With a goal in mind of organically expanding her customer base, Meredith Waguespack—owner of the nine-year-old lifestyle T-shirt brand Sweet Baton Rouge—has tapped into a new market: local women who like to work out.
It’s a growing clientele she’s been forging since the February launch of her Don’t Stop, Just Geaux apparel brand and workout community.
“I know as a busy mom running a business, you get so caught up in your day from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, you don’t realize you could sneak in some time here or there to work out,” says Waguespack, who hatched the idea after suffering from an ankle injury in January. “I want to encourage other women to be able to find a space where they can work out at any place at any time, and share my tips with others.”
From a business standpoint, Don’t Stop, Just Geaux marks the latest addition to Waguespack’s Sweet Baton Rouge portfolio. Billed as a high-end, Louisiana-made collection of athleisure wear, branded products range from muscle tanks to leggings—items Waguespack buys from New Orleans-based maker Tasc Performance before printing her design on their bamboo micro-blended fabric and reselling the pieces on the Sweet Baton Rouge website.
Perhaps more significant, however, is the identically named workout community, where some 178-and-counting members are united through a regularly updated Facebook group page. Waguespack posts new video exercises to the page almost daily, tailoring workouts to specific body areas each month (abs and arms in June, etc.). She recently created a YouTube channel to house the workout videos, a currently free product line she eventually hopes to monetize through a subscription-based service.
“My goal is to produce a new video every two or three weeks,” says Waguespack, a former fitness instructor. “Then, in the Facebook group, we’ll talk about the workout, dissect it and work on routines.”
About 20% to 30% of the group’s members are active, she adds, meaning they comment on posts, privately message her or otherwise engage with posted content.
But the activity doesn’t stop on social media. It carries over to group workouts, with Waguespack partnering with local boutique gyms like Barre3 and BodySculpt Studios to host pop-up events at different communal spaces throughout the city—and she wants to schedule more in the future. Nearly 130 women showed up to the first workout event of 2019, in Perkins Rowe.
It’s a multipronged approach to retail that comes full circle: Facebook group members practice Waguespack’s fitness routines on their own, then buy the Don’t Stop, Just Geaux apparel ahead of a group workout, which they attend before skimming through the next day’s post, which has links to online store items.
As a female entrepreneur in Baton Rouge, Waguespack says the workout community allows her to network with other women who are small business owners in the area and learn from them.
“I love the idea of what’s been going on in last year, where fitness brands go into Red Stick Social, Provisions on Perkins, White Star Market and other places,” she says. “We’re all congregating in one location and making it more of a community.”