Dig Baton Rouge

Size Matters

BigAnd Desirable brand slays boundaries

When you wear something that makes you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you feel empowered. That feeling is what Chontel Parker and Jason Givens want to share with the community of Baton Rouge. As co-founders of BigAnd Desirable, their “empowerment apparel” company has grown from a poem, to an idea, and now they sell their t-shirts all over the country (and internationally, too!).

In 2016, Givens wrote a poem called “Big and Desirable” that showed appreciation for plus size women who walk around, dripping with confidence, and embracing their size. After he shared the poem, both men and women of all sizes felt it was reaching out to them. People he didn’t even know were loving the message and feeling “BAD” themselves; that’s when he and Parker knew it was the beginning of a movement.

“Empowerment is not something people always feel, there’s always a negative connotation associated with being big and even the word bad is negative. So, we wanted to turn that around and do something for the plus size ladies, but once we did that everyone else, smaller ladies and even men, were like ‘Hey what about me, I’m BAD too.’ And we wanted to embrace that and grow with the demand,” said Parker.

The past two years have been full of learning experiences for the duo. They started out not knowing much and getting the t-shirts made for them, but now with profits they’ve made, they have the equipment to make everything themselves from their workspace garage. It has taken a lot of give and take to figure out which direction they wanted to move the company in, but the two work seamlessly together.

“We are two very different people, and often have to agree to disagree, but we both have our different strengths. My brain is constantly thinking of the future, and sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t, but Jason is very supportive and tailors everything to make sense,” said Parker.   

With the growing demand for the empowerment apparel, the future for BigAnd Desirable holds many prospects for expansion. An airstream trailer renovation is in the works and will become a mobile boutique for the duo to bring BigAnd Desirable with them wherever they go. Giving back to the Baton Rouge community is also something that BigAnd Desirable has made a part of their foundation and plans to do bigger outreach programs in the future. Their mission is to teach everyone how they can feel empowered without any boundaries.

“Christmas is always a time that we give back, and that has grown a lot since I started doing it with my family a few years ago. I want to continue that as long as we can. But another opportunity we’ve had with speaking to the community was at a daycare center where we spoke for Entrepreneur Day. It was cool to put the idea in the kid’s minds that they can do whatever they want to, and be whoever they want to be,” said Givens.

From children to adults, in every size and shape, Parker and Givens have given Baton Rouge a confidence that’s not only big and bad, but reflective of the love they have for their community. The t-shirts make their brand tangible, but BigAnd Desirable is more than just that. Givens points out the feel-good reach of seeing their brand on the streets.

“Everyone we have sold our t-shirts to have become part of an extended family. When they see someone out with a BAD shirt on, they know our brand and what we stand for and can say hello to one another, furthering that empowerment. Its like a silent high five between individuals.”

Photos by Sean Gasser

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