Evereve has tapped into something: new moms’ frustration with clothes shopping. It appears to be a lucrative market; Evereve’s sales are expected to reach $100 million this year.
The retailer recently launched “Dress Like a Mom,” a social media campaign that appears on Evereve’s web site and billboards in several markets. One ad features a model wearing a Michael Stars dress and Sanctuary bomber jacket, holding a baby while a little boy plays by her feet.
“It’s part of our effort to redefine what mom style is,” said founder and co-chief executive officer Megan Tamte. “I’m tired of moms getting a bad fashion rap.”
New mothers are often steered toward pants with elastic waist bands and oversize dresses and tops. “Women hide in large clothes because they think they’ve gained weight,” Tamte said. “Moms don’t need to hide. They need to be current and relevant. They can be bold. They don’t have to dress conservatively.”
At a time when department and specialty stores are closing units, Evereve is on track to operate 80 stores by the end of the year. Its e-commerce business is growing and it has a burgeoning subscription service, Trendsend, that each month delivers six to eight items, including tops, bottoms and accessories, selected by stylists. The retailer recently hired a designer to work with vendors and share information about customers with the goal of developing exclusive products for Evereve.
Tamte got the idea for a retailer dedicated to moms on her way home from a particularly disastrous trip to the mall 12 years ago. “I never in a million years thought I’d be leading a fashion company,” said Tamte, who had no prior retail or fashion experience. “I had this really difficult experience shopping with young children. I saw an opportunity, it was so organic.”
Tamte wanted to find styles that would “make me feel like myself again” after her pregnancy, she said. Instead, she left the shopping center in tears, feeling “a little bit weak, frumpy and powerless.”
While Tamte’s body changed after childbirth, the biggest change in her life was that she no longer had time for fashion.
“I felt that the marketplace didn’t deliver anything for me,” she said. “I thought there must be a lot of moms like me, who are busy taking care of families.”
Service is almost as important as style, Tamte said. “I wanted someone to hold my hand and say, ‘You’re tired and busy. I’m going to take care of you,'” she said.
In terms of sartorial considerations for moms, clothes can’t be too young, sexy or inappropriate, according to Tamte. “Being a mom is a responsibility,” she said. “But just because you’re a mom, that doesn’t mean you can’t be on-trend and modern.”
Evereve’s buyers weigh the key trends each season and decide whether to buy into something or pass. “The cold shoulder trend was great for moms,” Tamte said. “It’s a little of boldness, but not too much. The woman coming to our stores wants someone to help her and also challenge her. Our customers want to be dared a little bit.”
Evereve has been self-funded since its inception and has no debt. The company’s stores average 2,400 square feet in malls and downtown shopping districts. “We knew we wanted to build a national brand,” Tamte said. “We felt so passionate about the idea of moms taking care of themselves, we wanted to be part of creating a movement.”