Aday, a tight online collection of multipurpose apparel made from technical fabrics, is embarking on a seven-city pop-up tour to introduce the brand to new customers while using the performance of the temporary shops to gauge the viability of permanent stores.
A pop-up at 268 Elizabeth Street bows Tuesday and will operate for four months. “In New York, we already have demand,” said Nina Faulhaber, Aday’s cofounder. “It’s very likely that we’ll open a permanent store in NoLIta. We also like Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the Upper East Side. We think we’ll open five stores within the next year.”
Aday’s pop-up timeline calls for shops in San Francisco, July 13-17; Los Angeles, July 20-25; Portland, end of July, and Chicago in mid-August. A pop-up will bow in London in late August, followed by Stockholm in September.
Aday’s rallying cry is simplification. “We’re simplifying a lot of women’s wardrobes and creating simplified pieces,” Faulhaber said. “They invest in certain items and are rethinking the way they’re purchasing clothing. In a way, we’re promoting thinking about the perfect piece. By buying our Brakes On Leggings [$95], you can replace three leggings in your wardrobe.”
With under 30 pieces, each geared to several purposes, Aday encourages consumers to buy across the collection. “They buy a set of products. It’s versatile,” she said. “Before we design something we think about what it’s replacing in her closet and how can it reduce clutter in her wardrobe.”
The company also considers how items will react to travel and being packed in suitcases, and seeks to solve problems for customers.
Alexis Cuddyre, vice president of brand and creative, said she previously wore lots of silk, which made her feel hot in the summer. Aday created a high-stretch Elastane fabric that’s machine washable and pill-resistant. “And it drapes beautifully,” Cuddyre said.
Aday redesigned the classic dress shirt in Nylon and Elastane with a mandarin collar, bonded sleeves and hem, side slits and a relaxed fit, $125.
Faulhaber said Aday doesn’t introduce as many new items as other apparel brands because it hopes its items have lasting appeal. “We want each style we launch to become a staple piece. We use superhero fabrics,” she said, referring to technologically advanced fabrics with features such as thermoregulation and wrinkle release. “We’ll be growing and bringing out new styles, but in a much more thoughtful manner [than other apparel brands].”
Faulhaber, a former competitive gymnast in Germany, met her partner, Meg He, who was born in Beijing, when both worked at Goldman Sachs, the former in London with the natural resources M&A team, and the latter, at the U.K. M&A team’s investment banking division.
Both women have a strong interest in technology. After leaving Goldman, Faulhaber joined Index Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in consumer Internet and B2B enterprises. Working there, Faulhaber said, inspired her to start a company.
He meanwhile joined venture capital fund Atomico, which invests in innovative technology companies, earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and joined Poshmark.
As their careers took divergent paths, Faulhaber and He’s conversations kept returning to apparel and how the market lacked solutions for active, working women.
The formerly non-athletic He had a moment of recognition in Silicon Valley when she was introduced to yoga and hiking. “She was surprised by the activewear, which had a lot of spandex and screaming logos,” Faulhaber said. “We kept speaking about the clothing industry and how we found it very segregated, with activewear bearing no relation to workwear. We wanted technical features but wanted it very wearable.
“We’re creating the model of the future,” Faulhaber said. “We’re connecting the best of all worlds with pieces you can do anything in.”
Faulhaber said she feels a sense of accomplishment when a customer tells her Aday helped save her time in the morning.
The pop-up shops will feature programming and activations. A cocktail party Tuesday kicks of the events in New York. On Thursdays happy hour and simplifier sessions will include Q&A sessions with female entrepreneurs; Fridays from 9 to 10 a.m., complementary breakfasts courtesy of Daily Harvest; Group run and shadowboxing, followed by Kind Bar snacks, Saturdays, 10 to 11 a.m.; July 20, neighborhood shopping block party.
Simplifiers in Residence, every month through October, will offer like-minded brands chosen by Aday, such as Bukvy, a Swedish handbag brand that can be worn five ways.
Aday, which launched in 2015, originally raised $1.1 million with angel investors and funds, including Leslie Blodgett, former ceo and chairman of Bare Essentuals; Venrex, consumer fund that’s invested in Charlotte Tilbury and Just East, and Nicolas Santi-Weil, founding partner of the Kooples.
Faulhaber said the company is closing a new round soon.
“We wanted to launch direct to consumer first,” Faulhaber said. “We find that’s the best way to tell our story and connect to our customers. We used the site to explain our vision.
“Now, we want to make sure we meet our community and connect quite deeply,” she said. “In New York we built our community very carefully. After two years, we’re opening our first store.”