Startup Spotlight: Outdoor Voices
“Use your indoor voice,” shushes Tyler Haney’s mother.
Playfully flipping the phrase she heard so much during her childhood, CEO Haney founded Outdoor Voices in 2012.
Outdoor Voices is a clothing company that sells technical apparel for recreation. OV makes its activewear for ‘Doing Things’ daily- things from simply going on a jog to completing full-on workouts at the gym. Founded in New York City, OV is now headquartered in Austin, where it sells an entire collection including leggings, exercise dresses, sports bras, shoes, and more. Once started in a room with scraps of fabric, OV now boasts 11 stores around the nation in large cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York City.
Stellar marketing is a key contributor to Outdoor Voices’ success. From unpaid brand ambassadors to consistent and clear brand messaging, Outdoor Voices is #DoingThings with their marketing.
Brand ambassadors spread the word of OV’s colorful and inclusive athletic clothing line in a much more organic way than Google ads could ever do. For OV, these ambassadors are essentially free marketing. At OV, clothing is almost never discounted because all products are produced in small quantities. And if clothing is ever left over, they are distributed to brand ambassadors. According to Archival, OV “activated 127 OVU reps, generated 350+ campaign posts, maintained 22%+ average engagement with the content and drove tens of thousands of dollars in new sales.” They did this by tapping into a market previously untargeted: college students located near OV stores.
Stemming from a desire to inspire people to be active without feeling the pressures of performance, OV started a community on Instagram for people who love #DoingThings. Under the company’s hashtag, there are over 170,000 posts of their customers enjoying life- from walking the dog, to hanging with friends, or walking around the park. Their customers sport OV's sports bras and trendy color-blocked leggings with huge smiles on their faces.
In addition, OV strengthened this community by publishing The Recreationalist, a hip print and digital magazine, for its followers. Through this digital outlet, OV hopes to “showcase the fun in outdoor activities...by informing, inspiring, and providing an outlet for all things Recreational,” according to the Marketing Dive. You can access the website here: https://www.therecreationalist.com/
All in all, Outdoor Voices is a rapidly expanding startup that is growing a large cult following among both women and men. It is remarkable to see how far OV has come since its beginnings, and as they continue to raise millions of dollars in venture capital, with its most recent $34 million Series C round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) in late 2018.