Leggings have always had an appeal to women since the 1960s, taking its inspiration from the dance world. As the 70s picked up and the ushering in of the 80s, leggings were a big thing- especially during the aerobics era. Who can forget Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta in the 1985 romance-drama Perfect? But, somewhere around the early 2000s, and most certainly a decade into the new millennia, women started wearing leggings again- a lot in fact- as if they were everyday pants. Caught up in this trend was Marguerite Adzick, the founder of Addison Bay, who noticed women were wearing leggings outside of the gym. Seeing a niche Adzick went to work, building a brand that appeals to women who long for the perfect athleisure wear.
“Prior to launching Addison Bay, I attended The University of Virginia, where I played Division I lacrosse. After leaving the world as a collegiate athlete, I dove into the fashion industry working at Lilly Pullitzer right out of college and worked on the marketing team for seven years. While living in Center City Philadelphia, I noticed women walking around the city and frequenting popular restaurants…in leggings. I knew busy, on-the-go women, like myself, were trying to find activewear that was polished yet comfortable – providing one look that could be worn from school drop off, straight into the office, on to drinks with my husband, and home with our kids. Recognizing a need for polished activewear that can be worn from 7am to 7pm, Addison Bay took shape and launched in September of 2018. I resigned from a job that I loved – at six months pregnant – to start Addison Bay, with the idea that elevated activewear would become the everyday wardrobe and we could provide consumers with more stylish options. It’s been four years and we are really hitting our stride. Now, it’s my job to take Addison Bay from good to great,” shares Adzick.
When Addison Bay was launched in 2018, the brand began to resonate with women, accounting for 97% of the brand’s assortment, notes the House. The name has a very New England ring to it but it’s very much a Midatlantic brand with a name that’s personal to Adzick. “I was living on Addison Street in Philadelphia during the inception of Addison Bay – staying up late at my kitchen counter writing the business plan and building the early stages of the company. Bay comes from swimming in the bay of Avalon, NJ during my childhood, invoking an active lifestyle.”
Started slightly before the pandemic, Adzick has felt the challenges of living the startup life. “I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that startup life can be a real rollercoaster – the highs feel so high and the lows are the lowest of the lows. I’ve learned that putting the blinders on and staying focused on building a strong brand with a clear point of view is the most important piece of this journey.” But she must be doing something right. Addison Bay was one of three Philadelphia based businesses to receive a grant from the JVS Philadelphia Fund for Women, and the company continues to grow more than 100% year over year in Net Sales.
The aesthetic is what she calls ‘elevated activewear.’ There’s something for the golfer, the tennis player, the student, and the overall active woman. You can wear Addison Bay from the golf course to a lunch meeting, home, and out to run errands. The pieces are all day wear. “We make it easier to get dressed every day by offering the modern wardrobe for the modern woman. Our designs layer on perfectly placed stripes, elevated details and high-quality fabrics to create polished activewear. We’ve taken our own experiences as on-the-go women to develop the everyday wardrobe – designed to take you from 7am to 7pm,” says Adzick.
But even in 2018, there were activewear brands on the market from Lululemon, L.L. Bean, and Patagonia, to name a few. But Adzick wasn’t seeing all day activewear. She began to see a niche she could fill. “When researching the market in 2017, I noticed that activewear was being worn far beyond the gym and realized that fashion forward didn’t have to mean less function. I believed that there was an opportunity to design an assortment of polished activewear that could be worn for all parts of the day. Enter: Addison Bay.”
We could see before the pandemic that women were moving in an athleisure direction. “Comfort and fashion are not mutually exclusive and women want to be functional without sacrificing style,” states Adzick. Because women are on the go, brands like Addison Bay are marketing stylish yet comforting fashion that women identify with. “I spend my mornings getting two kids ready for school, off to school drop off, on to the office, back home with my kids, on to the night routine – the day is packed. I need to be functional for all parts of my hectic day, but I still care about how I look. Addison Bay felt like the perfect solution for myself, and so many women like me.”
The brand has boasted a grown consumer base by 300% year on year, and at the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing, it exceeded projections showing strong profitability. Allied Market Research predicted in 2020 that the Global Athleisure Market (which is valued at $163.7 million) will reach $257.1 million by 2021.
“In the beginning of the pandemic, there was a sense of panic that froze consumers from spending in general, which we felt right away. Once most people settled into the ‘new norm’ of working from home and living a more casual lifestyle, we definitely felt lucky to be in the activewear retail category. Had we been selling expensive Ready-to-Wear dresses or accessories, I think Covid would’ve been more challenging, especially for a business in our relatively new life cycle,” says Adzick.
The Fall collection is oh-so-wonderful and quite collegiate-retro in style. The Swing Dress is $178 and comes in black and white. With an elevated sweatshirt for the upper half, the skirting is playful and athletic like. It’s a style that hold from morning to evening. The signature Everyday Crewnews comes Ivory, Peony, Heather Camel and a host of various other colors. And the RaRa Rugy filled with various stripe colors giving it quite the academic feel.
“The collection features classic designs with a modern edge. Complete with geometric prints, rugby stripes, vintage varsity style, and all of our Addison Bay favorites in chic, new colorways. This season’s styles are both classic and fresh at the same time. Our RaRa Rugby is the perfect example of how Addison Bay interprets varsity style. We gave the traditional rugby silhouette a new and noteworthy look with the addition of a contrast collar and cuffs, an exposed chunky white zipper, and color-blocked stripes. This season is all about merging new colors, prints, and styles with Addison Bay’s amazing core collection,” shares Adzick.
This collection is the largest collection for the brand, which includes lifestyle pieces. “I’m extremely proud of the amazing team behind this collection and excited to launch the second Fall delivery in October, followed by the Resort 2022 Collection,” muses Adzick.
The brand has shown success over the past four years. During the pandemic and last year it opened its first brick and mortar store in Avalon, New Jersey, giving it a profitable first year. And, this month they opened their second brick and mortar store in Philadelphia’s famed Suburban Square Shopping Center. “The store opening generated tons of excitement with a line of customers around the block waiting to get in on opening day. Addison Bay wouldn’t be where it is today without the support from the Philly community and it was a special moment to be able to open our Philly store right after our 4th anniversary!”
“I wake up excited to go to work every day – I’m committed to this company and my incredible team and look forward to seeing how much farther we can grow in the next few years,” states Adzick. You can find Addison Bay at their two boutiques, as well as at national retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue.