ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado native returned to her home state earlier this month at the Food & Wine Classic to share her success story in the world of retail, redefining recreation with her clothing brand Outdoor Voices.
“Activity took on a whole new meaning,” said Ty Haney, founder of the company. “It was less about the competitiveness, kind of pressure to perform, and rather how am I going to get out there on a daily basis to stay active.”
Haney remembers the moment she envisioned the brand. She graduated from college and was out on a run in New York City. Her clothing looked like she was ready to compete on the track, not enjoy the day outside.
“That was the moment I said, we need to set a product that becomes your uniform. You almost don’t have to make a decision with what you’re going to wear to go run.”
The importance of a healthy lifestyle came to Haney early as a child born and raised in Boulder. But she thinks her fellow Coloradans worry too much about their fitness performance.
“Boulder is a place where activity is baked into everything you do,” she said. “There’s less of a separation between your gym life and your normal life.”
Haney says she would often go on hikes before school and ride her bike just to get a snack in town. She also loved to play several sports in school.
“The goal was to cross the finish line first,” Haney remembered. “You wanted to be the fastest in track.”
At the time, she says her clothing and the brands she wore reflected that competitive spirit native to her hometown.
“The clothing really, kind of, gave you that superpower feeling,” she said. “You felt like you were going to the Olympics because you had silver bullets on you and like muscle mapping, kind of like a Wonder Woman suit.”
But she wanted a brand that didn’t make exercise intimidating. It was less about coming in first and more about frequency in activity.
“When you’re little and your mom says, use your indoor voice,” Haney explained about her company’s name. “So it’s got this spirit, that’s the spirit about unbounded enthusiasm for what you do.”
Outdoor Voices was born out of challenging that traditional teaching from parents. Haney admits there were struggles along the way and she still faces challenges each week. But the past few years have been good for the company and its creator. She made the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for Retail and E-Commerce in 2016.
The brand has seen a lot of success on Instagram, too. Using the hashtag #DoingThings the company and its fans highlight the theme of Outdoor Voices anywhere they are active. They already have more than 120,000 followers on the popular social media app.
“Doing things, moving your body and having fun outlasts a win,” said Haney.
But building a community isn’t just virtual for Outdoor Voices. They encourage activities with other people at their four store locations in New York and Texas, where customers can join hiking and jogging clubs with other shoppers that have similar interests.
“The real, kind of, goal behind Outdoor Voices is you’re out there because you enjoy it, rather than you feel the pressure to do it.”
American Express invited Haney to one of their events at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The company wants to encourage “Mindfulness” to its clients and introduce them to business leaders already practicing that concept. The idea is to prioritize more balance in your life so you are more productive and better at making decisions in business. A few “Success Makers” like Haney spoke to other young entrepreneurs at a gathering sponsored by American Express.
The resort town was a fitting location to host the Outdoor Voices founder because they are planning a pop-up shop that will bring her company to Colorado.
“We see Aspen as a spot with a ton of recreational electricity.”
Clothing made especially for that location will be available there from July to September.
Haney is excited to see her company make a stop in her home state. She hopes it challenges that thinking Coloradans are known for, the approach she had herself back in school. Her new view on exercise and staying active is something she still lives up to outside of work.
“For me it’s about frequency, so if I’m out there every day, that’s a win for me,” Haney said. “I don’t time myself, it’s really more about creating a routine and sticking to it.”