How to Bet on Yourself & Supply Your Own Yes: An intimate conversation with Reese Evans, Founder of Yes Supply
Less than two years ago, Reese worked at a retail job.
She spent her mornings scrolling through Instagram comparing her life to other people and not feeling good enough. She worked long shifts, that felt never ending. And, she just wasn't happy.
Life hadn't turned out the way she had imagined it would. She graduated college thinking, like most of us, that she would jump into her dream career. And, like most of us, that didn't happen.
She faced rejection after rejection from job after job. Until one day, she decided that if an opportunity would not come to her, she would create an opportunity for herself.
That's when Yes Supply was born. In just a little over a year, Yes Supply has grown tremendously. With more than 16,600 followers on Instagram and a dedicated community of ambitious female creatives and entrepreneurs in her Yes Supply Collective, it's hard to believe that Reese just started.
But, it is true. Reese decided to bet on herself and supply her own yes. The day she made that decision, she never looked back and the results have been incredible.
Reese Evans gave us an hour of her time to discuss how she learned to stand out and stand apart, how she stopped caring what naysayers think, what she thinks entrepreneurs and creatives could do to follow her path and so much more.
Dive into our in-depth and intimate interview with Reese Evans, and learn more about her story.
You often talk about how you used to live an unfulfilling life at a job you hated. At what moment did you decide enough was enough? Could you describe that epiphany?
That epiphany moment happened when I was working at my old retail job. I had been working retail for a while.
I was balancing my retail job while working as stylist and in school. I assumed when I was done with school that I would be able to jump right in and start my dream career. Kind of like how everyone who’s in school imagines their life would go.
It didn’t quite work out like that. So, I stayed at the retail job. The money was good. I liked working with people and I liked being around fashion.
But after a while, I was like “I can’t do this anymore.”  I wanted to be creative and I learned a bit about marketing in school. I also built my own website for styling and I was getting clients. I just knew there was so much potential for me to use my creativity and I was only using 10% of my brain at my retail job.
I was job hunting for a long time and I knew the kind of job that I wanted but I wasn’t having any luck. Either I was sending out resumes and not getting interviews or I was going to interviews and, for whatever reason, the job wasn’t the right fit or I wasn’t the right fit for them.
At one point, there was even a job that I really wanted. They interviewed me. I made it right to the last interview and they asked me how much I wanted. I would’ve been happy to make anything to get out of my retail job and start a new career, but I just estimated a figure. They came back to me and said it was too high. I was really frustrated because I would’ve been open to negotiating.
Going through that and continuously working at this job that I didn’t love, I just knew that I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose. I’m not saying retail is bad, I’m just saying that I knew what I was capable of doing. It’s really frustrating when you’re in a 9 to 5 job or retail job and you see people doing amazing things and you know that you could do that too, if you just had the chance.
So, after a while of job hunting and not being able to find anything, I had this epiphany moment. I remember being at home in my living room. I had just finished a super long shift and I was just kind of sick of everything. I just said, “You know what? If I can’t find a job I love, I’m going to create one.”
Immediately, I just had this moment of inspiration. I grabbed a notepad and I just started writing out all the things that I liked to do and all the things that I thought I would be good at doing.
In that moment I decided if no one else is going to give me the opportunity, I’m going to make the opportunity for myself. I was sick of waiting for other people to hand me an opportunity. I just decided that I’m going to figure it out, I’m going to do it.
I wrote down all the stuff that I liked to do. All the stuff that I felt like I was good at. All of the things that were important to me. The mission I wanted to share and the impact that I wanted to make.
It was crazy because as I was writing down the ideas, I felt like the ideas were coming to me quicker than I could even write them down. It was almost like they were coming from outside of me. As though something was whispering to me, “You should do this and you should do that.” I was just so inspired. I couldn’t even keep up with all the ideas.
Just through writing all that out and brainstorming and mapping it out, that’s where I came up with the early idea for Yes Supply.
When you initially created Yes Supply, what was your original plan?
Originally, Yes Supply was just going to be a platform where I interviewed successful female creative entrepreneurs and got them to share how they did it.
To make my interviews stand apart from the other content that was out there, I would interview inspiring women who had created their own ‘yes’ in life and ask them to share not just the highs and not just the “Oh, I fell into this job,” or “I had a friend in the industry and that’s how I got in.”
I wanted them to also share the lows they had gone through to achieve their goals. The days where someone told them no, or the days where nothing worked out for them. It’s really important to expose that if you’re planning to start your own business or to go after your dreams, not every single day is going to be a walk in the park. But, that’s okay because it’s those tougher moments that make you stand out from the rest.
The people who don’t really want it or who aren’t prepared to make the impact, they’re going to give up the first time they hit an obstacle. That’s what makes it easier for the people who are really motivated and really focused to reach their dreams. They’re not going to let those one, two, or three obstacles or those rejections slow them down. They’re going to keep going. That’s what really makes them stand out and stand apart.
A lot of people want to start their own business, but they worry because someone else is already doing it or because someone else has already done it before and that it’s too competitive.
When you go off to do your own thing, don’t worry if you think it’s already been done or if it’s too competitive because you’re going to do it in a way that no one else can do it. Your story and your background and your reason for doing it is going to be different from anyone else.
If you’re that one person who’s not willing to give up, you’re going to stand out because even though you might see a hundred other people doing it, out of all those people, only a few of them are going to keep going when the going gets tough. You just have to make sure that you’re a part of the few.
When I was coming up with ideas, I heard a quote about how the most successful businesses and the best entrepreneurs solve a problem.
I remember before I even knew what I was going to do, I would get my then boyfriend (fiancé now) to daydream and brainstorm about the problems around us that we saw occurring often, and brainstorm on creative ideas to fix them. They didn’t have to be right, and they didn’t have to be good, but it was a great exercise to get your brain thinking in a different way.
Sometimes, what I wrote would make no sense and sometimes the solutions to the problems wouldn’t actually be marketable but it was actually a very good exercise to get the wheels turning. You get to use that part of your brain that solves problems and before you know it, once you get used to having that mindset, you will come across the right thing. You’ll think of that business idea or that blog post and you’ll know it will make an impact.
In just one year since the start of Yes Supply Co., you've been able to grow your brand tremendously. In what ways have the growth of your brand surprised you, either personally, professionally or both?
Sometimes you put out something that’s literally straight from your soul. Unedited, just raw thoughts, emotions and feelings. And, people respond to it. They feel the same way and they get it. That surprised me. I’m sort of like, “Me? The things that I think about are important or the things that I want to say actually help people?”
I always thought that I was an introvert, but now after a year of doing Yes Supply, I sometimes wonder if I may have just been someone who lacked confidence or who didn’t have direction, which may be why I felt like I was an introvert.
I really do love people and I love talking to people and meeting new people. Maybe I’m one of those in between introverts and extroverts; an ambivert.
When I came up with the idea for Yes Supply, I actually didn’t know that there was anyone else who was doing anything similar to Yes Supply. The only publications that I had seen that were dedicated to helping women or entrepreneurs were Entrepreneur.com, Fast Company and other well-known outlets. I didn’t know that there was anyone else really zeroing in on creatives.
So, I was a little shy about my idea. I had all these thoughts for articles and people I wanted to interview and questions that I wanted to ask but I was nervous that if I were to put it out there that no one would get it or that they would think that since it was threaded with so much positivity that I was cheesy. I don’t know why I was very nervous about people thinking that I was cheesy.
It’s so funny now looking back, it’s such a small thing. But, when you’re going through it and you have this idea and you’re so afraid to tell people, it just seems like the biggest problem in the world.
Because of this fear, I blogged on my own without telling a single soul about it for 3 months, maybe even a little bit longer than that.
I finally got the courage, to tell one of my girlfriends about it. I remember sitting with her at dinner and I kept thinking about how I wanted to tell her but then the conversation would move on and I wouldn’t. This was like my coolest friends. She’s just so cool and has tattoos and I just didn’t think she would be into it at all. I don’t know why I chose her to be the first person I told.
But, I told her and not only did she think that it was a good idea but also she said she wanted to help. She wanted to write for it and support me.
It’s one thing to have someone say, “That’s a cool idea.” But it’s another thing for someone to say, “Wow, I want to be a part of this, I believe in your mission and I think it’s really needed right now to have more communities that support women and that help them feel confident and powerful enough to create the life that they want.”
That was my first big surprise, seeing that one person believes in the same things that I believe in, and wants to help empower women and help them love themselves the way that they are.
Overall, my biggest surprise was that those little thoughts in my head that were just ideas are able to impact so many people.
Your email subscription, Good Morning Beautiful, has impacted so many women since you started it. What inspired you to start Good Morning Beautiful?
After a few months of growing Yes Supply and seeing a lot of really quick growth, people always ask me, “How did you do it?”
A big part of that was that I changed my morning routine.
When I worked in retail, I used to be in the morning routine of waking up and scrolling through Instagram for 30 to 40 minutes. Just doing that was so bad for my self-confidence.
You look at these other people and you’re like wow she’s beautiful, or she’s fit or she’s rich. It just makes you feel so inadequate and you feel so subpar. You start your day feeling like you hate your hair and you hate your clothes because you feel like nothing in your own life is good enough.
Plus, you start off your day late because instead of focusing on getting ready, making the best of what you have and thinking about your goals, you’ve just scrolled through social media. You end up just throwing on a sweater and going to work, not feeling great all day. It eventually turns into a cycle that influences your mindset.
Instead, I started to take control of my mornings and it helped me take control of my life. I would wake up and try to say something nice to myself, instead of saying something mean to myself.
Instead of saying that I hate my hair, I would be nice to myself, just like how I would want to be nice to a friend. I would also set one goal for the day. At this time, Yes Supply was still a side hustle while I was working full-time. I didn’t have a full day to dedicate to Yes Supply or a full week to build a website. I could just put in 10 to 30 minutes here and there
My big goal in mind was to create Yes Supply into this amazing community and blog. So, if I had one intention I would say, “Ok, today I’m going to spend 10 minutes writing a blog post, or 20 minutes fixing the header at the top of my blog post or I’m going to spend 30 minutes planning out a few Instagram posts.”
It seems so small but when you look back, I realize that those were important steps in the growth of Yes Supply, all took place from 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
Sometimes we don’t start on a new project or a new business because it seems so daunting or it seems like a huge thing that you have to accomplish in one day.
But, if you break it down into little steps it’s so much more manageable. I can honestly tell you that Yes Supply was created in 15, 20, 30 and 60 minute increments, whenever I had a bit of time. I was using my time to work towards what I wanted instead of wasting that time consuming too much content online or on social media platforms.
Since so many people were asking me how did I do it, I took that one ritual and I turned it into a daily email subscription. Anyone can actually sign up for a free trial to Good Morning Beautiful, and if you want to continue on with it, you can join the Yes Supply Collective and there’s lots more amazing stuff in the Collective.
By changing my morning routine, it really changed everything for me.
This year, my plan is to help Good Morning Beautiful reach one million women. There’s too many women who start their day looking at what everyone else is doing, without focusing on what they could be doing to make their own lives happier. At the end of the day, looking at someone else’s life is not going to improve your own life. You have to look inward and start making changes to see that impact.
It’s so surprising to see how this little change in my morning routine has turned into an email subscription that is shared with people all over the world. People have told me it’s help them get the confidence to be visible in their brand. Others have told me that it’s help them come up with a business idea and get focused. People have even told me that it’s helped them with their depression and it’s help them feel more positive about their day and life. People have also told me that it’s helped them manifest amazing things into their life that they never would have thought was possible.
When you change your energy and your perspective on things, everything changes.
You mentioned that you used to worry a lot about what people think. How did you get out of that mentality and how did removing that mindset help you better connect with your audience?
If you do want to grow your brand, really connect with people and help them remember you (over the thousands of other brands), you have to think about what’s going to make you stand out and stand apart.
If you set out to grow your brand by just doing what everyone else is doing, no one is going to notice you because everyone else is doing the same thing. You need to be brave enough to say the things that are on your mind and to say the things you think are really going to impact people. That’s what’s going to actually make you stand apart. That’s what’s going to attract people to you and help you grow your brand a lot quicker.
When I was first starting off, I was so worried about someone not liking my ideas but now I’m like, why focus on the people who don’t like it.
The people who don’t like it, they can go find someone else to follow. They can go find another platform to read.
When I’m posting now, I’m thinking of the people who need to hear my message. Now, almost every single time I post on Instagram, someone says, “Thank you, I need to hear this today” or “Thank you so much, this inspired me today.”
So, when I’m posting, I’m not worried about the people who aren’t Yes Supply because they’re never going to be Yes Supply and that’s just how it is.
I’m thinking about the people who really need Yes Supply’s message, who are ambitious, who want to create something out of their lives and who don’t want to feel stuck and in a rut like how a few years ago.
I’m thinking about the people who want to know what they can do, how they can get access to mentors and how they can join a community that will support them to get where they want to go.
I’m thinking about that girl I was growing up with low self-esteem and low confidence. I’m thinking about that girl who’s stuck in a retail job who’s folding her 1000th sweater thinking “Is this it for me?” Those are the people I’m thinking about when I post.
When you start to think about who you want to impact and when you just focus on them that’s how you can really connect.
You always have the choice. There’s always going to be someone who says, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.”
If you let someone tell you no or that they don’t like what you have to say, you’re just going to stay stuck in the same negative place that they are in. If you let the people that tell you no stop you, you’re going to be staying in the same place as them.
You have to raise up to an energy and success level where you want to be and you get to decide that. No one gets to decide that for you.
Look at Tyra Banks, Oprah, and Steve Jobs, they all experienced some type of rejection and failure. But if you take the first “no” that you get then of course your answer is going to be no.
That’s why my brand is called Yes Supply because you supply your own Yes. You have to know exactly what you’re asking for and a lot of people don’t know what they want.
They know what they don’t want, but they don’t know what they actually do want. If you don’t know what you want, then you can’t ask for it. You have to first know exactly what you want and then you have to start knocking on doors and asking for it.
If you do that, you will be able to figure it out once you know exactly what you want in your mind. But you won’t be able to get a yes until you start asking for it.
A few months ago you talked about how self-conscious you are about your under eye circles. That was extremely brave of you. As women, we all face many insecurities. What other insecurities have you had to overcome?
There are so many. I could probably relate to any insecurity because I’ve been through so many things that weren’t that good.
My mom was with an abusive partner, and I struggled with an eating disorder when I was in the modeling industry – until I realized that maybe I’m not the problem, maybe it’s the modeling industry.
But actually, a big insecurity I faced that I think can stop a lot of women from being successful is the feeling that what you have to say isn’t important or if you say something out loud you’re going to sound stupid or if you speak up that no one is going to agree with you.
Even now, I have friends who still work at my old job, who tell me about how they were in a meeting and someone asked if anyone has any suggestions and that they just stayed quiet.
A lot of times, we stay quiet because we just assume that if we say something, someone is not going to agree with us or that if we say something we’re going to sound dumb and be laughed at - but that’s all made up in our head.
There’s no proof that if you say something that people aren’t going to agree with it. We have to take pride in our ideas. We have to be sure of ourselves and know that we have years of experience. We have to know that we are very good at coming to logical conclusions and really thinking things out and able to see things from different perspectives.
A big thing that we do is that we have all these great ideas but we keep them to ourselves in fear. But we should embrace putting our ideas out there. We should embrace the potential that someone could argue with us and not agree with us. We should embrace the fact that maybe if someone doesn’t agree, we can debate them a little bit until they see things our way. Stop thinking that your point of view or your idea isn’t good enough, because it is.
Once you start putting yourself out there, of course not everyone is going to agree but since when does everyone have to agree with you? You just need to connect with the people who get you and those people will become your tribe.
I had to become brave enough to say what I really thought. You’re always going to feel fear the first time you have to say what you think in a public space but once you do it. You gain so much confidence because you realize that people listen to what you have to say. You realize that what you have to say is important and that it does have an impact.
As women, you don’t have to earn the ability to say something. You don’t have to worry about every single thing you say being perfect or every single thing you say being the best.
You could put out an idea that turns into a domino effect. Someone else adds to your idea and because you said something out loud in a room of a few people, you all come to an idea that makes the initial idea even better.
I’ve come up with amazing ideas just from brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of people. Whatever you’re thinking, don’t be afraid to put it out there. You’ll be really impressed with what can happen from it. Don’t think you have to do it alone.
As a fiancé, business owner and millennial, how do you find time to balance the various aspects of your life?
Still working out the balance, to be honest. I’d be lying if I said it was all perfect. I try to prioritize and separate the impactful things from the busy work.
For example, when a lot of people decide to start a business or a brand, the first step that they think they need to do is grow their social media. So, they focus on just growing their social media.
But, you really should figure out your strategy and your end goal. Social media is fun and great, but if you’re end goal is selling a product or selling a service, then step one shouldn’t be growing your social media. The first steps should be figuring out your product or service offering, figuring out your language and your copy to sell it and promote it, and figuring out how to get traffic.
One thing that I’ve learned through this year of building my own brand and doing one on one coaching, is that often Instagram isn’t the number one way to get traffic to your site and it isn’t the number one way to convert a fan into a customer.
Instead of trying to stay busy and making super long to-do lists, think about your end goal and figure out how you can get from point A to point B a little bit quicker.
If you’re able to do that, you might cut out a lot of the busy work.
When I first started on my own, I was doing a lot of busy work. I was getting really overwhelmed. I was trying to be everywhere at once and that wasn’t helping my business and that wasn’t helping me.
As a business owner, you have to put your mindset, your self-care and your happiness as high priorities because if you’re not in the right mindset you’re not going to be able to offer great services and you’re not going to be able to offer great products – especially, when you are building something like what I’m building. I’m a huge part of my business so if I’m not there, it’s not there either and I won’t be able to continue to help all the people that I want to impact.
Now, I’m helping myself find balance by thinking about my end goal and cutting the fat so I can really focus on the things that are going to help me impact the most people and help the most people, without getting too caught up in the busy work.
What is one practical thing you believe new entrepreneurs must do to successfully grow their business and brand?
One thing I think new entrepreneurs must do to successfully grow their brand is to really know who it is that you want to help.
It’s not about you so much as it is about your customer or your target audience. When someone comes to your social media platforms, of course they’re going to fall in love with you, but a big thing at the back of their mind is, “What’s in it for me?”
They’re always wondering, “How is this person going to help me with my goals, how is this person going to help me elevate myself so that I can get to where I want to be?”
This applies to any kind of brand. So, when you’re growing your brand you really want to understand the people you really want to help.
Don’t think that by understanding the one person you really want to help that you’ll be limited. It’s not going to limit you, instead it’s going to help you connect with them 10 times better. Really get to know their current struggles and figure how you can help them through your content and products. When you really know who it is you want to help, it’s going to help you build your brand.
If you want to grow your business and if you want to make money for being yourself, start being yourself in every aspect of your brand and all social media platforms. Your story is what makes you unique, no one else has your story. Be authentic. Speak from the heart. Be daring enough to say what no one else is willing to say and watch how you really connect with the person who really needs what you have to offer.
To grow your businesses as an entrepreneur, you should know the type of person you want to help and make sure that your product offering can actually make that impact. If you’re just building a business that does not actually impact or help your customers, that’s going to be a very short lived business. You’re not going to get testimonials, you’re not going to get word of mouth referrals, and no one is going to want to share what you’re doing because they are not seeing any benefit from it.
Make sure the copy that you’re using helps the person understand what it is that you do and how it helps them. And a big thing, especially if you’re a solopreneur, just one gal running the show, make sure you’re not trying to do everything on your own.
It’s very hard to do everything on your own. Set up systems to help you with the workload and to help you with a lot of the repetitive tasks. Delegate tasks.
One of the first things I did when I started to make money was hire a virtual assistant to help me with the repetitive things. As a business owner and visionary, you should be thinking about the next step for your brand. No one else can see that vision that you see. Anything that’s repetitive or behind the scenes, that’s not your job. That’s something that you should try to look to delegate, automate, or systemize so that you can focus on scaling and growing.
On your worst day, what keeps you motivated to keep going?
I created Yes Supply not even knowing that it was going to be a business. I created Yes Supply out of the things that I liked to do and the things that I’m passionate about so it’s very rare that I have a day that I’m not motivated, to be honest.
I am so passionate about my mission, I’m so passionate about helping women see what they are capable of and helping them remove those blocks and that voice inside their head that tells them that they are not good enough or that you can’t do it.
I want every woman to understand that if there is something that she wants and that she can visualize and that she’s asking for, if she gets the right support and the right mentorship and she’s ready to take action, she can make it happen.
I feel like I’m just a good example of that, I didn’t have any financial help getting here. I don’t have any crazy sort of education background – I have a diploma in visual merchandising.
We live in such an amazing time that you can get access to a lot of information that you need, just from your laptop or mobile phone. If you need access to business tools, you can Google it. You can sign up for communities like the Yes Supply Collective, which have lots of tips for growing your following and your online presence. You can get access to one on one mentors. I do one on one mentoring and there’s lots of other people out there who do that too. If there is something that you want to create, you can create it.
Since I built something that so aligns to who I am, motivation comes naturally to me. I really just encourage women to pick something that they have a lot of fun doing so it doesn’t feel like work.
You don’t mind putting in long hours or you don’t mind doing any of it because it’s all working towards that idea or vision that you had in mind. Every step you get closer to seeing your idea or vision become a real thing, it excites you. That excitement and energy keeps you going.
What's in store for Yes Supply Co. in 2017?
I want Good Morning Beautiful to touch a million women this year. I know it’s a lofty goal and to be honest, I don’t know exactly how I’m going to get there. But, Yes Supply is all about setting those big goals.
Why would I want to encourage women or set an example for women to set small, easy and achievable goals? I want us to set some big scary goals and then just watch as we crush them.
I have this big goal, because I think it’s so important for women to practice self-love and self-care. I want people to start saying nice things to themselves, instead of saying I hate my hair, I hate my clothes, and I hate everything in my wardrobe.
I want women to start thinking about what they really want out of life and to start taking the steps they need to take to get there. If you want to create something you can and I think Good Morning Beautiful is the perfect way for people to set up their days with the belief and the energy to really accomplish whatever it is that they want to accomplish.
Good Morning Beautiful is daily encouragement and an accountability partner that taps you on the shoulder and makes you remember your goals and what you’re going after. I’m really excited to hear all the amazing stories of women who just get so motivated from getting that daily morning nudge on the shoulder and who started to crush their goals. So that’s my big goal for 2017.
I also really want to start doing more events. I have people in the Yes Supply community, all over the world – literally in every continent, maybe except Antarctica! But there are people everywhere. I would love to get the opportunity to actually go and do more events around the world and actually meet people in person because I think that online communities are amazing and you can make some amazing connections, but meeting people in person is so special.
I’ve already done some events. I’ve partnered with Kit and Ace, a Canadian brand that’s a sister brand of Lululemon, for an event and I recently did an event in New York, where I spoke to a packed room of women, just talking about creating their yes. I think just talking about overcoming your fears and really going after what you want regardless of what anyone says, having a room full of people with the same vibe was just so special and so magical. I’d love to recreate that all over the world.
If you were inspired by Reese and her company Yes Supply, Join the Take Back Your Mornings Campaign and subscribe to her free 30-day trial of Good Morning Beautiful, where you’ll get daily morning emails to help start your day with positive vibes and affirmations. You can join the ambassador program and share it with friends. You can also visit her website, yessupply.co and follow her on Instagram, @yessupply.