Yes, there are good things that make the news.
That’s one of the things about my job that gets old: all the bad news. It’s what I always hear from viewers as well.
Here’s an exception: I got to meet and profile a pretty incredible woman named Megan Evans as part of a series called “Women to Watch.” Read on (and watch the video) to hear her story, and also the story behind the story.
Megan Evans is one of those people you just want to be around. She’s smart, funny and charismatic. She draws you in. And then you hear her story.
Megan is one of the many women all over our growing city that are making a difference, in the business world, the community and in the lives of those less fortunate. Megan focuses on all of those aspects, all while fighting her own battle at home.
Megan is known for a lot of things: small business owner, publicist, stylist, image consultant, creative, advocate and volunteer, just to name a few. “My tag line was ‘celebrity style for everyday people,’ says Evans. Let’s start with that one: stylist. For Evans, it’s more than just picking out clothes for clients. “You make that first impression you step out of the door. I knew that I could help instill confidence in people which is what I became very passionate about,” she says.
But what Evans is known for, is not something you’ll find on her business card, it’s her grace. “I was told at 24 that I would end up in a wheelchair and I looked at the doctor and said, ‘No I won’t,” Evans remembers.
Evans held her head high when she was diagnosed with MS at such a young age. She showed that grace under pressure, is in fact courage. “I said that’s not going to be me that’s not going to happen, that’s not how I’m going to live my life.”
It’s been 14 years since that diagnosis, and Evans has been busy. She started her styling company, moved to New York then to Los Angeles, where she met her husband and they both realized they shared a passion for helping foster children. “It’s really horrible what they go through. The fact that they don’t have families to love them, it really just gets me,” says Evans. “The fact that there are so many kids out there who are given trash bags to move from home to home like a piece of dirt is horrible.”
In true entrepreneurial spirit, Evans wanted to do something to make a difference. For that, she went back to her roots in East Tennessee. “We were finding a way to connect back to the south and give back to it at the same time. It was always going to be a brand that would give back,” she says.
That’s when “Y’allsome” was born in their garage in Los Angeles. They sell t-shirts with catchy phrases like “Dolly is my Spirit Animal,” or “Boiled Peanut” on baby onesies. There are grits and gravy references, all rooted in grace: These southern goods actually do good, 10% of all sales goes to help foster kids, through the charity Heart Gallery of America. “Heart Gallery of America, what they do is they have photographers and videographers take photos and videos of kids up for adoption. It’s not just a case number, it’s a face to the name,” says Evans. “It actually has literally raised the percentage of getting adopted.”
But Evans and her husband, Craig, didn’t stop there. They also created custom t-shirts to raise more than $35,000 for Hurricane Harvey victims through the Red Cross and for families of the Charleston church shooting victims.
In case you can’t tell, Megan and Craig are the type of couple who, if they see a need, they do everything they can to try and help. “I’ve always said my husband makes me a better person. One of the reasons I fell in love with him he brings a smile to kids’ faces. He’s amazing with children,” she says.
Business is good, too. Y’allsome has donated more than $75,000 to various causes with no signs of slowing down.
The Evans family soon realized though, that Nashville was where they wanted to be. So they packed everything up and headed south. “It’s pretty amazing, the Nashville spirit. It honestly is.”
Nashville is their home, and for good reason. Their southern hospitality, entrepreneurial mindset and love for the less fortunate just fit in here. it’s amazing how many people are entrepreneurs, creative, give back, the fact that a lot of people rescue dogs here, it’s amazing. It’s amazing how many people are rescuing dogs and fostering kids. It’s an amazing community. That is a very common thread in Nashville,” she says.
Evans’ fight with MS is on-going, some days are better than others. “Fatigue is a big part of what I deal with on a day-to-day basis.” And a few days before our interview, Megan was in the hospital after losing feeling in the lower half of her body. “I went numb from here down. My hands are still numb now.”
But no matter what, she starts her day with a little bit of grace and a whole lot of strength. “My grandmother used to make us in the morning, she used to say, ‘OK, tell me about your day. We always started with I got up, I brushed my teeth, I did this or whatever and tell you about the rest of your day,'” remembers Evans. “Well that’s my thing. I gotta get up and keep going every day. Doesn’t matter. You just gotta get up.”
Megan doesn’t talk about having MS a lot. In fact this is the first time she’s opened up publicly about having the disease. She doesn’t want to be viewed differently or given special treatment. “We’re all carrying baggage we’ve all got our stuff,” she says. “I’ve been private about it overall. I didn’t want it to be about me. I didn’t want my business, my work with my clients, to turn into woe-is-me. It’s not about that. I’m there to help them.”
It’s that mindset that helps Megan power through the tough days and also plan for the future. She says this is just the beginning for Y’allsome. Eventually she wants to make it into a non-profit and host a camp for foster kids.
“We would love to help more and more kids. It does a lot to my heart. I don’t know how to express that honestly,” says Evans.
For more information about Y’allsome, click here https://yallsome.com/
For more information about Megan Evans Styling, click here http://www.meganevansstyling.com/about/
To learn more about the Heart Gallery of America, click here https://www.heartgalleryofamerica.org/