5Q'S WITH ADAY: A Q&A BETWEEN WOMEN WHO'VE STARTED THEIR OWN BUSINESS
I was introduced to ADAY
1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?
Nina: Our first full time jobs was working at Goldman Sachs in Investment Banking. On the surface not much of what we learnt back then is applicable to designing a wardrobe that does more with less :-) That being said Goldman was not only the place where we met each other (so grateful for that). Goldman was also an excellent school to learn a strong work ethic, collaborative team work, excellent excel and presentation skills, and most importantly an attention to detail we still use every single day from everyday tasks to marketing to fundraising to creative work.
2. Was there a defining moment that made you start your business?
Nina: We started exploring the idea for ADAY because we found a need for it in our lives. I [Nina] had grown up as a competitive gymnast in Germany and wore a lot of active clothing, so growing up, my wardrobe always felt simple. As an adult, it didn’t feel simple anymore at all. I had a lot of stuff in my wardrobe and none of it seemed fitting for what I was looking for. As minimalists at heart, that didn’t feel right. Meg discovered the comfort of technical clothing in California, where she completed her MBA at Stanford and also took up yoga teacher training. It was the first time she’d explored the connection between mind and body, and suddenly had all of these questions around active fabrics, movement and living (this was the first time she had worn activewear regularly or actually sweated).
With that, ADAY was born. A fast growing direct-to-consumer brand creating a wardrobe of technical essentials, clothing that does more with less. We are setting a new standard for clothing by fusing minimal, seasonless shapes with technical fabrics, all made with a huge focus on simplifying wardrobes and sustainability.
3. What was the first step you took to launch your brand?
Meg: We received our first round of investment when the company consisted of only two Pinterest boards. We knew nothing about the fashion industry or the supply chain and the idea of holding inventory was terrifying.
We picked up some skills right in the beginning — Nina completed a short course in sportswear design at Central Saint Martins, and I [Meg] applied my travel photography background to art directing our first photoshoot.
Quickly, it became clear that what we wanted to create required specialist technology, only available in a few factories worldwide. So we started by making numerous phone calls to the appropriate factories - and they were unwilling to even begin a conversation with us. We talked to hundreds of people, eventually reaching the ex-CPO of Lululemon. She introduced us to a factory - they too, hung up on us. Again. Eventually, we bought two plane tickets, flew to Portugal and asked them for 30 minutes of their time. They ended up spending the whole day with us. The result? We became the first pre-launch brand to work with them (they also made Michael Phelps’ Olympic swimsuits). We’ve since built up a supply chain from LA to Portugal.
4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?
Meg: Everything was a bit of a challenge at first. For both of us, it was our first time doing anything like this. Our backgrounds were in technology, finance and venture capital, which is a long way from creating and designing better clothing, forming a brand aesthetic and voice, and hiring a multi-talented team. So our greatest lesson was quickly: Never be afraid to cold email or call. It has resulted in us finding fabrics, building factory relationships, recruiting talent and gaining mentors and investors. Our first freelance designer we pinged on Instagram - and our first full time designer who is still with us to date we pinged on Twitter.
5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?
[Meg]: It’s a LOT of work and a lot of stress, so make sure you know why you’re in it and how you find balance :) My pup Helix brings me balance and joy every day and I enjoy learning new things - most recently I’ve started practicing Jiu Jitsu.
[Nina]: I find it key to pause, reflect, and encourage your team (and oneself) to look back to all the successes we’ve realized along the way to shape the world we want to live in. I get up in the morning because I believe entrepreneurship is a catalyst to change - and the change I want us to drive is centered around our beautiful planet + happier people.