No headline provided

No headline provided

Every Thursday, Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean at the Freeman School of Business, records and hosts “Out to Lunch,” a podcast and radio program soon to be aired by WWNO, a National Public Radio affiliate radio station.

Before coming to Tulane, Ricchiuti managed more than $3 billion in assets as the assistant treasurer for the state of Louisiana. Once he arrived at Tulane, he founded the Burkenroads Reports, a program in which Tulane business undergraduates and graduates write financial reports to be used by the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund. Students at the Freeman School of Business have voted Ricchiuti Top Professor of the Year twice.

“Out to Lunch,” the half-hour program recorded over lunch at Commander’s Palace, features interviews with young New Orleans entrepreneurs. For the Valentine’s Day episode, Ricchiuti first interviewed boudoir photographer Courtney Dellafiora.

Americans spent $3 billion on Valentine’s Day last year, a small portion of which went to Dellafiora’s business, the Boudoir Vixen. Many women choose to purchase boudoir photos of themselves, which are tasteful photographs that hint at sexiness, to give to their significant others.

“I want to show women that they are beautiful,” Dellafiora said. “The photos benefit their self-confidence and their significant others.”

The Boudoir Vixen opened in 2010 in Baton Rouge and now receives clients from around the world. Dellafiora said she hopes to open more studios nationally and worldwide.

Ricchiuti then introduced another guest, restaurant entrepreneur Joel Dondis. After working for Emeril Lagasse as a sous-chef, Dondis transitioned to the business side of the industry. Besides founding the successful Joel catering company, he now owns five companies, including Le Petite Grocery and Sucre. Dondis decided to come back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and never looked back.

“It’s a different world now,” Dondis said. “The new business environment is intoxicating.”

Dondis has a passion for sweets that blossoms at Sucre, which features an ice cream shop and bakery. The store makes more than 200 decadent products per year and is growing – it plans to hire 20 more employees this year. It will also launch a new mass-market candy, Macbubl, in the fourth quarter.

Ricchiuti posed business questions to Dellafiora and Dondis while they sipped hot soup; the technical producer had assured them it would not interfere with the sound quality of the program.

The two agreed that social media helped improve the marketability of their businesses to young people, touting Apple Inc. as the market leader of “hipness.” Both Dellafiora and Dondis use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach their loyal and potential customers.

Ricchiuti said more young people are flocking to New Orleans in pursuit of business careers.

“New Orleans is the best place in the country for young entrepreneurs,” Ricchiuti said.


Leave a Comment