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Tyler Haney Exits Outdoor Voices

After stepping down from her role as chief executive, the founder of the direct-to-consumer activewear brand is now leaving the company altogether.
Outdoor Voices Founder Tyler Haney | Source: Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch
By
  • Cathaleen Chen

AUSTIN, Texas —  Outdoor Voices Co-Founder Tyler Haney is stepping away from the business entirely, the company said Tuesday.

“Tyler has made a personal decision to resign from Outdoor Voices. We respect her choice and wish her the best," Outdoor Voices said in an email statement. "As the founder of our company and a creative visionary, she brought Outdoor Voices to an important stage in our evolution."

The  company added that "a small number of positions" will be eliminated. The announcement comes just days after BoF reported that Haney was stepping down from her role as chief executive of the activewear brand, which has struggled over the past year to manage costs and raise more funding. Cliff Moskowitz, co-founder of Interlux, a fashion investment firm, was named interim chief executive. But as of last week, Haney was meant to stay on in a role that would allow her to focus on "creative, brand, customer," according to an Instagram post she published in the hours after the news broke.

With revenue of about $40 million, Outdoor Voices was losing up to $2 million a month on customer acquisition and other costs, according to sources familiar with the company’s finances. Outdoor Voices has raised over $60 million since its launch in 2014, not including the cash injection received last year from an investor group that included longtime backer General Catalyst. The latest round of funding came in at a lower valuation than its previous round.

Haney posted on Instagram that she would "set the record straight soon. Staying quiet at the moment. Heartbreaking narrative of an individual trying to cause harm.”

Outdoor Voices' other investors include Forerunner Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Drexler Ventures, the family office of former J.Crew Chief Executive Mickey Drexler. In its early days, the brand gained a considerable following for its instantly recognisable colour-block designs and laissez-faire approach to activity and recreation.

It's also among a class of Instagram-savvy, direct-to-consumer brands that emerged in recent years, raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital, and receiving constant buzz in mainstream media. But as many of these companies scaled, the price for acquiring customers rose, forcing them to aggressively raise more money and repeat this cycle of pursuing growth at the expense of profit. A number of direct-to-consumer upstarts are already reckoning with the consequences of this strategy. Sneaker brand Greats was forced into a distressed sale to Steve Madden last spring, while mattress-in-a-box pioneer Casper lost more than half of its $1 billion valuation in its IPO earlier this month.

Even with a swelling marketing budget, Outdoor Voices could not compete with the likes of Nike and Lululemon. Within the company, there was a rotating door of seasoned executives: Nike alum Pamela Catlett became president of OV in 2019 but left months later, for instance. Drexler, the former chief executive of J.Crew, resigned as chairman of the board mid-last year.

"Our focus remains on the future of Outdoor Voices and doing what's best for our company and our team," Outdoor Voices continued in its statement Tuesday.

"Our mission isn’t changing, but we believe that operating more dynamically in an evolving retail environment will position Outdoor Voices for long-term growth and success as we continue to build an incredible, positive community that is redefining how people think about recreation."

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