H.A. Hang: Marguerite Adzick
The coolest part of our business has always been our clients. We’re amazed by all they do: CEOs and business owners, world travelers, authors, inventors, healers, entrepreneurs, newscasters, artists, pro athletes, musicians, caretakers, and philanthropists.
We launched this series to share the stories of our clients and form connections within the H.A. community. Enjoy!
H.A.: Where did you grow up?
M.A.: Chestnut Hill.
When did you launch Addison Bay?
I officially launched on September 4th, 2018. I started writing the business plan when I was three months pregnant with my first child. Fast forward, we now have an online store, brick-and-mortar locations in Suburban Square and Avalon, and are carried by several well known retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue.
You started selling athleisure when many big companies were getting into that space. Was that inspiring or intimidating?
Inspiring. I knew there was opportunity in the fashion-forward activewear space. I was living in Center City at the time and everyone that I saw on the streets, in restaurants, running errands, etc. was in activewear. And I was personally looking for pieces that were cool and polished—but comfort and functionality were key. I knew that my idea could take market share from some of those multi-billion dollar activewear companies. And I had a sound understanding of our consumer.
Sports were a big part of your childhood?
I played a lot of different sports growing up, but it wasn't until 10th grade that I really narrowed in on lacrosse. I went to Penn Charter and was fortunate enough to get recruited by the University of Virginia. I played lacrosse at UVA for four years. It was, hands down, one of the best experiences of my life.
Sports taught me true grit, dedication and hard work. In college, it was all day, every day for four years. I received a scholarship, which I was so grateful for. It was an amazing opportunity that wasn’t lost on me. So once I was there, I was committed and ready to work.
Does that inform how you run the company today?
For sure. Besides working hard, I think back to my teammates often. There’s nothing like having people that you’re surrounded by for four years. It’s a very cool relationship. I was the captain and that taught me a lot of the leadership skills that I now use, even twelve years later, which is amazing!
What did you major in?
Did you know what you wanted to do after college?
I had no clue! I was so focused on lacrosse and less focused on summer internships. It wasn’t until my third or fourth year that I really started to think about what was next. I was always interested in fashion, but didn’t know how to have a fashion career or what that even really entailed. With very little experience upon graduating, I had to figure out my next move and I was literally starting from square one.
Was that discouraging?
You know, like most things in life, you’ve got to work the connections you have. Through a ton of calls and meetings, I got a job at Lilly Pulitzer’s headquarters, which is in King of Prussia. I loved my time there so much.
What were some of the positions you held there?
I knew that I just needed to get my foot in the door, then I could make moves from there. I wasn’t really in a position to negotiate—I was going to take anything that I was offered. My first job was in account services—I don't even think it exists anymore! I was excited and willing to learn. But, at the same time, I do have a creative side, so I took that creative energy and started a fashion blog, which was very ahead of its time. Someone internally at Lilly found the blog and asked me about my interests and passions and what I really wanted to do. Because of that conversation, I was offered an open position assisting photo shoots. So, within 30 days of starting in account services, I moved departments. The side hustle wound up getting me to the marketing team, which is where I stayed for the next six and a half years.
There are a whole lotta lessons there.
I'm proud of my 22-year-old self for working hard and not thinking I was too good for anything. It's good advice for people starting their careers: It might not feel like the exact right position, but just get in the mix and see where it takes you.
What was the blog called? I gotta know.
It was called “Such Good Style.” I loved it so much. This was before Instagram and influencers!
At what point did you think of branching out on your own?
I had an incredible experience at Lilly and really wasn't trying to run from anything there, but I had the entrepreneurial itch for a while. I was trying to get pregnant and going through fertility treatments for several years. That took up a lot of my time and emotional bandwidth. When I finally did get pregnant with my daughter, Annie, I felt like it was the right time to write a business plan for Addison Bay and pitch the idea to investors. Likely a very different feeling than other pregnant women, but it worked for me! I resigned from Lilly when I was pregnant, started working out of an empty warehouse and we were off to the races.
That must have been a wild time: starting a company, first time mom…
It was wild! Looking back, I’m glad I dove in headfirst. I think that was a really important piece of my journey. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband and siblings and parents who were cheering me on. It wouldn't have been possible without my “team.”
What did Addison Bay look like when you first launched?
Originally, we were a one-stop shop of curated activewear that we sold online. I think we sold 38 brands on the site at the time—hard-to-find, fashion-forward activewear from all over the world. I got a lot wrong, but I nailed the foundational principle back in 2017: We were going to sell polished but functional clothing for busy women.
When did you start designing your own pieces?
I had it in my business plan that during year four or five, we’d start our own private label, once I really understood our consumer. But three months in, I understood who she was, what she was looking for and I saw holes in the market that were not being filled. So we branched out to create our private label. But who we are—marrying functionality and fashion—has not changed. I think that's kind of cool.
What did you start with?
We designed four styles: a pullover, legging, long sleeve, and tank. We launched them in December of 2019, so only 15 months into the business.
How were they received?
We had a one hundred percent sell through, which is very difficult in the fashion world. We had no AB product going into Christmas and we were absolutely shocked by the consumer demand for the new line. At that time, I knew we were onto something. I began to understand that our products are multi-generational, as well. My 13-year-old niece and my 72-year-old mom can both wear Addison Bay. The commonality is that women, regardless of age, have a lot on their plates today. Women are the best multitaskers in the whole world and we want them to feel good while getting it all done.
And now you sell Addison Bay exclusively?
We now exclusively sell Addison Bay products. I'm so glad I went full sprint. It’s the future of the brand.
You’ve had a successful fashion career in a city not known for fashion. Do you think launching in Philly was harder?
I love the small Philly fashion scene and genuinely think people are more willing to help each other out in this city. I really appreciate that about Philly and about entrepreneurs coming from our city. Additionally, I think consumers care about who they're buying from and what the founder is all about. Philly is a huge part of my story—I started this business at my countertop on Addison Street, this is where our HQ is located and our first retail store is down the road.
What’s the future of Addison Bay?
I have so much on my vision board. At this point, I want to create a really good brand with a good reputation, and have really good employees that can thrive. I want to open 50 stores. I want to grow our online business. I want to find more good wholesale partners—we have some fun ones coming on in 2024. I really want to do things the right way. I know it's not that cool of a response, but I want the company to grow and be around for many many years.
You’ve built this all while having three kids?!?
They're easily the best part—they make everything worth it. I'm trying to lead by example and show my kids, especially my daughter, what hard work, discipline and fun looks like. I have fun everyday at work and that’s very important to show my kids.