Sometimes, the idea for a business comes from seeing a need and creating a product or service to fill it. Sometimes, it comes from just doing something you love because, well, you think it’s going to be fun. Although we often hear business advice along the lines of “Find something that makes you happy,” is that necessarily also going to make you money? Stephanie’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch are putting that maxim to the test.
Diana Raffray is co-owner of The Modern Debutante, a Baton Rouge-based business that rents hedge, flower and shimmer walls. If you’ve been to a wedding or a big event lately, you know are all the rage. The trend has been growing in popularity for the past several years and though it’s not clearly exactly who came up with the idea, it’s a safe bet the concept caught on big time after Kim Kardashian and Kanye West exchanged vows in front of a wall of white roses in 2014.
Dianna got her MBA degree in 2017, was in pharmaceutical sales, and never envisioned herself in a specialty niche of the event planning market, until 2018, when she bumped into one of her sorority sisters from Southeastern, Danielle Whatley, while walking her dog. They reconnected, started hanging out and looking for a business idea that combined something that Baton Rouge needed and something that would make them happy. The idea of The Modern Debutante was born!
Melanie Bennett is the owner of the Hostel of Baton Rouge, a project that has been in the works for five years and finally opened in late 2021 in a former day care center in mid City. Melanie is bringing the first hostel to Baton rouge because she gave up her conventional lifestyle more than a decade ago to become a world traveler and became something of a self-schooled expert on hostels, staying in them as she traversed the globe.
Out to Lunch Baton Rouge is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Photos by Chris Tricou. Here’s more lunchtime conversation about Baton Rouge businesses shooting for the stars.