Outdoor Voices, a DTC Athletic Brand, Faces New Headwinds

The company’s CEO has stepped down

Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices' former CEO, Tyler Haney, will remain at the company. Getty Images
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Outdoor Voices, a direct-to-consumer athletic brand, is facing numerous troubles.

The company’s founder and CEO, Tyler Haney, was originally stepping down from her role as CEO but staying on in the position of founder and with a seat on the board of directors. However,  BuzzFeedNews since reported Haney has stated she’s resigned completely from the company.

“Tyler has made a personal decision to resign from Outdoor Voices,” said an Outdoor Voices spokesperson on February 25. “We respect her choice and wish her the best. As the founder of our company and a creative visionary, she brought Outdoor Voices to an important stage in our evolution. Our focus remains on the future of Outdoor Voices and doing what’s best for our company and our team. To that end, after much consideration and exploration of numerous options, we have made the difficult decision to eliminate a small number of positions. We are grateful for the contributions of the individual team members who have been impacted. 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.”

According to a Business of Fashion report, the company received a new round of funding from General Catalyst, it’s at a different valuation (after failing to raise another round from other investors). In October, the company closed its New York Office, which included firing its creative director, Tiffany Wilkinson-Raemer. The company has raised more than $56 million.

“Outdoor Voices is committed to becoming the Resource for Recreation and the Company has an exciting future ahead,” said a company spokesperson on February 21 when Haney stepped down as CEO. “As we look to grow and to scale, Tyler Haney has transitioned from her role as Chief Executive of Outdoor Voices to a new position as Founder. We have raised another round of financing from our current investor group to support our growth and expansion moving forward. Tyler will remain a member of the Board of Directors and will assist with the search for a new CEO. Until we fill that role, Cliff Moskowitz will serve as the Company’s Interim CEO.”

Adweek has reached out for comment to Wilkinson-Raemer, and did not hear back by press time.

In addition to these executive shakeups, the Business of Fashion report detailed that Outdoor Voices was losing $2 million per month in 2019 on $40 million in annual sales. The news around Outdoor Voices comes at a time when the DTC industry is reckoning with itself, with companies like Birchbox laying off 25% of its global staff and Casper’s rocky IPO that led the mattress brand’s valuation to drop to $468 million from $1.1 billion in 2018.

Outdoor Voices is a classic DTC company lauded for its community-building efforts and wooing customers through free events held at its numerous stores. Last year, the brand doubled down on attracting customers beyond its products, with efforts like releasing The Recreationalist, a content website filled with posts on taking part in activities and offering interviews with notable people in the industry such as Chip Wilson, founder and former CEO of Lululemon. A month later, Outdoor Voices launched its biggest campaign to date, including an out-of-home component to announce the release of its highest-rated and best-selling product (at the time): the Exercise Dress.

However, for months, industry insiders have seen the writing on the wall, noting that DTC brands were in for a correction in the market. With customer acquisition costs up on digital platforms, DTC brands have been scrambling to find new ways to gain and retain customers, such as opening up brick-and-mortar shops or partnering with other DTC brands.

Other moves include gearing up for a potential IPO, such as Away, which recently went through a series of missteps as well with the company’s co-CEO, Steph Korey, who was called out by employees for creating a harmful work culture. Korey originally stepped down after the fallout but stepped back into the role weeks later.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comment from Outdoor Voices after it was posted. The story was updated again with additional news about Haney resigning from the company and with a subsequent comment from the company. 

@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.