As Out to Lunch prepares to go back to hosting live lunches, for inspiration we’re taking a look at some of our pre-Covid shows. Here’s an Out to Lunch Best of: Rent a Car or Wedding Flowers.

Sure, you’re familiar with renting a car on line. How about wedding flowers? That might sound crazy but it wasn’t all that long ago that renting a car online was a novel idea too.

Think about the last time you booked a plane ticket on an online travel website.  After you booked the ticket, the website asked you if you’d like to book anything else connected with your trip. A rental car. A hotel. A sightseeing tour. Restaurant reservations. If you said “yes” and booked anything else, think about what is going on there, technically. The airline reservation software is now interacting with a myriad of other reservation systems, and linking them all to your frequent flier program.

Kenneth Purcel, pioneer in online car rental, from New Orleans

Kenneth Purcell’s company iSeatz, is a pioneer in online car rental

The software that powers this complex operation was created by New Orleanian  Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth built it into a software company called iSeatz. Today, Kenneth’s concept is an integral piece of the global online economy. His business, still based here in New Orleans, powers clients like American Express and Visa.

The amazing thing about the online revolution is, the revolution never ends. Things you never even knew you needed become an integral part of your life. And everyone else’s life — which is how they become giant businesses like Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Amazon. 

Another name you can add to that list is a company called Something Borrowed Blooms. Something Borrowed Blooms rents flowers for weddings. They provide high-end artificial flowers for weddings. The artificial flowers look and even smell real, and they’re a fraction of the cost of real flowers.

If you’re thinking the comparison with Amazon and Uber is ridiculous because this has got to be a niche market with maybe a couple of clients, you’re going to need to recalibrate. Since its inception in December 2015, Something Borrowed Blooms has grown to 16 employees and handles 400 weddings a month. That number is rapidly moving toward one thousand weddings a month.

Laken Swan, a pioneer in rental flowers

Laken Swan, a pioneer in rental flowers

And the company is diversifying and expanding, under the leadership of its co-founder cousins, Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan. Laken is also the Chief Marketing Officer of Something Borrowed Blooms.

This show was recorded over lunch at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Photos by Jill Lafleur

Check out Kenneth’s previous appearance on Out to Lunch, back in 2013.

Peter Ricchiuti, Kenneth Purcell, Laken Swan

Peter Ricchiuti, Kenneth Purcell, Laken Swan

Realtor Tracey Moore