Under The Hood: Meg from Aday
Interview with Meg, the founder of Aday
Excited to be chatting with you today Meg. We have a lot to cover. Let’s start at the beginning. When did you launch Aday and how has growth been so far?
We launched Aday in 2015. We’re a sustainable women's apparel brand and we've raised over $10 million in venture capital. As entrepreneurs we think a lot about other entrepreneurs and how other people are doing, and there's a lot of kind of comparison to them. And increasingly I think that the speed at which a company is built really dictates the type of company that it turns into.
At the beginning it was leaps and bursts for Aday, and then a little more stuck during COVID. So I think for the first couple of years there were a lot of double balls. And then COVID hit just after we'd raised Series A and we were expecting lots of leaps and bounds, and the growth really got stuck around like, say 20, 25% year on year.
And we spent a lot of the money just trying to bring inventory back on the racks and, you know, really not crash and burn the company. And now we're back to June 2023 and we're profitable, and also a B corp!
I see so many of our competitors and our peers who have been bought up for peanuts versus their prior valuations, or they've been blown up, and especially in apparel with the complexity of sizes and colors, it’s hard to do this well. And for the type of company that we are building, where we do believe that we are changing the industry in terms of the fabrics that we are using, the type of manufacturing that we're doing, the factories we choose to work with, how we’re supporting people, and for our customers, it’s all very meaningful.
We plan to be around for a very long time. I care that we're going to be around in 10, 20 years time and that this is gonna be a beautiful company.
Awesome. Tell me a bit about the fundraising side of things. Did you always want to raise capital for Aday or is that something that just naturally came up in the process?
My co-founder, like me, came from a venture capital background. She worked at a fund called Index Ventures, and I had been dabbling in venture too. I was the first person at a fund called Cowboy Ventures, and I previously worked for a fund in Europe called Atomico.
So it just felt very natural to us because those were the people that we hung out with and the people who we knew wanted to create a D2C brand.
We had people who wanted to back us as people and were not so worried about what we were going to work on. So that felt very natural. I actually think with hindsight, we did very much the wrong thing. I would've raised a much larger dose of capital straight away, and we got trapped into the cycle where we never had enough money for either inventory or marketing.
It was always one or the other. And that was like a naturally disastrous combination because you need both. Sometimes I think we should have bootstrapped it, but for our model and for the sort of fabrics we wanted to invest in and the sort of people we wanted to work with, that wouldn't have been necessarily possible.
Let’s chat a bit about the different types of growth you’ve experienced. What have been some of the big drivers of change between explosive growth YoY growth at Aday?
Our brand persona is really a woman who's very driven. She's very mission oriented and very work centric across everything that she does. But she also travels quite a lot. A lot of our creative was based around travel, and that was one of our key growth drivers.
And obviously that all shut down during COVID. We just really didn't have any stuff that was featured at home because all of our, you know, brand personas were essentially around her going out there during the world, taking a flight and speaking at a conference, which happened very often for our customers.
During COVID, we really focused on just spending on repeat rather than acquisition or not spending at all. And so we were trying to conserve cash and trying to rightsize the inventory, and we needed to have time to do that and really improve the fundamentals of the business across the board, which is how we got to profitability as soon as we came out of the pandemic.
Nice. How about retention? What’s your go-to channel and do you have any specific insights as to what’s working so well for Aday in regards to retention?
I think retention is probably the part where we have the most opportunity to do work. So email definitely works. SMS definitely works. I think we haven't cracked the product affinity yet.
There's definitely space to understand, based on what you put in your first basket, what do you then do with your past second basket? And we haven't done a lot of work there.
I think that there are two things which stand out. One is the customers who you lose, right? So they don't ever get onto the emails, they never get onto SMS, and I think there's a certain amount of encouragement that you can do to get them back. Specifically we’ve seen direct mail work really well for them.
And the in-package catalog does pretty well for them to just kind of stay in the home. And then the other thing is adding a gift into the first basket, we've found that to be really meaningful.
On the acquisition side of things, what’s driving Aday’s growth? Is it largely Meta?
Yeah, I think like many people Meta is definitely a big part of it.
For us it's really an understanding of the brand personas. And then how she likes to live her life and what are the sort of words and ways that we can understand her better and lean into her world and her language. So we do a lot of testing.
Adding 20x the amount of creative that we put through the funnel has been super helpful. And I think that's the same for everyone else. We've only really just started to dabble on the landing page journey, and I think that's been hugely helpful too. But to me, I think this is all about really how much do you understand your brand persona and who your customers are and why they buy your product?
We also do actually decent other offline advertising in various newspapers. Particularly the large national newspapers that are run. I think especially if you can match the right person to the right audience, that can do very well.
Let’s talk about your tech stack. What tools does Aday use and what are some of your personal favorite tools?
We use Shopify Plus and Klaviyo. On the data side, we use Looker and Daasity but we're trying to migrate to something more simple and hopefully more powerful. We tried a bunch of attribution tools, but it was a bit hit or miss.
Awesome. And our last question. It’s so hard to get to the point you’ve achieved here with Aday - what has been the biggest driver of your success so far?
I think our culture is very authentic and we have very strong core values embraced by every single person in the team. And everyone's very mission aligned and mission oriented.
And I think having that vision of why we're here and why, you know, we're doing this and why we're succeeding at this and when we succeed, why is it better for us, for our teammates, and also for the world that is a big part.
It matters so much to us. Every time a customer writes in and they're like, wow, I was so blown away by this. You know, I just wore this shirt three days in a row.
But really it's not about clothing. It's the confidence and the feelings that the clothing brings to our customer. And what does that mean for who they are as a person. And ultimately, you know, the reason Aday exists is to give women the confidence to change the world. And that is what we try to convey through apparel.