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Ashleigh Stone Founder, Poolside Bags
The kids are down, the dog has been fed, and your partner’s otherwise engaged - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
If the house is messy, I will organize it. If the house is totally clean AND I have a quiet moment, I love to make a cup of ginger tea and relax in our living room with a book. We live in an old townhouse in the West Village, and our living room looks out onto Commerce Street. It’s a very special, quiet section of the universe. Our living room couch is very comfy, and I love curling up with a book and my husband.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from a mom that you’ve held on to because it felt resonant?
The piece of advice that seems to resonate the most is to stay relaxed and realize that women have been giving birth since the beginning of time.
What’s the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
I’ve had so many different careers within this existing lifetime. I started my career in the finance industry, working in quant trading at both trading firms and investment banks. In my second life, I’ve worked in advertising, marketing, and PR. The opportunity to now own my own brand, and to create products that I love, is a dream come true. For as long as I can remember, I have been happiest when I’m making things.
Where and how did you meet your best friends? How do you stay in touch and support each other?
I am extremely close with my family, and am a private person. Therefore, I’ve always spent a lot of time with my parents, niece, nephew, cousins, and aunts. My husband’s family is based in Australia, but I speak to his mother and stepmother almost daily. I have a handful of women that I call my “best friends.” I’ve known about half of them from childhood and the other half of them from college or post-college. I’ve noticed a common theme among everyone that I consider to be a “best” friend - they are all kind, supportive, giving, non-judgmental, smart, and inquisitive. They are there for me no matter what. They are honest and truthful, and I can say anything to them. We stay in touch by texting daily and planning regular dinner or brunch outings. Now that we’re all having kids at the same time, we’ve been able to connect on an even deeper level.
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
I honestly feel like I have the best husband in the world; he has a heart of gold and is so kind, loving, caring and fun. The nicest thing that Andy does for me is that he is truly my best friend. He supports me and loves me without asking for anything in return, and I do the same for him. We put each other first, and we have such great communication, always trying to understand what the other one needs in order to grow and reach personal and professional goals. On a daily basis, we do have some routines that are nice. In the morning, one of us will either make the bed or make the smoothie. It’s always been important for me to make dinner for my family, so I try to have dinner ready at night before Andy comes home from work. He always loads the dishwasher - a weird task that I hate, but that he’s amazing at!
What traditions are you building - or planning to build - for your family? Whydo they matter to you?
My husband and I love traditions - both participating in family traditions that have existed for years and creating some of our own for our growing family. Family provides stability and unconditional love. My husband’s family gathers for Christmas every other year in a country town outside of Melbourne. Over 30 family members travel from near and far to spend that special time together. In my family, we have an annual “Family Picnic” and “Cousins Dinner,” which are held at the same time every year. As families grow and expand, these moments are so important for staying close and connected. My husband asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve morning -- we had decided to stay in NYC before heading to my parents' house for the holidays in order to establish our own family tradition of a Christmas Eve morning pancake breakfast. This year, we’re so excited to include our baby girl in our own family tradition!
What are the things in your closet that you know you’ll be using and loving inthree years?
The items that I have in my closet, which I’ll be using and loving for three years have probably already been there for three years! The best items are the classics. A few that I feel are timeless include:
1) A collection of my favorite straw bags from my line, Poolside. This includes the custom tote bag that I made for our wedding guests, which says “mates for life,” a wicker conch shell bag, and our famous “disco ball.”
2) Great white button-downs -- I like mine oversized, cropped, with an open back, or other unique details. Some of my favorites are from Uniforme and Rosetta Getty.
3) Prada slacks -- I have 3-4 pairs, and they are the most beautiful, well-fitting, and classic items that I have in my closet. I’ve owned them for about a decade.
What’s the last thing you celebrated?
The last big celebration we had was in Melbourne this past December. My husband and I hosted a party for family and friends who couldn’t make it to our wedding in NYC, and we announced the news of our baby girl, arriving in summer 2020. My husband is really good about celebrating the small things, so I can’t say that there’s anything that I’ve missed out on celebrating! We celebrate small things every day!
What has been the hardest part of pregnancy dressing? What product wouldyou like FH to add to our assortment?
I pride myself on being a very savvy shopper -- partially because I own a fashion company, and understand what goes into production, and what pricing is like to manufacture globally. Shopping is both a hobby and a research project for me. I like to purchase unique items from my favorite designers that I find on sale, or I will invest in a beautiful piece that I can’t get out of my head, which is made with impeccable craftsmanship and design. Therefore, throughout my pregnancy, I’ve tried to look for items that I can either still wear after pregnancy, or that are investment maternity wear pieces that I need in my wardrobe to still feel my best on a day to day basis. Pregnancy dressing has actually been pretty easy for me because I’ve been able to wear most of my own clothes straight into my seventh month. The one thing that I struggle with is that the length of most maternity dresses is “midi,” whereas, I prefer when dresses hit at the knee. I also don’t like how many maternity brands have side ruching on tee shirts and dresses. Items that I’ve been searching for throughout pregnancy include simple, body-hugging, knit cashmere maxi dresses in amazing colors. I’ve also been looking for the perfect tee shirt that you can wear in pregnancy (without the side ruching).