What’s southern and rhymes with awesome? A southern company that is much more than a great name.
Being in the south and a southerner myself, we find ourselves using the word, “ya’ll” every day. It isn’t just a word in the southern dictionary, it goes beyond. This is what Craig and Megan, the duo behind their fabulous online shop, Y’allsome wanted to express and did just that by launching their lifestyle brand of hats, tee shirts and bags – all while giving back to their roots. Both are from the Carolinas – Megan from Charleston, Craig from Charlotte – and both even lived in NYC, but it wasn’t until crossing paths in Los Angeles that they met through a mutual friend and married a year and a half later.
And in true southern fashion, I had the opportunity to interview Megan and Craig about their company where I used the word ya’ll frequently and sipped enjoyed a glass of sweet tea.
Why did y’all want to start this company? How did you come up with the idea of Y’allsome?
Being Southerners that had lived over a decade in NY and LA away from the South, we missed many things about our home. Y’allsome became a way for us to creatively express this and start a business that gave back to the place we are both passionate about and to the culture that helped make us who we are today. Additionally, it was a great way to help a cause that was near and dear to our hearts, foster kids. Given both of our backgrounds as a personal stylist (Megan) and Creative Director/Designer (Craig), a lifestyle brand made sense and was what we wanted to create. The name was actually born in Craig’s head before we even knew exacly what this new thing would be. As discussions evolved, so did the brand.
Where are y’all located?
Well that’s a funny story. We have been back in Los Angeles for two years, which is where Y’allsome actually began (in our garage). We are in the process of moving to Nashville to get back to our roots and breathe true Southern life into the brand. We can’t wait to be on the ground there in a couple of months, and feel like we’ll be able to take Y’allsome to the next level. It’s been quite a challenge creating a Southern brand in the land of Hollywood, but it’s made our trips back to the South for festivals and to see stores that carry our products that much more meaningful.
I love that y’all help support southern entrepreneurs and the local business. Why is this so important to you to support the south’s emerging businesses, designers, mills, etc?
We have always been passionate about ideas that have the power to change things and help people. Using southern businesses to make our products was not an afterthought, or something that was tacked on, it was actually part of the idea and the brand as a whole. We wanted to help support the people and businesses who make the South so special and really create a company that we felt like did things the right way and was socially responsible.This was vital to us.
Who oversees the product development process? How do you decide what items are chosen to be sold online and which ones are eliminated, what is that process like?
Craig: I’m the Creative Director and handle the product designs, development and vendors that we work with. Megan runs the business, retail, and PR side of things, but no decision is made without the two of us. We are constatly working together to shape the vision of Y’allsome from what new products we want to roll out to how we should function as a business. Since we both have demanding full-time jobs in addition to Y’allsome, it’s definitely a two person job and we rely on each other.
Specifically, choosing items and designs is about having a balance between a lot of different things: Individually, is the design/product true to who we feel like we are or want to be? Taken as a whole, does the product line show some diversity within the items so that each product isn’t simply just a copy of another item done in a slightly different way and color? Does this make sense for the target we feel like we are going for? All of these desicions are part of our process and it sure is great having two of us to help make those decisions!
I also adore the aspect of giving back with the purchase of every product. Why is this area of charitable giving important to you?
Craig: When I was in grad school for advertising and design, I did some pro bono work for an adoption organization that a woman named Bridgette Bradley was starting. It was there I learned about the plight of foster kids and was immediately drawn to it. Then, when I met Megan I was amazed to find adoption and foster kids were also something she was incredibly drawn to. So years later when we decided to create Y’allsome and knew we wanted to make a cause integral to it, our passion for foster kids seemed like the right fit. We don’t have kids (just an adopted pup named Hawk!) so we feel like all these kids are ours!
Do you participate in any Southern events, showcases or fashion shows with Y’allsome’s goodies?
We have sold our products at a few Southern food festivals so far, and have more lined up over the rest of this year that we are excited about. We plan to do pop-up shops once we move to Nashville, and we want to put together a big fundraiser for foster kids at the end of this year as well. Like we said earlier, the festivals have been very personally satisfying for us since we have been disconnected from most of the folks in the South that like what we’re doing. It’s great to see people’s reactions to the brand first-hand! So stay tuned.
What did you do in NYC? How did you like working in NYC?
Craig: I was a Creative Director in advertising and Megan has her own company as a personal wardrobe stylist. We love New York. It will always hold a special place in our hearts. Working in NYC is always a grind but it’s one of the most creative cities in the world. There is constant inspiration there for both of us, and I think the influcences we got there (and LA) show themselves in Y’allsome by us not presenting things in the same ol’ cliche way.
If you can choose a celebrity to be the face of Y’allsome, who would you choose and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one. We’re honestly not sure of a specific one, but here goes!
When we created Y’allsome, we wanted to create something that represented a new type of Southerner (one like us) that wasn’t necessarily too preppy or too country. We saw in our mind progressive-thinking entreprenuers in emerging cities like Charleston and Nashville who were blazing their own trail and creating an entirely new South. For this reason, we’d probably say Scott Avett. He fits the bill of all these things plus (and maybe most importantly), he is giving back to his community through the Elma Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord, NC. Which is totally Y’allsome! And did we mention his music?
I love the Duffle Donation ya’ll have created which is for every bag that is bought, one is given to a foster child with their name written on the tag so they have a place for their belongings. That is so touching and beautiful. How did this idea become a reality? Can you walk us through the process of idea, creating and designing to production?
In finding out the horrific truth that foster children are given trash bags by the state to move from home to home, we wondered how we could help them. The duffle bag donation seemed like a great way for us (and others) to see a direct, tangible benefit. We knew we didn’t have the bandwidth (and ability) to make the duffle bags ourselves (maybe one day) so we sought out various duffle bag makers that made quality bags at a decent price so that it didn’t cost too much for someome to donate a bag. Since then we’ve had people reach out to us about helping out, from delivering the bags to foster homes to a company that’s offered to mongram kids names on the bags for free!
Will we see a brick and mortar anytime soon or down the line?
Down the line for sure. That’s our dream!
Where do you see Y’allsome down the road in 10 years?
In 10 years we’d like for Y’allsome to be an established brand that is synonymous with items that celebrate Southern culture while actually giving back to it. We want to be a brand that is able to provide a conscious consumer with an array of quality lifestyle products that tell a story, as each has been created using a different Southern artisan in a different state. For us personally, we want to be able to have the structure in place as a company that will allow us to focus more and more on the charitable aspects of Y’allsome, specifically working with foster kids.