Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney says adios altogether to the company amid layoffs
Last week, the Business of Fashion broke the news that cofounder and CEO Tyler Haney was stepping down from her role as CEO of the activewear label, citing slowing growth for the company and reporting that mismanagement was one reason for executive turnover at the top of the organization. The company soon after confirmed the news to us, saying that Haney would assume a new position as “founder” and remain on the company’s board of directors, even helping in its search for a new CEO.
None of this sat very well with Haney, apparently, who last week suggested in an email that the BoF report wasn’t entirely accurate, and now, according to the company, has “made a personal decision to resign from Outdoor Voices.” As it said in a statement sent to us yesterday of the newest development, “We respect [Tyler’s] 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.”
It isn’t just Haney that’s out the door, though. According to the same statement, to curb costs, the company has conducted layoffs — which we’ve learned involved 15 corporate and field positions out of what we estimate to be roughly 300 people employed by Outdoor Voices.
Says the company: “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.”
Haney reportedly owns 10 percent of the brand, so even while she’s moving on, she presumably wants to see it succeed. Indeed, according to a Slack message to staffers republished by BuzzFeed, she wrote to them: “You all know how much I value and I am incredibly proud of the brand community and team we have built together to get the world moving over the last six years,” she wrote in the message, according to BuzzFeed News. “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I am so grateful to each and every one of you. THANK YOU. Sending all of my love. The future is bright and it’s yours for the taking.”
Outdoor Voices, founded in 2013, had raised $64 million in funding as of 2018, including from General Catalyst, Forerunner Ventures, GV, and Drexler Ventures, the family office of Mickey Drexler, formerly of J.Crew fame.
Late last year, it raised additional funding from its investors, it confirmed to us last week, without disclosing the amount of funding. (According to that original BoF report, the company tried raising new funding late last year — presumably in part from new investors — but “had difficulty.”)
BoF also reported that the company was losing roughly $2 million monthly in 2019, with annual sales of around $40 million, numbers that Outdoor Voices has not disputed.
With Haney now completely out the door, it’s up to those who remain to turn things around. The big question is how.
According to a source close to the company, which began as a direct-to-consumer brand, it isn’t planning any store closures (yet). Outdoor Voices has 11 locations, including in Austin, New York, and Nashville.
In the meantime, while Outdoor Voices searches for a new CEO, it has installed Cliff Moskowitz as the top boss on an interim basis. Moskowitz comes from InterLuxe, a kind of private equity firm that works with fashion and luxury brands where he has served as president for the last six years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Pictured above, center: Tyler Haney, speaking at a 2018 Disrupt event.