Ten years ago, Megan Tamte was a stay-at-home mom who felt like she’d lost herself in the midst of taking care of her family. She had a dream of starting a store that would curate fashion specifically for moms, and she decided to take the leap and pursue it. Today, she’s the CEO of Evereve, a fast-growing retail company with 700+ employees and 53 stores coast to coast. In our conversation, Megan shared about the significance of pursuing a dream, the delicate balance between vulnerability and confidence—and why she thinks you should start that dog-walking business if you want to.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START TO THINK OF YOURSELF AS A LEADER?
Leadership isn’t about a title; it’s about influence. I think you become a leader the moment you first intentionally influence people. Looking back, I always did like bringing people along on journeys. But it really struck me when I opened our first store, that if I was going to make this work, I’d have to influence people and build a team that would follow the mission with me.
HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED ON THE MISSION?
With a lot of discipline and soul work! There was a point when our brand was starting to really take off, and it became vital for me to step back and reevaluate what I was doing this for. That’s when I started a new habit of waking up every day at 5:45am to spend intentional time on my couch to pray, read, and reflect. It was a very hard discipline to build, because I wasn’t a morning person at all. But that was a turning point for me in not making this company be all about me.
WHY IS THAT SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? TO NOT HAVE THIS BE ABOUT YOU?
For a lot of people, it’s enough to have a successful company. But my parents instilled in me the idea that I’m here for reasons other than serving myself. They celebrated my strengths, but also encouraged me to use the talents and gifts I’d been given to make the world a better place. I also know I can’t handle carrying the company’s successes and failures on my shoulders alone. For me, that means relying on God. So in my morning couch times, I ask God to have ownership of my day. That gives me the strength and confidence to handle the letdowns and mistakes of the day, and it lets me focus on something bigger than myself.
HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT TEAM BUILDING?
I start with the assumption that everyone, including myself, is imperfect. That actually helps me build community—because then I go looking for the jewel in each person. I love to find people’s strengths and build a team from them. I know nobody is perfect, but I get over that because everyone has something in them that can add greatness to a team. So my attitude is, “let’s find the greatness and do something with it.”
As soon as people can let go of the fear of not being perfect, they can actually get stuff done.”
SO YOU’RE A FAST-RISING COMPANY CREATING A CULTURE THAT OWNS THE FLAWS IN PEOPLE. HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
I vocalize it a lot: that it’s alright to be flawed, but that I see an awesome thing in you I want to bring out. We’ve built a leadership team that stays true to practicing that kind of authenticity. It can be a hard mindset shift for people, and there are some who will never be comfortable in this kind of environment. But when people get it and feel safe, they love it. As soon as people can let go of the fear of not being perfect, they can actually get stuff done. To lead that way is good for people, because it lets them be more authentic. But it’s also good for business, because it creates a culture of learning and striving.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THAT BALANCE AS A LEADER?
I wrestle with the question of confidence myself every day. I think women have been trained by culture not to want to talk about their success. It’s sometimes easier to be vulnerable than to own your success and be proud of what you’ve done. Women are hard on each other, too, in ways I’m not sure men are. I’ve heard really harsh criticism from other women, and it can make me question whether it’s alright to talk about my story or successes. So I focus on my intent: am I telling this story because I want glory for myself or because I want to encourage others? If I examine the intention and I’m confident it’s pure, then I can share the story. It’s keeping the bigger mission ahead of me that keeps me confident that way.
I also want to help my team keep a healthy balance of confidence and vulnerability, too. I actually spoke strongly to someone on my team recently because she was talking herself down in ways I thought were wrong and unhealthy. I told her she couldn’t talk to herself that way. She said I was right. I think it showed her how much I care about her, and how important her confidence in herself is to me.
To lead that way is good for people, because it lets them be more authentic. But it’s also good for business, because it creates a culture of learning and striving.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGER MISSION?
The mission originally was to create a store that would help moms look and feel good. That was the business concept, and I was savvy enough to know it was a good emotional hook. But it became a much deeper mission as I started really pursuing it. As a mom, I came up against this fear that if I decided to pursue this company, I would ruin my kids. But in the 10 years since diving in, I’ve realized that the opposite is true—kids need to see their mom living her passions. That’s a gift to her children. With that realization, my mission became much more than helping moms look cute; now it is about encouraging moms to follow their dreams because it’s good for their kids, too.
As a mom, I came up against this fear that if I decided to pursue this company, I would ruin my kids. But in the 10 years since diving in, I’ve realized that the opposite is true—kids need to see their mom living her passions. That’s a gift to her children.”
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THAT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR OWN KIDS?
It isn’t the glory of a successful company that my kids have witnessed. They’ve seen me crying, scared, frustrated, trying to figure something out, taking risks, practicing a speech in my room 20 times because I’m out of my comfort zone. My daughter is so much more fearless than I was at her age. She knows how to lean into her fears, because she’s watched me do it. I think that’s the ultimate story of me starting a company: my daughter is more fearless because she’s seen her mom lean into the hard stuff of pursuing her passion. I want to see that be true for more moms and kids.
My daughter is more fearless because she’s seen her mom lean into the hard stuff of pursuing her passion. I want to see that be true for more moms and kids.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A MOM WHO ISN’T CALLED TO START A BUSINESS?
I had a woman tell me recently that she loves walking dogs. I told her that her kids needed to see that. Your dreams don’t have to be starting a company. It is a gift to those kids to see their mom doing something that doesn’t revolve around them! So my advice is, pursue your passions and come alive doing things you love.
DOES HAVING A MISSION MAKE YOU A BETTER LEADER?
Leadership in itself is hard. Take the mission out of that, and you’re just dealing with tasks, a job, and a lot of imperfect people. But when the intention is to make the world better by bringing out the greatness in someone on my team or in a mom who has dreams to follow, then I can zoom out and get through the challenges. I deal with rejection on a daily basis, and without a driving mission that’s larger than a single day’s wins and failures, I wouldn’t be strong enough to pull through the hard things.
I deal with rejection on a daily basis, and without a driving mission that’s larger than a single day’s wins and failures, I wouldn’t be strong enough to pull through the hard things.”
WHAT KEEPS YOU SHARP AS A LEADER?
I read a lot. Since every day brings a new challenge or experience, I’m so eager to read the stories and wisdom of people who have gone before me. As a leader, the question I’ve run into is whether what I learn needs to trickle down to my team as well. I used to feverishly recommend every book I read. But now I’m much more interested in making sure people are reading the books they need to read for their own personal missions and challenges. As a leader, I don’t need my team to go on my journey with me; I want them to go on their own.
IF YOU LOOK DOWN THE ROAD 5 OR 10 YEARS, WHAT DO YOU HOPE WILL BE TRUE OF YOU THEN?
It’s my life mission to do whatever I can to help moms recognize the power they have to influence the world, and to encourage them to share it with their children. Thousands of moms come through our doors every day—and I want our stores to be ambassadors to them, nudging them to believe in and remember themselves. That’s the mission that gets me out of bed every morning.
Experience Evereve’s mission to empower moms to be fully alive.