A Note from Jane
Our next Girl Gang will come as no surprise: Poolside hats and bags are a staple for me, and you saw them pop up in our showroom this spring. My first Poolside bag, an oversized straw tote, is embroidered with 'High Top' for our house in New Hampshire. Lately I have been wearing the Anna Conch purse - which matches perfectly with our Inspiration Coin and Shell Pendant.
It has been lovely getting to know Ashleigh, Poolside's Founder, and she is graciously offering a special code for the JW Girl Gang to shop Poolside. Sign up HERE to receive that code. We are also giving away JW and Poolside goodies to one lucky winner - join the fun here. Keep reading my interview with Ashleigh below.
Ashleigh! What a fun spring we had running in the same trunk show circuit. From Dallas, NYC, and then Philly – have you recovered? Ok let’s start from the beginning.
Poolside launched in 2016 but you had a career in fashion and branding prior. How did you get your start?
I started my career in finance, working at companies such as Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. Even during the early days of my career, I have always been obsessed with creative business building. In 2013, I left the finance world, and friends encouraged me to work in advertising or marketing. I forged a new career in luxury brand marketing, until I was poached by one of my fashion clients to work in-house. All of this gave me a lot of exposure and experience across industries.
Let’s talk POOLSIDE! Tell us how the brand came to be. I opened a seasonal summer boutique in Montauk, NY called Poolside Collective. As I was curating the shop, I couldn't find many unique straw baskets, but I was always drawn to the effortless style of French market totes, as well as the hand embroidered French Moroccan styles. I wanted to put a spin on this traditional basket concept, so I decided to start customizing them with pop-culture phrases as well as letting people customize them online. I started an Instagram account for the brand, and it blew up from there. Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Gigi Hadid started requesting bags from me (and sharing them on Instagram).
Love love love that you are all about supporting female artisans and sustainability. Why was ‘slow fashion’ important to your mission? I don't think anyone is consciously into any of the practices or side effects of "fast fashion," but it's very hard to avoid in today's world. I hadn't really thought about the sustainable part of my business, until I started learning about how the bags are made and thinking through all aspects of what it means to create natural fibre bags. I feel responsible to myself, my children, and the planet, to do my part to keep my business as environmentally low impact as possible. Regarding our work with female artisans -- I have always supported female empowerment through work. I went to the all-girl Barnard College, I was on every Women's Leadership committee in corporate America. It's an important topic for me, as I think work gives people confidence and so much more. I am so happy to be able to help communities of women via my business.
I feel like we see Poolside everywhere: Have you had a pinch me moment with the brand, whether with a retailer, celeb, influencer? Yes!! I still remember when I woke up and saw the custom bag that we made for Gigi Hadid on her Instagram! Gwyneth Paltrow's friends reached out to me, and we created custom bags for her bachelorette party which was also super special!
What is your everyday summer uniform? Complete with a Poolside tote of course! It's been so hot that I'm normally in a sundress. I've also designed a POOLSIDE RTW line, so I've been wear testing a lot of the samples this summer ;-)
You have the Jane Win Inspiration Pendant, Strong Rising Sun Coin, and Wheels of Fortune Chain: What drew you to these pieces? I love statement accessories and feel they really make an outfit stand out. You could be wearing something very plain (jeans and a white tee), but put on the Rising Sun Coin from Jane Win and your outfit pops!
I love layering many necklaces (I have 5 or 6 gold chains that I never take off) and the Jane Win Inspiration Pendant necklace looks amazing when worn with my normal "neck mess." I also adore the impact of the Jane Win White Carved Agate Earrings -- I feel they completely elevate any outfit.
We saw you were just in Miami for Cabana and the Hamptons for a pop up – any other fun travels coming up?
I have nothing planned for the rest of the year, but my husband and I are fans of spontaneous trips! I'm hoping to manifest an Italy trip this summer. I'm also working on planning my husband's birthday party in St. Barths next year!
A few quickfire questions:
- What poolside bag are you wearing everyday? The Essaouira Tote in the large size with anis green leather shoulder straps. I love that it's large enough to fit everything I need for work and everyday errands (including everything that goes along with having 2 toddlers). It's also the perfect beach bag, so I never really have to change my bag right now.
- Do you prefer pearls or a pop of color? Love both!
- What’s in your Poolside right now? What do you never leave the house without? Classic black Celine sunnies, a raffia bucket hat, extra SPF, random handbag samples that I carry everywhere with me, a measuring tape, my iPhone, a glass Antipodes water bottle which I reuse because it's so beautiful, and small toys/crafts for my children.
- What are you binge watching right now? I am late to the game, but I just watched all of Ted Lasso and Schitt's Creek - loved both!
Don't forget to sign up to win our giveaway and receive 20% off your first Poolside order here.