey. 

    When you’ve got a story like Mike’s, you might not need a great storyteller to sell it. But some companies don’t have such a strong sense of who they are and why they are. That’s where Jan Risher comes in.

    Jan Risher is CEO of ShiftKey PR and a columnist for The Advocate. She did her time as a journalist, too, and now teaches a course in memoir writing online. With ShiftKey, Jan puts her nose for a good story to work for her clients, digging into the details to find the kernel of truth that will resonate with consumers. 

    We’re bombarded with storytelling and spin. Jan’s concept is pretty simple: how do you set your brand apart? Tell the truth.

    So there's your Roman history update: In Vodka and PR Veritas.

    See photos from this show by Jill Lafleur on our website. And check out Mike Fruge's previous appearance on Out to Lunch Acadiana where he talks about crawfish with sugarcane farmer Eddie Lewis.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    Amazon Vs The World

    Amazon Vs The World

    At some point, it feels like every business will have to compete with Amazon.

    The stereotyped struggle of the 20th century was mom and pop versus Walmart. And we’ve all seen how that changed the commercial landscape in downtowns across America, and right here in Acadiana. Economies of scale are a powerful thing.

    The new family business isn’t likely a brick and mortar anymore. E-business has created new opportunities through products on demand and on delivery. It’s the upside of entering a digital marketplace. If you’ve got a product to sell, you can find a low-cost way to market it. 

    It’s crowded out there and companies of all sizes need a way to differentiate what they do. And what better way to get ahead than get reviewed. 

    Sarah Branton, has found a niche as a supplier, so-to-speak, of reviewers.  Her company Real Product Talk brokers free samples of new products to a network of around 1,000 reviewers. Reviewers are unpaid, but they get loads of free stuff to try and then tell the world what they think on Amazon, Target, Etsy and Google. Real Product Talk has given away around $1 million in free products since Sarah and her partner launched it in 2014. 

    Originally from Cecilia, Sarah is a serial entrepreneur and podcast host. She’s also leveraged her connections into a successful affiliate marketing business on Facebook. 

    Laure Hess got her start in digital marketing and found her big break in the gig economy. Laurel created Hampr, an app-based laundry delivery service, that connects laundry-laden households with washers willing to take that burden off their hands. Hampr’s target market is Laurel herself — the busy-mom-on-the-go. But during the pandemic, the service became useful for frontline workers working long hours.

    Working in the healthcare industry gave Laurel an opportunity for a pandemic pivot. She used Hampr’s existing delivery network to spin off Presto Health, a startup that delivers prescriptions in partnership with Ochsner Lafayette General. In 2020, Hampr was selected for Techstar, a highly competitive startup accelerator in Austin that comes with a $120,000 investment award. 

    Photos from this show by Jill Lafleur are at our website. Hear Laurel talking about her early roll out of Hampr here.

     

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    Bouncing Back

    Bouncing Back

    There’s a silly proverb: "Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach." It's silly because we all know that some of the best teachers can do and can teach. Skill and the ability to lead by example are immensely valuable especially when you’re teaching a craft or trade or a sport.  

    Teaching is a good product. And when executed properly it puts students on a lifetime path of learning and enjoying.  

    Melissa Hill created a space for folks to do just that . Niche Creative Studio in Lake Charles is part craft shop but all creative studio. A third-generation sewer, Melissa grew up crafting and carved out a side-hustle making memory quilts while she worked in nonprofits. She launched Niche in 2014 as a center for what she calls “missional creativity” — helping people find their own creative passions. 

    Savannah Vinsant Thompson accomplished her childhood mission pretty early. At 19, she was the first American to qualify for the Olympic trampoline finals and  joined Team USA for the 2012 Olympic games in London. Since then, she’s made a living training the next generation of Olympians at her gym Hangtime TNT. She offers tumbling, cheer and gymnastics courses at two locations, one in Scott and one in Broussard. Somehow she squeezed in winning a national championship in 2018 before stepping back from Olympic competition to focus on her work. 

    You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at our website. There's more lunchtime conversation about Lake Charles businesses here and about creative outlets for kids here.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Business

Listeners Also Subscribed To