Today, the cult activewear brand Outdoor Voices launches women’s leggings and bras engineered for high-impact activities. Every aspect of the garments–from the cool hand-feel of the fabric to the thick waistband–came from the brand’s intimate conversations with customers. OV poured over these insights, then spent months refining pieces for this collection.
“We’ve always strived to be a customer-led brand,” says founder and CEO Ty Haney. “As we get bigger, we have to get more creative about engaging with our customers, but we’re always turning to them for feedback.”
OV fans are a loyal bunch. Earlier this year, they rushed to the brand’s defense when a competitor created activewear that seemed to rip off OV’s iconic colorblocking aesthetic. Haney has worked hard to cultivate this devoted following. She regularly talks with customers on Instagram, which is how she discovered, back in 2017, that there was a desire for high-impact gear. “Many found it very hard to find a bra that was comfortable, supportive, and also attractive,” Haney says. “High performance doesn’t have to equate with ugly.”
The OV team developed an exclusive fabric that provides compression, while still maintaining the comfortable, relaxed feel that the brand is known for. The leggings went through 12 iterations before this final product was born, and tested each piece through activities like spin classes and boot camps. The new collection features colorblock patterns, but also fun polka dots.
This rounds out the brand’s assortment of products, which have specialized on low-impact gear until now. Haney founded OV four years ago to provide an alternative to the competitive approach brands like Nike and Adidas adopt. She encouraged her customers to think of their everyday pursuits–like walking the dog, or taking a gentle hike with friends–as part of an active lifestyle. This approach has worked, transforming the startup into a major player on the marketplace, with eight stores (and five more coming) and $56.6 million in VC funding to keep growing.