As the activewear space flourishes, it seems there's a brand for every sort of mover. Those with serious minds and a love of high-intensity workouts, or those who aspire to that attitude toward exercise, can go to Under Armour. For a lighthearted, more recreational doer, there's Outdoor Voices, a two-and-a-half-year-old brand that just raised $7 million in funding to keep expanding its vision of approachable, cool activewear.
Foregoing the neon brights that tend to designate exercise-appropriate garments, Outdoor Voices works in an appealingly understated color palette and plays with color-blocking in streamlined cuts. On its site, you'll find two-tone leggings in navy and charcoal, along with "dove" and "ash." This simple, stylish approach to dressing to sweat is certainly attracting the right people. In 2014, J.Crew started selling Outdoor Voices — a partnership that has since been discontinued as the younger brand looks to build a name for itself separate from the J.Crew umbrella — and among Outdoor Voices's investors for this funding round is APC, the French epitome of simplicity and things done right.
"We really admire the longevity of APC and how focused they are on making basics that are really high quality," says Outdoor Voices founder and CEO Tyler Haney. "It's amazing to have them as advisers for us."
The brand's investors also include General Catalyst, which led the $7 million raise, Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund and 14W. To date, Outdoor Voices has closed $9.5 million in funding.
Outdoor Voices currently has one brick-and-mortar shop in Austin, Texas, and while e-commerce continues to lead Outdoor Voices's sales, it's now investing further in physical shops, which double as hubs for group jogging and pilates classes. Based on the results from the Austin shop, which was something of a testing ground for Outdoor Voices, doing so seems to be well worth it.
"The number one thing is that having a physical presence dramatically increases the traffic from that region online," Haney says. "Texas is like two times what we would expect from that region because of Austin."
November will bring a temporary shop to New York's Soho neighborhood, and Haney says the team plans to have three permanent stores open by the end of 2016, although the cities they'll be in are TBD.
Even more than retail, though, Outdoor Voices is focused on developing its product diversity, having relied on a tight collection of core styles thus far. (A recent and relatively colorful collaboration with Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller added a little zip to its offerings.) The team is releasing a merino collection for holiday and plans to launch tennis, golf and swim capsules for summer.