Designer Spotlight Ashleigh Hults and Alicia Murphy, Poolside Bags



Alicia and Ashleigh: Huntington


Current Location:

Ashleigh: I live between Chinatown in NYC and Montauk

Alicia: Montauk


Your Top Favorite Spots in Montauk:


Duryea's - I love the new update to this old Montauk classic. Sunsets (and lobster rolls) from here are a must.

Share With – A great store in downtown Montauk with amazing French beachwear.

Naturally Good - I have the fish taco's here at least 2-3 times week.

Botanica Bazaar (technically in Amagansett) - The most amazing beauty store in that carries all my natural product favorites like Tata Harper, Herbivore, Shiva Rose… a must stop.



Crow's Nest Beach Bar – The best sunsets with incredible watermelon vodka drinks.

Poolside at The Montauk Beach House - This is where my store is located! Who doesn't love to be poolside?

Tuthill Road - The beach is great for sunset paddle boarding. Duryeas is also right there, so you can go for lobster rolls afterwards.

New York Pilates at Gurney's: I go to New York Pilates every morning on Howard Street, so I love that I can also go every morning in Montauk. It's located at the Gurney's Residences overlooking the water.

The Montauk Juice Factory: One of my dearest friends owns The Montauk Juice Factory. Their juices are organic and made on the premises.


Describe your personal style:

Ashleigh: Hi/low

Alicia: Menwear chic


Your guilty pleasure:

Ashleigh: Ralph's Italian Ices (chocolate peanut butter cup flavor).

Alicia: Pizza


Sneakers or heels?

Ashleigh: Wedges

Alicia: Sneakers


What’s your personal motto?

Ashleigh: Sometimes you just gotta say 'what the fuck.'

Alicia: "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap” - Dolly Parton

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Tell us a little bit about your background:

Ashleigh: For as long as I can remember, Alicia and I have made things together. Alicia recently visited her parent's house and found all of our early stage creations- bracelets, headbands, and custom trays. When we graduated from college, we both joined corporate America. I worked in finance and Alicia worked in publishing. We very quickly found different paths. Somehow, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to follow our passions. Now, I work in experiential marketing and design in the retail category. Alicia owns an interior design firm based in the Hamptons. I also started Poolside Collective, which is a store and event space in Montauk, NY. Alicia and I started Poolside Bags together after coming up with the concept on vacation together this winter.


How did you start Poolside?

Ashleigh: I grew up in retail and I've always been drawn to the industry. I started Poolside Collective because I saw an opportunity for a store that didn't exist yet in Montauk. I love telling people about brands and styles that I love. Having a store has given me an opportunity to do that.

Alicia and I started Poolside Bags because we were bored of so many boring beach bag options. We wanted to create something a bit irreverent and unexpected, with an edge! We have complementary skills and have created things together since we met in high school. Poolside Bags was meant to be!


Where does the name come from?

The store is actually situated poolside at the Montauk Beach House.


What does your Poolside bag say?

Ashleigh: My Poolside Bag says, "blessings on blessings" in fuscia.

Alicia: My Poolside Bag says, "zero fucks given.”


You just launched on Moda Operandi - how did that come about?

Moda found us (we think on Instagram)! They are the ultimate launch partner and we could not have imagined a better partnership. We have had so much fun working with them to promote the line and we are so excited to continue working together!


What are your plans for the summer?

We are going to Marrakesh very soon to meet with our factory and tour the city. Other than that, we love our weekly routines in Montauk together. We go to Tracy Anderson and New York Pilates Friday to Sunday. We always go to the Beach Bar at Crow's Nest. There are a few parties we really look forward to each year. We have a ton of fun just relaxing and enjoying poolside life all summer long. And, we always shop together - it inspires us!

Alicia: Since I live out east year round, I love the summer when my friends all come out and there are amazing restaurants open and great work outs. I will be at the Tracy Anderson Montauk pop up every single day to counteract all the eating and rose drinking that will be happening this summer! At the end of August I will be traveling on a three-week road trip starting in Portugal and ending in South of France. I can’t wait- Le Club 55 here I come!


Where do you see Poolside in the future? What’s next?

Ashleigh: Launching product has been exciting for us! I definitely want to continue that. This summer, I designed a capsule in collaboration with jewelry brand, Tarin Thomas, and also launched a scent! I want every product we make to be a necessary item re-imagined through our lens. My next goal is to move into dresses. I want to make a collection of 3-5 perfect summer pieces in beautiful fabrics / colors - classic dresses with a sexiness and edge.


What is your advice for people who want to start their own company?

Ashleigh: If something is calling you, go for it. Don't be afraid. Read Courage by Osho and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo... and then go follow your dream. Distance yourself from large groups of people all doing the same thing and think inwardly about what makes you happy. Go and get experience, work tirelessly. If you are unsure, just do it and learn.

Alicia: I really think Step 1 is going out to other people in the industry you want to be in and say, "How did you do this? How did you get here? What did you have to overcome to get to where you are? People love to talk about themselves and what they've done - from those conversations you can really get an idea on what it would be to run a business in the space you want to be in. Step 2 is a plan - make goals for yourself and actually do them. I have found so many times I say "oh its hard to do that or that costs too much my business can’t afford that right now," but most of the time it’s not and it’s just myself putting up barriers. Just do it!



Shop Poolside Bags on Moda Operandi and follow them at @PoolsideBags.


Header image via Moda Operandi.