Rocket Science: Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan of Something Borrowed Blooms
On trends, tradition, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and boudin.
Lauren and Laken founded Something Borrowed Blooms in 2015 with a mission to revolutionize the wedding flower industry. The company specializes in providing on-trend, premium silk wedding flowers for rent, saving couples over 70 percent compared to traditional florist pricing. The innovative rent-and-return system includes bouquets, boutonnieres, garlands, flower combs and crowns, centerpieces, aisle markers, and much more.
What was your biggest challenge getting the brand off the ground?
Lauren: The biggest challenge we knew up front was that we were changing a consumer’s mindset in a very traditional space. The wedding industry is practically built on tradition, right?
We needed to open their eyes to this other way to do it, to this alternative which a lot of times has a stigma attached to it. Silk flowers can have a negative connotation, so we knew it was going to take a lot of work to really prove ourselves as a brand. Show that we were a better option, a better solution.
I mean, we still face that challenge. Just educating the market in general about this option is something that we do every day.
What’s an under-the-radar trend that the wedding industry should pay more attention to?
Lauren: There are so many ways we can answer this. We’ve been talking a lot about sustainability in the wedding industry, and we’ve been really trying to pioneer that conversation.
Again, tradition rules, so just getting people to think about it is half the battle. Because there’s so much waste that comes along with weddings. Being more mindful of the waste that your weddings are producing is critical, but hard, since this is a day of celebration and excess, right?
But also, thinking about resources connects to the idea of not going into debt. A wedding day can consume so much of your money, your time, and all these things that sometimes get out of hand.
People should be talking more about just doing what you want to do on your wedding day. Not letting societal pressures make you feel you have to do things that aren’t in your best interests, or the planet’s best interests.
Do you think Covid has changed people’s way they plan weddings?
Laken: I think so. Obviously, 2020 was completely different than what we’ve seen before in the wedding industry.
But I think we’re seeing this trend of pattern-breaking, and that’s a good thing. People have given themselves more permission to do more of what feels right for them as a couple.
Lauren: Yeah. It’s a lot more last-minute. A lot more personality is being injected into wedding planning. Everything is more playful, less stuffy
What is the most requested wedding flower?
Lauren and Laken simultaneously: Green and white. Green and white.
Laken: Often people think less of a flower variety and more of a color palette.
Laken: I mean, I think that there are consumers that are very in tune with floral varieties and have a very specific vision. And those customers are usually very set on fresh florals.
But there’s this whole other customer base that wants something really beautiful, and it can be whatever, as long as it fits their overall vision, which is typically a color palette. Something very classic and neutral is a go-to and our most requested theme.
Lauren: Yeah. If you’re unsure about flowers or how to plan for them, green and white are easy solutions that you know will look good. It goes with every dress color. It meets every criterion. You can’t go wrong, you can’t mess up.
What’s the most interesting wedding venue you’ve ever been to?
Laken: One of our team members actually just got married, and her reception was in the old Civic Theatre in New Orleans. They have music events there all the time, but they converted this theater into a reception space and raised the floor to meet the stage area. It was absolutely beautiful architecture.
Lauren: It’s funny, since we ship all over the country, our blooms get to go to all these really unique places that we personally don’t get to attend.
One that sticks out for me is a couple that eloped, Heather and Herrod. They went to this beautiful mountain range in Colorado, hiked up to a certain spot, and then pitched a tent. They had a photographer with them the whole time. The photos were incredible.
So, you see Heather hiking with her gear and her bouquets sitting in her backpack, kind of peeking out. After they set up the tent, she changed into her dress, and they hiked a little bit more up to this mountain peak. And then, don’t you know it, these two little mountain goats just came out and said hello during this ceremony as if they had gotten paid to do it. You couldn’t have staged it better!
So, we get to see all these amazing places that our blooms go, which is really fun. There’s a TV show idea there, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Bouquets.”
What’s each other’s superpower at work?
Lauren: Laken can get…it…done. I feel she can run circles around me. On a typical day she’ll have checked off a dozen things on the to-do list before lunch and I’m like, “Wait what just happened, how did she do all of this?”
Laken: I would say Lauren’s superpower is spreading kindness and positive energy. She’s really great at getting the team engaged and being really positive no matter what situation we’re in. When the chips are down, Lauren’s going to bring us up.
Lauren: Inside, I’m really panicking too. But on the outside, I’m trying to keep it all together.
What is your favorite outdoor space?
Lauren: I’m an indoor kind of girl. You have a good answer, Laken. Your pool.
Laken: Yeah, we have a pool in our backyard, and that’s our daily hangout during the summer.
Lauren: For both of us, it’s our backyards. Living in Louisiana, we have the luxury of having land. So, I live on three and a half acres with a pond and woods, and my backyard’s very open.
You’ve been asked to go back and teach in business school, whatever class you want. What would it be?
Lauren: I actually volunteer with some pre-college entrepreneurship programs which focus on creating a business plan. It’s fun to instill in kids the principles needed to start and run a business and make sure that they understand they don’t have to be perfect to start. You could just have to start somewhere.
Showing them what’s possible is so great. if you could see it, you could be it. When I was young, I didn’t see a lot of female founders or female business owners. It’s important to get in front of the next generation to show them what’s possible. So, I would do more of that.
Laken: I would teach marketing. That’s just my passion. In high school, I worked for a specialty gift shop under an entrepreneur, really a marketer at heart. In those early days, she planted the seed, and that seed is what drives me every single day. The ideas and possibilities are just endless, and it’s what I love to do. So that would be the natural class for me to teach.
What’s a restaurant we should visit in Lafayette?
Lauren: If you come a Lafayette, you need to go to Billy’s Boudin and get a cheese-stuffed boudin.
Laken: Pepper Jack boudin ball. It’s delicious!
Lauren: It’s a gas station. But you’ll thank me later.
Where would you most like a second home?
Lauren: That’s a hard one. I love Alys Beach in the Florida panhandle. I’ve always said I would love to have a house there. It’s just a nice community and not a bad drive from Louisiana. It’s slower-paced, so none of the touristy bustle of Destin or Panama City.
And maybe New York, I would love to have a place in New York.
Laken: That would be my toss-up too. A New York apartment would be great, not to live there, just to go there from time to time. But I’m also a beach person. I love relaxing outdoors by the water and under the sun.
Speaking of Alys Beach, Lauren does LOVE it. A while ago we were vacationing up the road and she goes, “You have to see it. We’re going to make a quick trip.” It was an hour away, so we set off with our families and rented bikes there.
Lauren: I was trying to pitch Laken and her husband on staying there next year. So there was real pressure, a big moment for me. I was trying to convince them this is where we needed to stay next trip.
Laken: We get down there, get on the bikes, and notice everyone is leaving. I mean everyone. And we’re riding around like, “This is great. We’ve got all the paths and boardwalks to ourselves!”
Of course, we got caught in a rainstorm. A torrential, epic rainstorm. It was terrible. And, it was funny…and fun. Our kids loved it. We’re all riding bikes in the rain with no worries in the world. Her pitch worked.