Wednesday Wisdom with Meg He and Nina Faulhaber, Co-Founders of ADAY
We’re halfway through the week, and it’s time for a boost of inspiration to keep us going. Our #WednesdayWisdom blog series taps into the minds of industry leaders and disruptive visionaries who are working to build the future of entrepreneurship.
No doubt you’ve already heard of buzzy new apparel brand ADAY. The two-year-old fashion startup, founded in London and currently based in New York City, launched its popular leggings in 2015 (and quickly amassed a waitlist of 2,000). We caught up with co-founders Meg He and Nina Faulhaber to discuss global citizenship, breaking into the fashion industry, and how they’ve set ADAY apart from the rest of the pack.
1) Congratulations on raising your recent round of funding! Both of you have backgrounds in venture capital, and you met while co-workers at Goldman Sachs. How have you leveraged your finance backgrounds now that you are on “the other side” as entrepreneurs raising capital?
Thank you! We’re very excited about what we’re going to do with this fundraise. Our backgrounds in venture capital have definitely been beneficial to raising capital— however, seeing it on the investor side was just one part of the perspective, and being on the other side of the table as an entrepreneur is so much more multi-layered, dynamic and interesting. We’ve been so grateful for the entrepreneurs and investors we’ve gotten to know from our venture days, especially since so many have become big supporters of ADAY as customers, ambassadors and investors. The investor deck and the financial model is really just a small part of the entrepreneurship puzzle!
2) The activewear and athleisure space is exploding right now. How has that impacted the way you approach fundraising? How do you continue to set ADAY apart from competitors in this space?
Technical clothing (or athleisure or activewear) is the fastest growing segment of the whole fashion market, with a $282bn market worldwide today. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for both investors and entrepreneurs.
We don’t see ourselves as an activewear brand—our primary focus is creating exceptionally well made clothing that is sustainable, long-lasting and fully versatile, lifting the standards of all fashion and hence, creating the future of clothing. Our mission is much bigger than creating a great athleisure brand. Our aim is to simplify wardrobes with consciously designed, technical staples. We care about planet Earth and we’re serving the ADAY women around the world.
3) You launched your brand in London and spend lots of time traveling back-and-forth to ADAY’s studio space in New York City. As a matter of fact, you started ADAY out of a need for clothing that could pull double-duty as you traveled extensively for meetings. What does being a “global citizen” mean to you and your company?
A global citizen to ADAY is a woman who’s taking on the world. No matter where she lives and no matter how old she is, she has likely been to many places, and the best takeaway from that is that she is aware. She is a hustler, an actor, if not an activist. She follows her passion and impacts change. She lives consciously.
4) When you started ADAY, you set out to create the “wardrobe of the future.” How will your focus on technical, seasonless and sustainable fashion change the face of fashion over the next few years?
We think ADAY has the potential to have a larger impact on the ecosystem. We believe in versatility and longevity, a fresh perspective in the clothing industry (an industry known to be a large environmental polluter). Investing in versatile garments means getting more out of your wardrobe; investing in higher quality and long-lasting pieces eliminates the need to replace the wardrobe every season. We love that our clothing can have this kind of societal impact. We’re not against consumerism, yet we believe the future belongs to a conscious consumer.
5) Neither of you has a background in fashion design, and yet H&M is a new investor. What advice do you have for female founders looking to break into the fashion industry with little or no industry experience?
While neither of us has a fashion background, we were our own target group frustrated with the current options in apparel. Some of the best ideas come from people wanting to solve a personal problem. We didn’t know fashion, but we were the consumer which is just as important. When you’re looking to break into any new industry, the best advice is to ask a lot of questions, identify experts in the space and absorb everything you can.
Photo credit: Masha Maltsava