One of the most exciting and interesting aspects of entrepreneurship is that there are so many niches, fields and areas of specialty that didn’t exist as recently as just 20 years ago but today provide opportunities for the creative and ambitious to build entire lifestyles and careers. What’s also unique and special about these emerging fields is the way they blend entrepreneurship and business know-how with a higher mission – to help others or to help the environment or just to do things with an eye on making the world a better place.
Chenese Lewis is an entertainer, entrepreneur and multimedia success story, who is one of the original plus size influencers in the country. Chenese is a Baton Rouge native, who moved to L.A. to launch her career in the early 2000s and, not long thereafter, won a plus-sized beauty pageant. She went on to become a plus size model, and an advocate for women’s positive body image and self-esteem.
Chenese was an influencer before most people even knew what that was. She launched the first podcast focused on plus sized women in 2008, before most people knew what podcasts were. In 2014, Chenese returned to Baton Rouge, where she is based today and continues to grow her company, hosting virtual events and making headlines in national publications.
Paula LaFargue is founder and Designer of The Maybe Collection, a Baton Rouge small business that ethically makes comfortable, functional, beautiful women’s garments produced with minimal environmental impact for an accessible cost.
Paula started the company in 2016, after spending 10 years designing clothes for nursing moms, children and utility workers – not all at the same time. She strives hard to have the smallest possible environmental impact in every aspect of The Maybe Collection – from the materials she sources, to internal operations, to packaging.
Paula is a mother of two young children, and a native of Baton Rouge, who attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and cut her teeth in the fashion industry in New York then Chicago before returning home in 2009.
Chenese Lewis and Paula LaFargue are not only assets to the Baton rouge business community, they’re also touching the lives of so many women around the country in important ways.
Photos by Jill Lafleur. And here’s some more lunch table conversation about Baton Rouge influencers and retailers