Moving seamlessly from the gym to the office is a relatable nuisance most women can understand. Save showing up to work in a sports bra, we often have to be quick-change artists, moving from one setting to the other, many times with wet hair.
Meant to simplify a woman's life with timeless silhouettes, intelligent fabric (think: moisture wicking and wrinkle releasing), and “technical details" like secret cell phone pockets, Olympic-quality spandex seams and body-cooling side slits, ADAY is literally designed to bridge a woman's active and professional lives. Founded in June 2015 with just eight styles, the line has grown to include over 80, including comfy-yet-sleek cigarette pants, versatile tops, chic sports bras and multifunctional swimwear. “We are focused on simplicity and figuring out how to simplify our life," says ADAY Co-Founder Nina Faulhaber. “If you see any sci-fi film like Star Wars, they never change clothing. We wanted to make clothing of the future that could do anything."
The two founders, Faulhaber and Megan He, who met as investment bankers at Goldman Sachs, say they wanted to create a business focused on upgrading something women use regularly.
“After leaving Goldman, we spent the past couple of years in the technology world at venture capital funds and tech startups, and saw a lot of friends doing really cool things, but no one was really innovative in the industry we were most passionate about: the clothes we wear every day," says Faulhaber, who grew up as a competitive gymnast.
With the goal of creating “clothing of their dreams," the two set out to build a collection that would give women the flexibility and ease to go from work to working out.
"We wanted our clothing to last longer than our everyday staples - we needed them to be technical, beautiful, and sustainable," says He, who completed her yoga certification in California. "Ultimately, we got really passionate about what we think of now as 'clothing of the future.'"
The founders went on to say that when thinking of a distribution plan, they decided to stay as close to the customer as they could, so they launched on their site, selling directly to her. “A lot of the beginning was understanding what customers were saying," says He, adding that ADAY products are seen as innovative tech offerings more so than clothing. "Almost immediately we know what they loved or if something needed tweaking."
Despite launching ADAY in London, He and Faulhaber quickly realized that 90 percent of the company's revenue came from the US. The eight-person ADAY team packed up and moved to the company's headquarters to New York “leaving behind our families, significant others and pets to build ADAY and follow our dreams," says He. “We really looked at how to make clothing and started asking a lot of people for help. Over time, we were connected with some amazing factories and started to put in effect our vision." The company was aided by investors including former CEO and Chariman of Escentuals Leslie Blodgett, Cowboy Ventures, and Truestart.
“By simplifying your wardrobe you can simplify your life."
Technical Tailored Shirt
Priced from $60 to $165, the line, currently available in Australia, Canada, UK, Germany, Hong Kong and the US, is proving to be a fast favorite with consumers. Among its best selling products is its Throw & Roll leggings, which Faulhaber says kept selling out in just a few days. Now to keep up with demand, there is a “whole family" of leggings, in different colors and styles. “We use an Italian material fabric that is fully sculpted and bonded at every seam," says Faulhaber, adding that the brand introduces new styles every four to six weeks. “It's incredibly comfortable. It fits like jeans. Our leggings are by far one of the most comfortable items of clothing I own. I once wore a pair for four days straight!"
ADAY in a nutshell
1. Can you talk about the white space you saw?
With the Marie Kondo movement, so many of us learned to minimize our lives through prioritizing the possessions that sparked joy.
2. What was the first product you introduced? Best selling to date?
We started off with a seven piece collection, but our Throw & Roll Leggings were indeed the first piece we ever designed before ADAY was even incorporated.
3. What is your philosophy for all ADAY garments? The connective 'thread' if you will?
At ADAY, we have always been focused on three core pieces - to be technical, sustainable and seasonless.
4. What is your inspiration for design and new products?
In our design process we ask ourselves, what does the clothing of the future look like? We want to set a new standard for wardrobe staples, one that lasts through the seasons and focuses on versatility. We're allowing customers to consume less, which creates more focus on the things that really matter in life, rather than what to wear
5. Lastly, can you please describe your consumer.
Our woman is highly engaged and she's present, she's spontaneous, and she lives life on her terms.
In addition, to keep the brand relevant and approachable, the ADAY website is designed to speak to its clients like a friend would, giving specific sizing recommendations like “if you prefer to wear on the waist, or between sizes then size up." The overall tone brand feels high-tech but trustworthy and comfortable, say ADAY consumers.
“We're reimagining everyday seasonless staples."
“This brand had to be so much better than what was out there that it became a no brainer for women," says He, who hints at a new collection and pop up store later this year. “We created ADAY because it didn't exist and we thought it should. When we make a white shirt, it should be your staple but if you want to go rock climbing in it you should be able to. Suddenly, you became free of all your restrictions. We saw a lot of fashion companies creating hundreds of thousands of styles. We wanted to just focus on the classics and make everything better."
To be sure, part of the ADAY legacy, for both founders is its ability to become a staple; a timeless closet companion that truly offers its wearer peace of mind, as well as a sense of sustainability.
“We created ADAY because our clothing restricted us; our wardrobes were beautiful, yet so specialized," says Faulhaber. “By creating better and longer lasting clothing, we also eliminate the need to replenish wardrobes every season, a conscious impact which we think about a lot."
And the ADAY message is spreading. According to He, the brand has just launched its first pop-up shop on 268 Elizabeth St, NYC. Additionally, this summer the brand is on tour, and will be visiting LA, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, London and Stockholm to bring in even more fans and customers to the line.
Looking to the future, plans call for extensions into existing categories. “We recently launched our Technical Tailored and you can expect more in the technical daywear category very soon," says He, adding that customers can of course expect more leggings as well. "There will also be more garments that are as light, as easily packable and as easy to care for as many of the existing ADAY pieces. Also, we're getting a lot of demand for men's and adjacent categories too. Although we'd like to stay focused on women's clothing for a little longer, there's still so much to do here!"
And for those wondering what ADAY means, the answer is simpler than you might think.
“We were very bad at naming," laughs Faulhaber. "After coming up with all these options, we realized the ones we liked no one could spell. We liked ADAY because there is a time connotation. The brand reminds you that each day is an opportunity to create something or make an impact. So much of what we think about how to structure our life is in terms of what we can accomplish each day."
The Quick 10
1. What app do you use the most?
Meg: Telegram, the best messaging app in the world! It has stickers for all your long distance messaging needs.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
Nina: Shower and meditate.
Meg: Cuddle my rescue pup, Forrest.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Nina: Bill + Melinda Gates.
Meg: Angela Ahrendts.
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
Nina: Kindle, although my design would have been very different. :)
Meg: The S'well water bottle. Brilliant product – so simple, so effective.
5. What is your spirit animal?
Meg: Peregrine falcon.
6. What is your life motto?
Nina: I have a few: Be curious, build a life you don't need a vacation from, and make it simple but significant.
Meg: Do what makes your heart beat faster.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
Nina: Ice cream.
8. What's something that's always in your bag?
Nina: Lip balm.
Meg: My yoga tune up ball.
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Nina: Cambodia. So much history, kind people and chaotic beauty.
Meg: Uzbekistan. Remote, untouched, and wild.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
Nina: Journal and pen, water colors, and bkr water bottle.
Meg: Sunscreen, Anna Karenina, and an album of Chopin's Nocturne.
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.