What’s new is new, but what’s old can be timeless.
We can get obsessed with new ideas in business. An innovation. A technology. A new place to put cheese on pizza.
But sometimes, a good business model is sourcing an old idea and bringing it back. As the salesman’s famous closer goes, “Nobody ever regretted buying quality.” That’s especially true in fashion, which we’ll get to. And it’s true in farming too.
When you look behind the American food distribution system, it’s kind of (pardon the pun) nuts. People in Florida buy oranges from Mexico. People in Louisiana buy shrimp and crawfish from China — they just don’t tell anyone about it.
These are logistical innovations brought on by scale commodities and economies, and it’s totally reshaped our relationship with food. Mark Guidry saw that system and figured it was ripe for disruption.
Mark and his wife Connie are the co-owners of Guidry Organic farms. The brand is maybe best known for their pecan products — Guidry’s Pecan Butter is a best seller. But they also raise cattle and chickens and harvest blueberries. Whatever they do, they do it old school organic. The Guidrys practice regenerative farming. Byproducts from one side of the farm support growth on another.
It’s kind of how farming used to be when organic food was simply known as “food”. Mark didn’t grow up farming. But he did grow up in Lafayette.
Now, as promised, let’s turn to fashion. You probably buy your clothes off the rack. More likely off the internet. And you’re prepared to trade fit for convenience and price.
Yes, your e-commerce clothes are affordable and they arrive in two days, but they don’t fit all that well. Tailoring is mostly a thing of the past, as the fashion industry sprinted toward fast fashion. But an old school method can make sense in a 21st century economy. E-commerce is a surprisingly good fit for custom, mobile tailoring. That’s the edge for Nathan Pearce, CEO of Pearce Bespoke.
Pearce Bespoke offers suits tailor made on the go through a mobile shop. They come to you, get your measurements and whip up a design fit for you in about 3 weeks.
Nathan’s been in the clothing business for most of his career as an entrepreneur. Out of college he launched Fraternity Collection, a custom t-shirt making business that was his first taste of success. He owns several Pearce Bespoke locations, including the shops in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. But he’s also franchised the brand, extending its reach to dozens of other locations, on pace to reach 50 by the end of this year.
Nathan is originally from New Orleans, but now lives in Baton Rouge.
Out to Lunch Acadiana was recorded live over lunch at Tsunami Sushi in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Dylan Babineaux.