When you hear about an under-30 entrepreneur running a sportswear empire whose fans include Gwyneth Paltrow and Leandra Medine, and whose board is overseen by Mickey Drexler, naturally you’d assume that she might be a high-strung, type-A New Yorker ruling her clothing kingdom from a silver skyscraper. But Tyler Haney, founder of Outdoor Voices, carries the role with ease and makes all the hard work look effortless.
Growing up at the base of the Flatirons mountain range outside Boulder, Colorado, Haney spent her time hiking, biking, riding horses, and running track. “I was obsessed with Nike,” she says. “The brand had a psychological impact on me. When I wore its clothes, I ran faster by osmosis.”
Eventually Haney slowed down. Post–high school, she studied business in New York City, and her hunger for competitive sports dwindled. “I didn’t have much motivation to exercise,” she says. “It wasn’t about crossing the ﬁnish line. I just wanted to move my body.”
In 2013, while jogging on the West Side Highway, a lightbulb went off. “I felt like an imposter,” says Haney. “I was running a nine-minute mile, but I was dressed like an Olympic athlete. It didn’t feel right anymore.” At that moment, the seed for Outdoor Voices—what she envisioned as a “comfortable, creative sportswear line”—was planted.
Obsessively researching sweat-resistant materials, attending tons of trade shows, and jumping over initial manufacturing hurdles, Haney began shipping limited orders to small boutiques by January 2014. A few months after that, J.Crew picked up the collection—ﬁve staple pieces (crop top, two-tone leggings, jogger sweats, sports bra, and hoodie)—that, to this day, make up the core line. A year later, OV received $7.5 million in funding and started opening a handful of shops across the U.S.
At home—a mid-century ranch Haney shares with her boyfriend of six years, restaurateur Larry McGuire—she is still in constant motion. Not surprisingly, the mostly open space ﬂows easily from indoors to out.
A sliding glass door off the kitchen and dining room connects to the back deck, where the couple recently built a wood-ﬁred oven for hosting pizza parties by the pool. (Haney takes a dip every morning and makes spinning part of her daily routine, along with biotin vitamins.)
Much like the OV aesthetic, the house is a well-edited mix of clean design and an earthy-with-a-kick palette. Peppered among the cowhide rugs and minimalist side tables (a score from Marfa, Texas) are a few unexpected details—a plant growing straight up out of the bathroom ﬂoor, modern neon house numbers, and irreverent artwork, like a Tom Sachs trophy.
Having recently migrated the company HQ from New York to Austin—where being outside is an integral part of city life—Haney’s infectious energy fosters an office culture that keeps her team (quite literally!) on their toes.
“During a big meeting, Tyler had everyone stand up and do jumping jacks,” says Biz Lindsay, director of public relations. “We do that kind of thing a lot. She calls it 'changing the chemistry'—altering the vibe, increasing productivity, and restoring enthusiasm.”
Stretching over three buildings, the OV offices favor completely open ﬂoor plans, with glass conference rooms (named after different national parks) that are furnished in vintage rugs, Noguchi lamps, and cork-lined walls—along with bikes, kick scooters, and skateboards. “At the end of the day,” says Haney, “we’ll shoot hoops or go jump in Barton Springs.”
Her obsession with #DoingThings (also the company’s much-followed hashtag) has been part of the brand’s identity since its inception. “Doing things is better than not doing things,” she explains of the “upbeat, non-prescriptive” take on exercise. “My goal is to help everyone ﬁnd ways to be active every day.”
The OV retail spaces radiate a similar accessibility, with each store integrating elements from the surrounding landscape. “In San Francisco, the dressing rooms are paneled in cedar and the ﬂoor is made from Heath Ceramics tiles. The L.A. shop is bright and ﬁlled with geodes—you feel like you’re in Runyon Canyon. The Aspen pop-up incorporates raw rock and ﬁr plywood,” says Haney. “Still, there’s a consistent feel to all of them. They’re like little clubhouses.”
Tracking OV’s meteoric success, everyone will want to be part of the club. This year, the company is rolling out new products (including activity-speciﬁc capsule collections), along with a string of new stores. In the meantime, Haney plans to keep moving.
“Energy,” she says, “is my most valuable resource.”
Tyler’s Spring Inspirations
“A lot of traditional activewear is black and purple. It’s not pleasing to look at,” explains Haney. “I wanted to use beautifully earthy, muted tones—colors that you would typically see in fashion—and mix them with non-neon brights.”
Her aesthetic influences range from the work of painter Nathalie Du Pasquier to photographer Franco Fontana’s near-Abstract landscapes—which appear in the latest collection in the form of fluid interconnecting shapes—and even the terrazzo palette of Brutalist playgrounds. Many of Haney’s visual cues are shared on OV’s blog, The Recreationalist.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue with the headline "The Front Runner."
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