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Tyler Haney

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For Tyler Haney, Doing Things, the core tenant of her active wear startup Outdoor Voices, has always been an intrinsic part of life. Growing up in Boulder, CO, the self-described “hippie mountain girl” and child of designers loved running cross country and playing basketball. When it came time to embark on higher education, she was on the verge of going college to pursue hurdles. Instead, she took a year off to figure out her next steps, settling on following her interest in fashion to New York to enroll at the renowned Parsons School of Design.

Haney never lost her love of athleticism, however. While at Parsons, she became deeply interested in technical materials, the fabrics used to make sweat-wicking, workout-conducive activewear. Tired of the black and neon colors and “just do it” aesthetic of most activewear brands, she set out on a mission to design her own workout clothing. Soon, she was working with the fabric mills making materials for brands like Lululemon, Nike, and Under Armour to develop chic, understated activewear materials. By the time she graduated from Parsons in 2011, as part of her degree program, she had created a five-piece collection of activewear that would become Outdoor Voices.

In June 2013, backed by her own savings and investments from family and friends, Haney launched Outdoor Voices. Though in the capital-raising efforts to follow she would be turned down by more than 50 investors, Haney’s innovative, minimalist workout line eventually garnered interest. By May 2016, the company had raised $9.5 million in funding from investors including General Catalyst Partners.

While Outdoor Voices has a digital-first, e-commerce model, they have slowly been expanding to brick and mortar sales. In addition to presence at J. Crew stores, they opened their first retail store in October 2014, in Austin, TX. In November 2015, they launched a Soho pop-up, which later evolved into a permanent lower Manhattan location. The shops double as hubs for community events, including runs, dog walks, and other activities.

Haney’s burgeoning success with Outdoor Voices has not gone without notice, with accolades including ranking on the 2016 Forbes list of 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs in retail and e-commerce.

(Sources used in writing this profile include a June 2016 Forbes article, a Jan 2016 Forbes article, a May 2016 CNBC article, a July 2015 Into The Gloss profile, and the entrepreneur’s LinkedIn profile)

Companies and Investments

Outdoor Voices (Founder)

Lessons Learned

I think being young without experience was helpful at the time because I'd ask to be in people's offices all the time, and if I had more experience I wouldn't have. But that was the beauty about being a little bit naïve — there weren't boundaries. (Tyler Haney on how inexperience can be catalyzed into boldness, in a CNBC article)

I’ve been wearing Nike all my life, but I kind of got sick of this black and neon proliferation. I realized the clothes that I was wearing in my everyday life were minimal, understated, and really good quality. Why couldn't I find that in activewear? I started working with the Nike and Lululemon mills on new fabrics and realized that there was a larger opportunity in the market to counteract that 'harder, faster, stronger' outlook and instead approach activity from a much more lighthearted and socially delightful kind of way. That’s really what the brand is about. (Tyler Haney on creating a product that fills a need in your own life, in an Into The Gloss profile)

I’ve been really thoughtful about identifying the people I most admire and then finding ways to surround myself with them. I very much believe that you surround yourself with the type of people that you want to be. You can become them. (Tyler Haney on being intentional about the people you surround yourself with, in an Elite Daily article)

My mom, when I was little, would always tell me, ‘TYB, baby.’ It means try your best,’ and my mom would tell me that whether I was going to school or soccer practice or a slumber party. Having some kind of motto or mantra helps get you through the tough times. (Tyler Haney on the value of having a motto as a touchpoint and the powerful simplicity of trying your best, in an Elite Daily article)

Inspiring Quotes

Tyler Haney's Quotes

You play your own game, you don’t follow the rules. You definitely run into roadblocks at points, but I think that’s how you really create something new and different from what exists.

Tyler Haney

TYB - Try Your Best

Tyler Haney

I don’t have experience on my side, but I have persistence.

Tyler Haney

Influential Books

Mentors

References


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