Nearly 15 years ago, Megan and Mike Tamte decided to take a risk and chase a dream. They’d moved to Edina from California for many of the same reasons other families choose this community, primarily for its quality schools. But in addition to moving boxes, Megan brought a memory from Calif., one of a poor shopping experience, and the Tamtes wondered if they might be able to do it better—if they could create a retail women’s boutique that catered to moms without making them feel matronly. So they took a chance and opened their first shop at 50th and France. They called it Hot Mama.
Shoppers in search of great service and on-trend styles welcomed the concept and this local women’s retailer, now called Evereve, has grown to a $100 million business with 86 stores nationally and a stunning new corporate headquarters on France Ave. in Edina.
An educator by training, Megan had no retail experience, but is a voracious reader. So in the beginning, she marched into the Southdale Library and checked out books about how to open a clothing store. One was titled, Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results by Jack Mitchell. “His book talks about how to love those who come through your doors,” Megan says. “I followed [Mitchell’s] model and loved it.” Last year, Megan would phone Mitchell to say, “Your book worked!”
Megan’s learned a lot more over the years than just about running a retail business. She likes to share her experience with other women about how the Evereve concept evolved from life as a new mom to who she is today. She talks about the struggle to decide, “Do I take this giant leap of faith to follow my dream while raising kids?” Today she’s so glad she paid attention to the dreams of her heart and wants other women to be inspired by her story. “I encourage women to nurture who they are even as you fiercely love your family. The kids are fine.”
She goes on to explain that the work/life balance we seek, for her meant keeping tight boundaries and letting go of a lot of things. “I gave up trying to be the perfect mom with a clean house or mailing Christmas cards, etc. Our priorities were the business, faith and family. Nothing else.”
Just as things have changed for Evereve, life in Edina is changing for the Tamtes. The couple became empty-nesters this past fall. “I have fewer boundaries and more freedom,” Megan says. “We can go out to dinner and I can accept invitations to coffee,” things she felt she couldn’t do when focused on having a healthy family life.
The Tamtes are focused on giving back to the community that helped launch Evereve. “We want people to feel proud that there is a national brand [headquartered] here in Edina. The people here have been our biggest fans.”
If you haven’t shopped at Evereve in a while (which is unlikely since Edina Magazine readers frequently vote the shop as a favorite in our annual Best of Edina readers’ survey), you’ll discover that the company’s dedication to service now extends to a convenient clothing subscription service called Trendsend. The service launched a few years ago and provides local shoppers an opportunity to update their styles with outfits put together in store and shipped to your home. The emphasis, just as it was in the beginning, is on the human component. A personal stylist who is familiar with you and what’s in store is the one helping you look your best. You could say it’s a 21st century version of “hugging your customer.”