For Nina Faulhaber and Meg He, a day around the world is never quite the same.
CREDITS: SHOP ADAY – PHOTOS BY Bridget Badore
In fact, much of their personal and professional motivation comes from a place of endless curiosity. The founding duo behind ADAY, a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand, have built their business with a premise for championing the extraordinary. They characterize ADAY’s community as being “built of women all over the world with a thirst for knowledge, challenge and a step above the ordinary.” In doing so they’ve worked hard to create a timeless, versatile collection of clothes to cater to the woman who is on the go, and then some. As Meg stated in our interview below, “By combining contemporary design, with the most technologically advanced fabrics, and manufacturing at the world’s most innovative factories, we aim to seamlessly mesh together the worlds of activewear and contemporary fashion.” In blending these two important aspects of our lives, we weren’t surprised to learn that ADAY’s values are also deeply rooted in travel; both co-founders attribute much of their personal and professional growth to living and working in many major cities throughout the world.
Now based in New York, the brand also has strong ties to London, where we first had a glimpse into the day-to-day of the team at Nina’s home and ADAY’s dual office. Fast-forward to today’s story which features our recent visit at their new office, located in the heart of Soho. The space itself is adorned with historical treasures, fun foliage and of course, the latest sartorial workings from ADAY. Amidst the buzz of activity, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the team, whose unwavering focus and sincere camaraderie truly made for a dynamic environment. Naturally we were thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Nina and Meg to chat more about what it means to be active, the intersection of wellness and design, and the power we hold with our personal style. Discover more of our afternoon with ADAY (in both London and New York!) and enjoy a few snapshots captured by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.
I’m Nina Faulhaber. In life I value friends and family, community,
creating things, exploring the world, impacting change for the better, mental and physical health and inspiring others to live a healthier and happier life. I love to surround myself with inspirational people who value similar things and help each other grow so many of my friends happen to be entrepreneurs as well such as Jen at AWAY, Kate at Vinaya and Emily at Blaze. As a child I was a competitive gymnast and I spent most of my life being active in different sports from athletics to snowboarding, so as a grown up now I sincerely enjoy getting up at 6:30AM for my morning run over the Williamsburg Bridge. I’ve lived in Frankfurt, Montreal, London, Singapore and New York and my travels that had most impact on me was backpacking through South East Asia whilst living in Singapore. So I guess I’m something like an athlete and world explorer at heart. I’m also hungry to constantly learn, currently most into neuroscience and physics. I value ownership of time to create space for things that really count and I want to put smiles on people’s faces.
How would you characterize the ADAY community and how do you hope to see it evolve?
NF: The ADAY woman lives life on her terms. She’s present, she’s smart, she lives a happy-healthy life and she follows her passions – but her most scarce resource is time. She follows her passions both professionally and privately, works out and loves to explore new places and things. She never knows what each new day brings and her clothes to fit the bill for all kinds of environments. Our community is built of women all over the world with a thirst for knowledge, challenge and a step above the ordinary. Within time, we hope to inspire other individuals to also live a life full of creativity, health and impact.
As an online and direct-to-consumer brand, we’re excited to do a lot more experimentation with our community with pop-ups and offline experiences. We just moved into a space in SoHo and will be hosting fortnightly open studios where friends and customers can come visit, see, talk and feel our products. We’re also doing a pop-up at Platform in Los Angeles, CA in March, where we’re running meditation events, talks by people who inspire us and hosting workouts with a few NY based studios – which we hope will allow us to connect with our community on a much more personal level. At the moment, a lot of our customers and community are from the US and UK, but we’ve received a huge amount of requests from all around the world, so next, we’re beginning to look at Australia, Canada and Germany. We’re very excited to bring ADAY to people everywhere.
I’m Meg He. I value learning something new everyday and also doing my best work.
Growing up between the UK and China, I went to college at Oxford and then lived and worked in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. California showed me an entirely new way of living — from my first yoga class, I ended up enrolling in yoga teacher training, running my first marathon and buying a road bike. When I started, I couldn’t do a single push up (even on my knees) and everything physical was incredibly difficult since I lacked a base level of fitness. This sums up my view on life — do challenging and hard things; don’t be bored. I love grabbing a small backpack and traveling around the world, from solo backpacking around South America to driving across central Asia. Each week, I read at least one new book and on my weekly long runs, I’m currently learning Spanish. Everything I do is geared towards doing my best work — I think we all have an obligation to the world to contribute our talents and figuring out what our potential is and how to get there.
Since launching ADAY how has your day to day changed – how has the brand inspired things about daily routines that you want to change?
MH: Before ADAY, our lives were about incorporating wellness when we had time — it was never high enough on the priority list, so there was a constant struggle with finding a balance between work, play and being active. Now, it’s about meshing these aspects together to work and play seamlessly, while being active. We work with a team of creative individuals; we inspire and challenge each other daily. Everyone in the team believes in being active, so when when we’re all working together at the office, we bounce of each other’s energy and creativity. So parts of our daily routine that ADAY has change include cooking team breakfasts in the morning and getting a run or a Muay Thai class before my first meeting.
We love that ADAY bridges the gap between active yet style-conscious women – Would you say part of the goal of ADAY is to show the important role style plays in making the most out of our days?
MH: Definitely. It used to be impossible for us to accomplish what we wanted to do, because our clothes we’re holding us back. Our calendar would change and an extra meeting or a dinner would be added in, making your outfit inappropriate and we’re all so style and socially conscious. We wanted clothes that could be worn anywhere, cut specifically for the woman on the go to allow movement, breathability and sweat wicking. Comfortable, beautiful clothing. We’re so thrilled when people write in and tell us that they wore their jumpsuit to Barry’s Bootcamp on Thursday and then to a wedding rehearsal dinner the next day. By combining contemporary design, with the most technologically advanced fabrics, and manufacturing at the world’s most innovative factories, we aim to seamlessly mesh together the worlds of activewear and contemporary fashion.
Do you have any style-related resolutions this year? How do you celebrate personal style?
MH: I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s pared down ownership ideas. I love consignment and vintage store shopping (online and offline, used to work at a preowned mobile fashion marketplace, Poshmark!). So one resolution that I’ve been trying for the last year and hope I’ll continue is to only buy things I love. It’s an ongoing hunt for beautiful clothing, which represents who I am, freely allowing movement and expression. The foundation of my wardrobe is ADAY (of course!) — our clothing are staples, which work in almost any setting. I pair it up with other brands which represent clean, modern living so my personal style reflects this, as well as pieces from my travels (a belt from Mexico, a hat from France, a scarf from Guatemala).
What role do you think creativity plays in some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think fashion is contributing to this shift in thinking?
NF: It’s huge. Progress is driven by creativity.
Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX are great examples where the vision and creativity of an individual has a huge impact on the world’s bigger conversation. I think our school system is antiquated when it teaches kids knowledge that’s easily retrievable from Google and views IQ and test scores as the most important measures of intelligence. Instead, schools should teach free thinking and creativity (I really love Ken Robinson’s TED talk on this). So fashion is a discipline that teaches creativity and to create something from nothing. I find this fascinating and we are taking this to the extreme as we are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within that. I think putting on clothes is a basic human need and I don’t see this changing at any time in the near future, so there’s a lot fashion and its inherent creativity can teach to the world.
What imprint do you hope ADAY leaves not only its respective industry but in modern living?
MH: Health and wellness is the foundation of what we do. We love encouraging individuals to make this a part (or a bigger part!) of their lives — being a bit more active, brings energy and focus so you can concentrate more on doing what you do everyday.
This can mean anything from chasing your boyfriend down the street to laughing and hugging your friend. As women, we are natural multi-taskers, so we hope to inspire women to be more fully engaged in whatever they do everyday.
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
NF: I’m inspired by all the things in my surroundings from bookstores and cute shops to running routes, previously around Shoreditch in London, and currently in my new Williamsburg neighborhood. I’m also majorly inspired by travels and places around the world. I was just in India for new years and loved this little place called GoKarna, Burning Man has inspired me, too. All in all I’m inspired by minimalism and simplicity so I don’t have to think about it throughout the day (from London, NYC) with a bit of a hippie vibe (from traveling).
MH: I’m most inspired by the city I’m in — when packing, I often ask myself, “what feels like New York” (lots of textured greys, blacks, chic, hats and scarves) or London (Alexander McQueen, brighter, crazier). I do a lot of solo travel and seeing all these things around the world affects my style line — I love accessorizing with earrings from Kathmandu, a ring I picked up in Seoul and a hat from Copenhagen.
To date, what are a couple of your milestone moments (both personally and professionally)?
MH and NF: Professionally, there were a couple. One, when we officially launched in June of last year. We began to work on ADAY in May 2014 and we launched our lifestyle guide Wander in January 2015, so to be able to have our official curated website and clothing fully available on a global scale was really great. Two, this happened the same day when we had our first customer service conversation, which is so rewarding. Three, one of our biggest fans and customers came to our popup at the flagship Topshop and we connected a face to an email address. The last milestone was when we had our single biggest revenue day in December with 600% growth versus our previous biggest day. Hopefully, many more to come.
MH: Moving back to London to support my parents when my father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, leaving behind a great job at a fast growing startup in the Bay Area, a beautiful apartment overlooking San Francisco and a very fast little car (called Thorsten!). Raising $15K for Myeloma UK (who supports research for bone marrow cancer in the UK) running the Berlin Marathon. That was painful and very rewarding. And, continuing to meet up with my women’s group from business school at least once a year, despite us living in SF-LA-NY-London-Tanzania. It’s been wonderful to see these friendships continue through heartbreaks and marriages and childbirth.
NF: Personally, there were two. One was when I decided I’d take the leap to follow my passion and co-build ADAY. The other huge one I’d say was when I shifted my mindset to an entirely empathetic and altruistic one. I started that process a long time ago in high school but really intensified it alongside starting ADAY. That shift is huge.