Ty Haney was tired of the testosterone-charged messages many major activewear brands use to attract customers. Although she grew up a competitive athlete, by the time that chapter of her life ended, she was searching for a way to remain active but without the pressure to perform at the highest level.
So in 2014 she created Outdoor Voices to offer women an alternative. Or as she puts it: “Activity for the fun of it. It’s less about this harder, faster kind of pressure-oriented positioning and all about freeing fitness from performance.”
Since that time, Outdoor Voices has become a gentler alternative for women — and now men — to macho brands such as Nike and Under Armour. Although its products are still engineered for performance, it’s the community she has created that sets Outdoor Voices apart.
Although it’s primarily an online business, the brand also operates nine stores throughout the U.S., with two more in the works before the end of the year. And earlier this month, Nordstrom launched the brand in 10 stores, Outdoor Voices’ first entry into wholesale.
The company’s own stores offer activities that range from dog walks and hikes to kayaking. Haney describes the participants as “the new generation of exercisers who don’t necessarily view themselves as athletes but want to be athletic and want to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.”
But it’s not just customers who are attracted to Outdoor Voices. The brand has also raised $56.5 million in venture capital financing since its founding.
Most recently, Outdoor Voices has created collections earmarked specifically for certain activities such as running and added more high-tech fabrics. Looking ahead, Haney said the plan is to continue to invest in stores while she strengthens the field marketing efforts as the company works to attract more followers to its community.