Addison Bay CEO on the entrepreneurial spirit, risk, reward and managing growth

Retail Gets Real episode 306: Marguerite Adzick focuses on blending fashion with function

Entrepreneurs have a keen eye for spotting a hole in the market and intuiting the right way to fill it. Addison Bay was designed for the girl on the go, produced by girls on the go, so it’s no surprise that the activewear brand’s roots were built on leggings.

Marguerite Adzick and Colleen Meehan of Addison Bay
Founder & CEO Marguerite Adzick and Head of Customer Care & Retail Operations Colleen Meehan of Addison Bay.

“I was a consumer myself walking around in Center City [Philadelphia] and seeing women wearing leggings 24/7,” Addison Bay founder and CEO Marguerite Adzick says on this episode of Retail Gets Real. “I saw them wearing leggings to the chicest restaurant in town. I saw her wearing leggings to school drop off. I saw her wearing leggings to work.”

But while Adzick noticed that women were wearing leggings beyond the gym, there weren’t a lot of activewear options that combined fashion-forward aesthetic with functionality. “I had my black leggings in the wardrobe,” she says, “but … I really felt like I couldn’t find anything like this in the market and I had to do it myself.”

The goal of Addison Bay, founded in 2018, was “active wear for anywhere,” she says. “A modern wardrobe that a modern woman could wear from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

Adzick originally envisioned the company as a multi-brand aggregator and ecommerce site. But a quick understanding of her target customer — “I knew who my consumer was three months into the business,” Adzick says — drove a quick launch into private label just 15 months after launch.

The private label line, which debuted in December 2019, originally only made up 18% of the company inventory. It was an instant hit, selling out in just two weeks. “We did not have any inventory left over for Christmas, so I left dollars on the table that year,” Adzick says.

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“And it also was like a light bulb, like, ‘OK, here. She’s very, very interested in this product. I need to listen to her. I need to listen to the consumer.’ Fast forward to 2023 and we are 100% Addison Bay. I’m so proud of that.”

Adzick has built a successful business by listening to what her customers are interested in — which, these days, is pickleball.  Emails that have pickleball in the subject line have some of the highest open rates right now, she says. “We are listening to our consumer, and she’s asking us to design some pieces that help her play pickleball and still look really cute and fashionable.”

Listen to the full podcast to hear Adzick’s career journey from college athlete to Lilly Pulitzer to Addison Bay, how the two bricks-and-mortar stores are growing brand awareness and customer acquisition, and the excitement of seeing customers wearing her brand’s activewear out in public.

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