UPDATE: February 26, 2020: Tyler Haney has resigned entirely from Outdoor Voices, days after stepping down as CEO, the company confirmed to Retail Dive on Tuesday. “Tyler has made a personal decision to resign from Outdoor Voices,” a company spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. “We respect her 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. Our focus remains on the future of Outdoor Voices and doing what's best for our company and our team.”
At the same time, the company announced that an unspecified number of jobs were being cut. “To that end, after much consideration and exploration of numerous options, we have made the difficult decision to eliminate a small number of positions,” the company said. “We are grateful for the contributions of the individual team members who have been impacted.”
Outdoor Voices confirmed to Retail Dive on Friday that Tyler Haney, founder and CEO of the brand, is stepping down from her role as CEO. The Business of Fashion first reported the news, noting that it came amid losses at the direct-to-consumer athletics brand.
Haney will occupy a "new position as Founder," according to a company spokesperson, and will remain a member of the board of directors.
Cliff Moskowitz has been named interim CEO, and Haney will assist in the search for a new CEO, the company said.
As with many direct-to-consumer brands recently, the founder of Outdoor Voices is taking a step back.
"Outdoor Voices is committed to becoming the Resource for Recreation and the Company has an exciting future ahead. As we look to grow and to scale, Tyler Haney has transitioned from her role as Chief Executive of Outdoor Voices to a new position as Founder," the company said in a statement. "We have raised another round of financing from our current investor group to support our growth and expansion moving forward."
Sustainable growth has emerged as an obstacle for the direct-to-consumer model more broadly, as digital-first darlings like Wayfair and Chewy post huge losses and the glow of Casper's recent IPO was dimmed slightly by its lack of profitability.
One of the casualties of companies trying to bridge the gap between startup and sustainable growth is the top leadership, and founders or CEOs often step aside to hopefully cede their position to someone capable of elevating it to the next level of growth. It happened with Brandless in March of last year, when co-founder Tina Sharkey moved out of the CEO role so the company could look for a "seasoned retail operator."
Now that company, once praised as a disruptor, has shut down entirely.
Away appeared to be on a similar track, naming Lululemon's chief operating officer as its new CEO in December, and calling out his "invaluable expertise as Away enters its next phase of growth." Of course, that was also after an investigation by The Verge into Away's corporate culture, which focused heavily on co-founder Steph Korey. The brand later reversed its decision to have Korey step down. The plan is still to have Lululemon's Stuart Haselden take over the top spot in time, but for now Haselden and Korey will share the role.
Outdoor Voices' reference to its ambitions for growth and scale indicate it could be facing similar challenges to other DTC brands finding it difficult to turn a resonating brand into a profitable long-term business, while money from investors continues to foot the bills.