Outdoor Voices Founder Ty Haney Starts New Company in NFT Space

It would be a stretch to say that Ty Haney has changed the way we work. She didn’t start a craze for boutique fitness; It’s not Jane Fonda. But the outsourcing company he founded in 2014, Outdoor Voices, helped popularize a fitness model that is more about daily movement than body-stress athleticsism advertised by brands like Nike.

Outdoor Voice built the following with color-blocked compression leggings and all-in-one exercise dresses that could easily transition from gym to brunch. On social media, fans bragged about buying things in every shade and wearing matching sets and posting photos of #DoingThings in scenic spots. They also shared feedback on new styles and color ways in online forums. It was a customer-loyalty fairy tale.

Although she is no longer with the outdoor voice, Ms. Haney, 33, hopes to bring his principles of community building and customer engagement into a new field: the blockchain-based future of the Internet, known as Web3. She is betting that in the next phase of online retail, “Minting Items” will be the new “Items”.

Her latest venture, a platform called Try Your Best, will enable brands to collect input from customers such as digital collections (NFTs) and brand coins that can be used for bragging rights or towards purchases. These are the properties, Ms. Haney said most companies that offer loyalty can have potentially standing value as opposed to one-time discount codes and momentary benefits.

“The idea is that brands and fans create together, and the idea is to share value with those who create it,” Ms. Haney said in an interview.

Direct-to-consumer brands typically rely on different sources to get feedback from their busiest customers: Google Docs, Slack Base, DM. The goal of Try Your Best is to streamline the process and root out marketing dollars away from Facebook and Instagram, where Ms. Haney said rising costs have made it difficult for emerging brands to grow.

So far, 10 brands have signed up for Try Your Best’s pilot program, the company said, including Hill House Home, whose “nap dresses” became the height of epidemic loungewear, and head of the jewelry and glasses company. But initially, the only brand on the platform will be Jogi, a new brand led by Ms. Honey who sells products containing CBD and THCV.

Try your best to reach “Parade Customer, Junshine Customer, Glossier Customer – This Millennium, General Z-Type Audience,” she said.

Target users are “people who buy a brand because they like it and post about it on Instagram,” said Sean Judge, general partner of Castle Island Ventures, which specializes in blockchain-related investments and puts in 2 million. . – Moderate figure compared to outdoor voice fundraising. “It’s a way for them to connect with others in the community and have a direct relationship with brands to provide real-time feedback on new product ideas and where the brand should go.”

Ms. Haney said involving customers in design decisions has helped them achieve success behind some of Outdoor Voice’s most popular products. “We did it the way people buy every color – 25 colors – of exercise dress by bringing them upstream into the manufacturing process,” she said, but “there’s really no central tool for this kind of interaction.”

Casey Lewis, a trend researcher who writes about youth culture in his substack newsletter, After School, was keen on the idea of ​​reconsidering brands’ customer loyalty but was wary of the appeal of digital assets.

“Any time a brand can successfully build a community, it’s a big win for them. But it’s very difficult to produce or push that success, “said Ms. Lewis.” The big question is: do people care about NFTs, and will that be enough to get them involved and excited? “

Web 3 has been billed, often in vague and utopian terms, as an online ecosystem where users will draw power from the current phase of the Internet, the tech behemoths that dominate Web 2.0.

Kevin Verbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of “The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust,” said that “giving users strong ownership rights directly” could potentially change the balance of power, but any web3 promise is guaranteed. .

“There’s a web 3 that’s awesome and trying to make the world a better place, but just labeling it web 3 doesn’t mean that power dynamics will be magically reversed,” said Professor Verbach.

Ms. Haney is particularly interested in bringing women into Web3. “We’re seeing mainly male demos on Reddit and Discords, telling each other about all these opportunities,” she said. “By bringing brands with a large female audience base into crypto, it’s a really big opportunity.”

Try your best run on the Avalanche Blockchain, which Ms. Haney said she chose partly because her transactions use significantly less energy than Bitcoin or Etherium. (Presumably “green” mining operations, however, are much more energy intensive than other financial transactions.)

When using tokens to drive sales, try your best to make money by collecting monthly fees from brands and potentially sharing revenue.

Mr. The judge, an investor, previously worked with a range of direct-to-consumer companies, and heard constant frustration from them about the rising cost of advertising to consumers on Facebook and Instagram. Ms. Haney “experienced these pain issues for himself,” he said.

Outdoor voice was a big success. Ms. Haney and Company were the subject of a glittering feature in The New Yorker that compared outdoor voice to Lululemon and raised more than $ 50 million in venture capital. It also caught the attention of Mickey Drexler, a retail legend who met Gap and J. Led the change in the crew. He became chairman of the board and drew investors to the brand.

But before the epidemic broke out in the United States, Ms. Haney’s successful run in Outdoor Voice was halted as investors questioned his leadership. Disagreements began between the young founder and Mr. Drexler delayed opening an expensive store, and a series of experienced retail executives left the company, struggling with relocation from New York to Austin, Texas. Internal difficulties were described in detail in articles in The New York Times and BuzzFeed News.

Ms. Haney remembers thinking at the time, “My life is about to end.”

But as the news cycle progressed, so did she. “It sucked but it didn’t hit me, and it gave me more power to rebuild and show that I could set and implement a vision against it,” she said. “It feels good to take full responsibility.”

Ms. Haney resigned from the brand in February 2020 amid a flurry of investments and rejoined the title founder two months later. In January 2021, she left the company and board to pursue projects, including Try Your Best. She still maintains a stake in Outdoor Voice.

Mr. The judge was not related to Mrs. Henny’s feud with investors in Outdoor Voice, and was seen as a vote of confidence, since many former employees of the firm have joined him in Try Your Best.

“There are challenges with every type of business, and some are more public than others,” Mr. The judge said. “I think I’ve learned an incredible amount of money about building a tie business.”

Ms. Haney said her start-up is coming at a time when the traditional direct-to-consumer model – which has built businesses like Warby Parker, Everlane and Glossier – is “broken” after years of over-reliance on social marketing.

At one point, she said, Outdoor Voice allocates about 30 percent of its total funds to reach customers on Facebook and Instagram. She hopes that doing your best can help the brand reduce those costs.

Separately, young people may be less willing to give up their ideas and time for free, Try Your Best answers the question of how to pay them.

“One thing with General Z is that they want to be rewarded for their input and advice,” Ms. Lewis said. “This is not a firm that is willing to do things just for you.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.