Shopping locally supports your community and neighboring businesses, and in Louisiana’s Capital City, it’s just one of the many ways we show our Southern hospitality. Sweet Baton Rouge and its sister store, Local Supply, are some of Baton Rouge’s coolest shops in Mid City that host local makers’ crafts, from t-shirts and jewelry to soaps and home decor. When the owner, Meredith Waguespack, moved here as a 19-year-old, she felt that Baton Rouge was her new beloved home. In creating Sweet Baton Rouge, she wanted to design a space that offered the same homey feel she adores for shoppers, makers and visitors alike.
The Visit Baton Rouge team sat down with owner Meredith and co-owner Sarah Guidry to learn more about the company, its mission and what our community means to them.
VISIT BATON ROUGE: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and Sweet Baton Rouge.
MEREDITH WAGUESPACK: Sweet Baton Rouge will turn 12 years old in October, and it started as just an idea to create and sell t-shirts geared toward football season. That idea grew into creating t-shirts with Louisiana culture. We started off as an online business that leaped forward to having an office, which later turned into a showroom for customers. We hosted a holiday local pop-up for two years in Perkins Rowe that brought us to opening a flagship here in the Electric Depot. We saw that customers enjoyed shopping and enjoyed buying t-shirts locally in-person… And in the midst of it all, Sweet Baton Rouge was rebranded, and by the end of 2019, everything felt like home.
SARAH GUIDRY: [Meredith and I] are the perfect partnership, truly. We thrived when we found each other, and it just took off. I think one reason we work together so well is I’m from South Louisiana, and Meredith is from North Louisiana, so we are able to communicate the Louisiana story differently.
VBR: How did you land on the name “Sweet Baton Rouge”?
MW: In 2011, I created a “Sweet Baton Rouge” t-shirt, and we saw how much traction it made. “Sweet Baton Rouge” was my favorite t-shirt design, but there were other facets of the business that I was nervous about… Sarah came on board and helped create our brand identity and streamlined the direction of our concept.
SG: We knew the local message is really what we needed to pursue. So Sweet Baton Rouge was the absolute perfect name for the brand.
VBR: In 2016, y’all made t-shirts in response to the widespread flooding in our area. Can you tell us more about this and your other fundraising efforts?
MW: We decided if we made a t-shirt [in response to the flood], we would want to donate this money to somebody, but who would it go to? We saw that the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank had substantial flooding in its facilities, so we hunkered down and hustled to get everything ordered. The final amount of money donated at that time was close to $50,000, but since 2016, we have always had the shirt on standby as a fundraising shirt.
SG: To know that we are able to do such good in our day-to-day life, it really is just such a blessing.
MW: Both of us have such a strong heart to give back to our communities and do good. It is a humbling experience to know that two women who run a small business have been able to make such a big impact over the last decade.
VBR: What do you want locals and tourists to know about Sweet Baton Rouge and Local Supply?
MW: I want people to look at Sweet Baton Rouge as their home. I want them to find something that they can take back and share with their families as a remembrance of their visit to Baton Rouge. This is my community now, so my hope is that somebody has that personal connection to either the t-shirts or the local products that are sold in the gift shop.
SG: I think with Local Supply, specifically, we built it in a way that makes it incredibly easy to support locals. If you want to support our local community, we have the resources for you.