20. April 2016–
Lounging around, just hanging out or slowing down - that’s nothing for the founders of Aday, Nina Faulhaber and Meg He. The friends met each other after graduation at the investment bank Goldman Sachs. Late at night the two sat together in front of their computers, analyzed figures and built tables. "We immediately got along very well because we both had many passions outside of work, like traveling. We also talked a lot about the future and new ideas," Nina Faulhaber told me when I reached the founder in New York.
Born in Frankfurt, Faulhaber studied at the EBS in Oestrich-Winkel. After several years with Goldman Sachs, she joined VC Index Ventures in London. Responsible for e-commerce models, she saw many business plans and met many experienced founders. Her friend Meg went to Silicon Valley to study at Stanford University.
The two kept in touch and went on a search for a model for a common enterprise. The idea for their first label came to the founders after having to contend with the problem that many workers are familiar with: both spent many hours at work, but wanted to keep doing sports to stay fit. On the other hand, they didn’t want to lug a huge sports bag through the halls - much too impractical.
"As a child I was enthusiastic gymnast and even won the Hessen Cup," says Nina Faulhaber. "Sport has always been a very important part of my life, until it finally fell by the wayside at Goldman Sachs." As a consequence though, Faulhaber has had to deal with back pain. With this, she started to understand the importance of sports and balance in one’s daily life and thus also professional and personal success. Co-founder Meg discovered her passion for yoga while studying on the west coast, and eventually got a licence as a yoga teacher.
For Faulhaber and He, both 28 years old, a target was clear: they wanted to allow busy women an easy way to integrate sports into the everyday grind. In mid-May last year they got started. The result is Aday, a sportswear label, which is elegant and simple, so that it can be worn in the office.
The current collection, for example, includes plain black track pants with gold zippers for 95 US dollars. There’s also a shiny blue running jacket for 155 dollars. The bestseller is the "Throw & Roll Legging" in black or dark blue. The Cost: $125.
The special thing about Aday is that the individual pieces of fabric are bonded together, not sewn. This is a new technology, developed first by Nike, which means the finished garments are elastic and comfortable. Few factories are working with this technology. "We wanted to work with a producer in Portugal. Its machinery and expertise gave us the possibility to create completely new innovative designs," says Faulhaber. "At first, they didn’t want us. So we asked again and again, finally booked a flight to Portugal and pitched. After six months, they finally agreed.”
The founders first started in London. They collected a seven-figure funding round supported by numerous business angels, including several Germans. The founders didn’t want to comment on the revenues. However, each customer spends an average of 176 euros, they say. Previously Aday shipped only within the United States and England but is soon to be launched in Germany.
Meanwhile the team of Aday, which consists of eight women, commutes between New York and London. Aday has a small office with a showroom in New York's hip Soho district. "Our whole team moved to New York in October, because the majority of our customers are in the United States. Most innovation takes place here still. People are more open and up for challenging the status quo," says Faulhaber, referring to other New Yorker brands like mattress startup Caspar, whith whom they co-operate frequently. In addition, it was important to her that the team remains flexible. "In most cases, we are all together in the office, but our employees can work wherever they want. Many spend a lot of time in London. We think it is important that they take their lives into their own hands, that they control their own time and therefore produce not only great work but are also happy."
"Wherever the day takes you", is the motto of Aday. The target audience is women aged 25 to 40 years, spontaneous and flexible. The modern globetrotter. Stylish and successful. "Our customers do not strongly separate leisure and work and feel at home everywhere. They are often busy, but yearn for simplification, for tools that help them to navigate their lives better, so that they can spend their time with things that are truly important, " Faulhaber summarizes.
Nina Faulhaber and Meg He know their customers very well, because they themselves are their best customers.
This article was originally posted on Gründerszene.