I’m a former Goldman Sachs analyst who quit finance – here’s why
- Meg He, 33, is the co-founder of ADAY, a fashion brand that creates sustainable professional workwear.
- After leaving a career in finance and venture capital, he started ADAY with former Goldman Sachs colleague Nina Faulhaber.
- This is what running a business looks like, as freelance writer Claire Turrell has recounted.
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and loved to challenge myself. When I was 15, I started selling vintage designer clothes on eBay. When I applied to university, I applied to Merton College at Oxford University in Economics and Management as I was told it was the most difficult course to take in terms of acceptance rate. But I did. After graduation in 2008, I was hired as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.
At Goldman, I met my future co-founder of ADAY Nina Faulhaber. We both have a strong work ethic and we hit it off immediately. After two years working at Goldman Sachs, we both started working for different VC firms, and then I worked for Poshmark before taking time off to return to the UK in 2014. Nina and I always kept in touch and exchanged business ideas. , and my coming home became the trigger to start ADAY.
Even while working at Goldman Sachs, I knew finance was not the right industry for me.
When I looked at my fellow analysts in the room, I could see that they enjoyed the work more, were more motivated and were better than me. I had an inner ecommerce geek who needed to get out – I flourished marrying ideas with psychology and consumer behavior and also loved how fashion could make people feel like they were right. be empowered.
As businesswomen who loved to work out, Nina and I came up with the idea of launching a collection of workwear that was as comfortable as sportswear. We spent 12 months traveling to fabric factories in Italy, visiting sustainable factories in Portugal and Los Angeles, and conducting focus groups in the UK. In January 2015, we launched our sustainable fashion brand ADAY with a capsule collection of leggings, shorts and tops, all made from recycled UV protected fabrics.
While we had big plans, we started small. I had quit my job and then Nina quit hers. By networking and letting people know about our plans, we have raised around $ 200,000 to launch the brand.
Our first meetings were in coffee shops and we even took a conference call with investors in a parking lot.
We only had three full-time employees (Nina, myself and a young designer) and the former Everlane womenswear manager as a consultant.
While we always had faith in what we did, it was heartwarming to see our plans come to fruition. After a pair of our leggings ran out, we decided to launch other items like swimwear and work on new fabrics like moisture wicking linen and fabrics made from bottles. recycled water.
Raising money to grow globally has been a slow but steady journey.
In November 2017, we were able to raise $ 2 million in funding. Two years later, we have raised an additional $ 8.5 million. This gave us the chance to expand into the United States, and in the fall of 2019, we opened a 3,000 square foot office in New York City, a store in San Francisco, and launched a travel-inspired collection.
But when the pandemic hit in March 2020, we had to go back to the drawing board. Our team of nearly 30 people started working from home, we sublet our New York office, closed the store, and postponed our product launches to 2021 and 2022. However, as more and more people were looking for comfortable clothes to wear to work from home, our sales were still on the rise, which luckily gave us time to launch Made Again, where we rework over-ordered inventory into new parts.
My work schedule is constantly changing – I am often more productive between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.
I start each day by walking my dog in my neighborhood in New York. Then I have virtual meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with investors, potential partners and staff. I devote two hours a day to in-depth work, where I focus on a goal for the company.
While I practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I tend to keep my days flexible. I go to BJJ academy five to six days a week and take strength and conditioning classes at the gym. Right now I’m training for the IBJJF Masters World Championship in Las Vegas in November. My workouts change based on how close I am to the competition, so if I train one to two hours in the afternoon, I will work more in the evening. I do a lot of my best jobs between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The key to being a successful entrepreneur is to be honest about what you are good and bad about.
If that’s not your area of expertise, hire someone to do it, and don’t waste time trying to do it yourself. It is also important to have a supportive network of people around you who understand what you are going through. And if you have a business idea, don’t tell everyone. It’s like announcing a baby name – everyone has a different opinion, and everyone’s opinion shouldn’t matter.
Even though investment banking was not for me, it taught me a lot. The meticulous attention to detail at Goldman Sachs is something I’ve never seen anywhere else. This commitment to excellence is something I always think about. When Nina and I are faced with a challenge, we will strive to do it A +++ because that is the training we have received.
When we thought about launching ADAY, we were just two women who didn’t know anything about styling. Our background in finance and venture capital has taught us to be bold and accept being a more adversarial start-up to improve industry standards.