We asked 28-year-old Outdoor Voices Founder Tyler Haney about her Boulder roots, big business and what it means to use your outdoor voice.
Outdoor Voices // OutdoorVoice.com // @outdoorvoices
Has growing up in Boulder influenced Outdoor Voices?
Absolutely. Activity is baked into Boulder culture, and I grew up playing just about every sport. That focus on daily activity—whatever form it takes—is something that was instilled in me early on, and a lot of the inspiration behind Outdoor Voices. I created an activewear brand that isn’t about competition or performance; it’s about celebrating activity for the fun of it.
What separates you from the crowd of sportswear?
Other activewear brands are built around a credo to be better, faster, harder, stronger. We’re flipping that approach on its head, and redefining activity as something that can be fun, social, and with friends. We’re betting that more people want to be active, but they’re intimidated; our playful approach is really resonating.
Education or instinct with running your own business?
A little bit of both. I started OV right out of school, so a lot has been driven by instinct. I’ve been fortunate to bring on some really great partners and investors though, from Mickey Drexler to Kirsten Green, and an amazing team—all of whom I’ve learned a lot from.
Have you had any mentors or tools you’ve used to launch OV?
My mom was the best kind of coach growing up, and she had this saying ‘TYB, baby. Try your best, baby.’ Whether she was sending me to school or soccer practice or a slumber party, she’d say ‘TYB, baby!’ It’s become our OV motto.
What’s OV’s signature style?
We’re known for our color blocking and our tonal tops and bottoms. We think of our apparel as a uniform for Doing Things—everything you need to get out and be active on a daily basis.
You dislike the word “athleisure” when it comes to your brand. Can you explain why?
Versatility is great, but everything we make is made to be sweat in. A lot of companies making athleisure are focused more on style than functionality.
In a world where brick-and-mortar is declining, what attracts you to opening shops around the country?
Our shops are community hubs, and ways for us to bring people together around activities (like jogs, hikes, or dog walks). They’re also a place for people to touch and feel the product, and find the fit or style that’s best for them. It’s about meeting people and building relationships, and that off-line experience is amplified digitally.