Adla provides students with easier ways to shop

The community-based fashion delivery service has gained wide popularity across Wake Forest’s campus


Courtesy of Holly Leslie

Adla allows students to receive a weekly mixed bag of clothes from popular brands with no subscription fees.

Bella Ortley-Guthrie, Contributing Writer

Wake Forest students may have noticed gray and pink bags scattered outside individual dorms on campus — each bag with a shiny tint and giant pink letters on them. These bags are a part of Adla, a community-based fashion delivery service that allows hundreds of Wake Forest students to try on clothes and then purchase the ones they want. 

In 2018, CEO Holly Leslie was 21 when she began Adla as a student at Queen Mary University of London. The idea stemmed from a challenge Leslie and her friends faced struggling to find clothes for spring break. They felt as if there were tons of clothes out there, but nothing was the right fit or color. With returns and online shopping being a hassle, Leslie’s solution stemmed from providing a try-on then buy service.

From there, Adla came to the U.S after being funded by Y Combinator, the same start-up company that funded corporations like Airbnb, Coinbase and DoorDash. After testing in San Francisco, the first launch at college campuses began at High Point University and then moved to Wake Forest University in August 2021. 

Leslie described Adla as a rapidly growing line with the first deliveries going to Angelou dorm with three users, the next week 20 and then 40 users. Now hundreds of Wake Forest Students sign up for Adla, and Adla’s silver bags line the hallways of dorms like Martin, Dogwood and Poteat.

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Adla’s delivery process consists of three steps. First, three to four clothing items are dropped off at the specific dorm. Following the drop off, the Adla clients have a 24-hour window to try on the clothes, then they pay for what they want and leave the remaining clothes in the bag to be picked up. The catch? Adla shoppers don’t have to pay to try on clothes — whatever they do want to buy can be bought via a text link. Adla’s items range from $17-50 offering brands like Princess Polly, Urban Outfitters, Outdoor Voices and Zara. 

“I feel really lucky to have found what I wanted to do at an early age,” Leslie said. Starting a company at age 21 taught Leslie not only how to market herself as a female entrepreneur but also the act of conscious leadership. To be a strong leader, she needed to take care of herself. 

The principle of self-care applies to Adla’s leadership but also in the care of their employees. Not only is the delivery aspect essential to Adla, but Adla prides itself on being a community-based company with all of its delivery workers, packing workers, and warehouse workers consisting of majority female employees. 

“The social aspect is really important to the product,” Leslie said.

The community aspect ties to the Drop Days, where the Adla ‘Elves’ (delivery workers) drop off new batches of clothes. 

“People describe it as Christmas because it’s this collective experience where everyone almost feels like they’re getting a present,” Leslie said.

Adla hires over 22 ‘elves’ to deliver their bags. A majority of them include Wake Forest students like freshman Holland Tyson. Tyson started working as an “Adla Elf” after trying their product in September 2021. 

“It’s turned into something huge,” Tyson said. 

What started as a team of two Adla elves has grown into a group of 22 girls who go dorm-to-dorm delivering bags and meeting people. Adla plans to extend its exclusive services throughout the semester and summer; with 19 schools currently on their waitlist, they plan to scale within the next few months. 

Adla is not just a shopping service but a community — a place for people to come together, try on clothes and support each other. Leslie remains excited about Adla’s future and encourages young women wanting to start their own business to “Don’t stop, just keep going.” 

To get an Adla bag and sign up, visit Adla online at or check out Adla’s Wake Forest Instagram @Adla_wfu CEO Holly Leslie’s Instagram: @hollzleslie