Occupation: Founder of Sweet Baton Rouge
Husband: Bart Waguespack
Children: Kelsey, 30; Bailey, 28; and Brody, 15
Hobbies: Walking, running, taking fitness classes, and reading
Meredith Waguespack is a mother of three and the owner of Sweet Baton Rouge. She adopted her two oldest when they were 18 and 21, sharing that they are God’s gift to her. Meredith’s three kiddos are everything to her, and she takes great pride in the family she and her husband, Bart, have been able to build together.
WHAT LED YOU TO MOVE TO BATON ROUGE?
MEREDITH: I moved to Baton Rouge when I was 19. My mom and my dad had divorced, and my mom moved to the Baton Rouge area, so I was like, well, I guess I’ll try Baton Rouge and see what it’s all about. I’m originally from a small town called Athens, and I think the furthest south we had ever come down was once for a Christmas event, so I never had experienced anything besides that one trip to South Louisiana. I moved here and I ended up just settling in on my roots. I’ve been in South Louisiana since I was 19 and I’m 44 years old now, so I’ve spent more of my life here than there. I’ve met my husband and we’ve had children, so it’s my home now.
WHAT INSPIRED SWEET BATON ROUGE?
MEREDITH: I wanted to create a fun t-shirt that celebrated football season that women could wear. It started with one t-shirt. I had no background in graphic design or anything in the t-shirt world, but it was just something that I wanted to do. I worked with a designer and made a t-shirt, and then I printed a bunch of shirts. I drove around South Louisiana, from Lafayette to New Orleans, just selling this one design. Since I’m from North Louisiana, I went to see family and friends and I brought the shirt with me and was literally selling t-shirts out of my car. It was a very simple design and people liked it. I got hungry and I wanted to keep going. I continued to create t-shirts. I was able to get into Royal Standard, and later, I was able to open our online store. Through social media, I was able to organically grow the business. The first three to five years, I was really figuring out the business. This business today is completely, aesthetically different than it was in the very beginning.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
MEREDITH: The very beginning. I get up at five in the morning and I get my coffee and that’s when I have the most quiet time.
WHAT’S A CHARACTERISTIC YOU HAVE IN YOUR WORK ETHIC AND PARENTING?
MEREDITH: I would say consistency, and I’m very organized. I have to because I am dabbling in a lot of things. I feel like because I have that strict organization and consistency, I’m able to be the same when I’m at home as a mom.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AS A FAMILY?
MEREDITH: Always eat. My husband and I are grandparents of six, and so a lot of times, that’s how we come together. My husband loves to boil crabs or crawfish, or make jambalaya. We have a pool, so the kids love to come to our house
HOW IS GRANDPARENTING DIFFERENT FROM PARENTING?
MEREDITH: I don’t have to have an opinion on anything. I just get to be supportive to my daughter, and if she asks me for my opinion, I’ll give it, but other than that, I just get to be present.
HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN ALIKE AND DIFFERENT?
MEREDITH: I would say my daughter and I are very much alike. I learn a lot from her. I raised her and her brother, and I’m raising one at home, but she’s raising six children, and her approach on life is totally different from my approach at that age. I feel like I can learn so much from her. My son Bailey is a hard worker. He gets his tenacity and hard work from his dad and me. My youngest, Brody, I find and see how much he and I are so much alike in our facial expressions.
WHAT HAVE YOUR CHILDREN TAUGHT YOU?
MEREDITH: My daughter has taught me how to be more patient. Bailey has taught me how to be more compassionate. Brody–he’s the last one–he makes me want to treasure every single day.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DATE NIGHT WITH YOUR HUSBAND?
MEREDITH: We have a restaurant together, so I love going there. I just enjoy hanging out with my husband. It usually involves a glass of wine and a nice restaurant, or we like to just hang out in our hot tub, listening to music and just being present with each other.
WHAT IS A KEY TO SUCCESSFUL PARENTING?
MEREDITH: Always showing up for your children with love and grace and compassion. Savor the moments that you have, even when they feel hard or difficult, because you’re never going to get it back. It’s all about holding on to all of those memories, and being as present as you can in their lives.
ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER PARENTS?
MEREDITH: Days are going to be challenging and hard, but at the same time, children are children. They may not know what they’re doing, or why they’re even acting out, but it’s our job to always walk them through whatever it is that they may be going through, and just sharing how much you love them and letting them know that you’re their security blanket.
ANY ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS JUST GETTING STARTED?
MEREDITH: Go for it. If it’s something that you have a passion for, and you want to work hard for it, and you have a drive to be an entrepreneur or open a business, go for it, but also know that it’s going to be hard. There are seasons that are really, really good, and then seasons that are really hard. Make sure that as you’re developing your entrepreneurship that you take things slow. You can start slow and work your way up to the level that you want to be, but you’ve got to be persistent. You’ve got to kind of persevere and build that character. ■
I can’t stop watching…Friends, Seinfeld, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Emily in Paris, and Gilmore Girls.
I love singing along to…Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, and the Endless Love soundtrack.
I always feel my best when I…work out.
My favorite holiday is…Christmas.
My favorite book is…Where the Crawdads Sing.