They are two St. Charles Parish natives who decided they wanted a “completely new and revolutionary” business and set out to New York’s floral district to get it off the ground.
When they returned, Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan made six floral collections with the silk flowers they bought, set up their online business and started renting the arrangements. They weren’t sure if it would work, but they’d done their homework. Nearly three years later, the cousins are happily reporting the kind of numbers that have taken their business to more than 40 states in the U.S. and are getting inquiries that will likely take their business international to English speaking countries.
“This could be really big,” Bercier said. “We’re right on target with the way millennials are spending money and shopping.”
Something Borrowed Blooms literally budded as their business in 2015. By December of that year, they had their first wedding and along with it came the confidence that people were looking for their service.
A customer can save up to 70 percent on renting flowers over buying live ones.
Less than three years after going into business, the Hahnville High School graduates are averaging 60 weddings a month, a number they anticipate could hit 100 by mid-year.
They’ve boosted advertising and are about to launch an affiliate program where they work with wedding planners.
Bercier lives in Lafayette, where their business is based and houses more than 1,000 floral items. They have two employees there. Swan and Bercier’s sister, Cameron, who both live in Luling, help design the collections, and Swan educates their workers on how to build each floral piece and ensures items made match what customers are seeing on their website.
“We noticed brides wanted to allocate their budget differently, possibly paying for their own wedding,” Bercier said. “Millennials are more likely to spend their money on experiences, and being more a part of the community.”
Swan added a well-thought-out wedding budget resonated with these customers.
Today’s millennial bride is also more economical, so it wasn’t surprising when they observed them trying to do their own flowers.
But they also noticed it didn’t always come out well and that’s when the two recognized their opportunity.
Intrigued with the Rent the Runway concept, they decided this could be their direction, too. The online business rents out designer clothing for anything from proms to weddings for considerably less than buying the clothing, and it was successful.
Bercier and Swan agreed they’d found their niche and went to work.
“We can’t do funky, craft store flowers so we researched and found the floral district in New York,” Bercier said. “We found a really good wholesaler with good quality silk flowers.”
They did 50 weddings in their first year in business, which the two considered healthy traction. With the numbers continuing to grow, they put their plans for growth in motion.
By May of last year, they launched an updated website and increased social media promotion.
“We created a website completely mobile friendly that allowed a bride to do her entire flower order from a mobile device,” Bercier said. “They can add all they want to their cart – bridal bouquets, bridesmaid’s pieces, centerpieces or garland. You add the wedding date and shipping information along with payment and you’re done.”
They are now promoting nine flower collections with a 10th due out soon to be called the Jane Collection (named after Bercier’s late mother-in-law Jane Bercier). It will feature the timeless, classical style of white flowers with more greenery.
They are in bloom, too.
With business growing and about to make a global leap, Bercier and Swan are glad they had the confidence to make that trip to New York that put them in motion with their own business.
“One of the things that makes me really proud is going to Facebook and seeing our reviews,” Swan said. “We don’t have a personal relationship with our brides. These are people all over the country who found a solid value in our product and are willing to share their experience with other brides about this special day in their lives.”