On any given day, Lauren and Ryan Haydel can pop out of their shops on New Orleans’ Magazine Street look several doors down, and give a quick wave of hello to each other. Finding support in each other and with a handful of strong partners, the owners of Fleurty Girl and Haydel’s Bake Shop are powerhouse entrepreneurs, each gaining success in their respective niche.
Lauren’s boutique, Fleurty Girl, celebrates all things New Orleans with a fun, sparkly, flare. The business, which started back in 2009, has grown to nine locations spanning from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I wanted to start a company that was geared toward women. I wanted cute shirts for football games because women love football too, and the only options were unisex jerseys or shirts.” The timing for Lauren’s launch of Fleurty Girl was kismet, aligning with the Saints’ historic football season that started with a 13-0 run before concluding in a victory in the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.
“It was a truly crazy ride,” says Lauren. With the team’s success, Fleurty Girl was thrust into New Orleans culture and keeping up to demand was a challenge. “I quit my full-time job to run Fleurty Girl out of my home. I was living on faith, but the community and our loyal customers never let us down,” shares Lauren. “We are a family business, and even through growth, it’s still all about the people and our community.”
That mindset is one of the reasons Lauren connected with Hancock Whitney when it was time to take Fleurty Girl to the next level. “When I started Fleurty Girl, I had nothing. No time, no money, no credit. Big banks wouldn’t even listen to my story to hear my passion and see my plan. But it was Hancock Whitney that took the time to listen, to take a risk on me and my business. We’ve been able to lean on Hancock Whitney to finance the opening of new stores.”
Today, Fleurty Girls is a multi-million dollar company with more than 80 employees. “I genuinely love what I do, and I love sharing my products with everyone,” shares Lauren describing her unique collection of carefully curated southern goods. “It’s authentic and has been the perfect formula for success.”
Just down the street from Fleurty Girl, Lauren and Ryan opened Haydel’s Bake Shop, a café featuring beloved traditions from Haydel’s Bakery, known for fresh-baked cookies, cakes and pastries. Ryan, a third generation baker, explains how this shop differs from his family’s traditional bakery. “We wanted to have a space for people to come in for a snack or coffee break, for tourists strolling down Magazine Street to be able to pop in and enjoy a treat.”
No stranger to the operations of a business, Ryan has been part of his family’s enterprise for as long as he can remember, from working as a high school student to managing payroll for the bakery as an adult. Throughout this time, Hancock Whitney has been there. “I opened my first checking account with Hancock Whitney when I was in ninth grade, and Hancock Whitney has been our bank at the bakery for years,” shares Ryan. He explains that the bank adapts to working with various personalities, including his 77 year-old father. “Even though much of what we do can be done online with the bank, my dad is old-school. The local bankers are great at assisting him, whether it is ordering and hand-delivering checks for him or answering their cell phone when he calls with a question.”
It’s this level of personal service that Ryan says he loves about the bank and made the decision to use Hancock Whitney a “no-brainer” when developing the concept for Haydel’s Bake Shop.
“We can call our banker at any time. It’s more personal with Hancock Whitney. People know you, and you have that local relationship. Not only do you see them at the financial centers, but you see them out in the community, so you are able to build a truly personal relationship with them,” says Ryan. “My banker was actually one of the first people who knew I was going to propose to Lauren,” Ryan shares.
The duo believe that having people in your corner, on your corner really makes a difference in success.
“It’s important to work hard to build the relationships with people that can help you grow your business,” shares Lauren. “Hancock Whitney is the type of bank you can walk into and start a relationship like that so you can grow. They can move at your speed and are there whenever we need anything.”
Ready to connect with a banking partner who will work hard for you?
Learn more about solutions to help grow your business and get the support you need with expert guidance to achieve your goals and protect your business's future.