The shift from retail to online shopping has been underway for years, which has set the stage for more niche-focused brands to launch with direct-to-consumer products in a successful way. Outdoor Voices, an ecommerce-based activewear brand that has just raised $1.1 million, is a perfect example.
The company is looking to take on Lululemon with a product line that expands beyond the usual black and neon super-sporty look to something that can be both casual and comfortable whether users are working out or lounging.
The financing was led by General Catalyst, with participation from Red Sea Ventures, Collaborative Fund, SWTLF Ventures and Burch Creative Capital, a list of investors also responsible for backing names like Warby Parker, Sweetgreen and Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Sweetgreen cofounder and co-CEO Nic Jammet will be joining the board.
The idea behind Outdoor Voices is to provide something that isn’t solely dedicated to jogging or yoga or tennis, but rather made to “do things”, whatever that activity might be. For example, the line doesn’t just include tight leggings and running shirts, but also includes sweatpants and sweat shirts and comfy t-shirts that could be worn in a marathon or on a walk to do some errands.
Another differentiator for the company is the idea of a ‘kit.’
Outdoor Voices sells various products in a single package that they call an ‘OV Kit.’ One of the kits, for example, includes a pair of sweats, a pair of leggings, a cross-back bra, and a hoodie, all thrown into a ‘Doing Things’ Baggu tote. The company says the retail value of that kit is $400, but sells it for $300 online.
“We know that being active isn’t usually the defining factor of a person, it’s just one piece of who someone is,” said cofounder and CEO Tyler Haney. “We want the OV brand to take inspiration from people who are active, but not necessarily defined by the way they work out.”
Outdoor Voices has one brick-and-mortar location in Austin with plans to expand that physical retail presence in the future.