Athletic performance-wear company Outdoor Voices will open its sixth brick-and-mortar location, its first store on the West Coast, on Saturday, the company said in a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
The store, located in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood, will soon be joined by another in Los Angeles, according to the company’s website.
Headquartered in Austin, TX, Outdoor Voices was founded in 2013 by Colorado native Tyler Haney as an antidote to Lululemon for people who want to be active without necessarily identifying as serious athletes.
Outdoor Voices has built a loyal following, including none other than Mickey Drexler. The retail guru most recently CEO of J. Crew, has become the board chairman of outdoor retailer, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. He left the position at J. Crew in June, but remains on the board.
"I’ve been impressed with Tyler and Outdoor Voices since day one," Drexler said in a statement. "The product and the larger community she’s built around Outdoor Voices is incredibly compelling."
Drexler, through his newly formed Drexler Ventures, in August led a $9 million funding round for the company, which has attracted some $22.5 million in investments since its founding. Other investors include General Catalyst, Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund and 14W.
The company began selling online only, but, like so many once pure-play e-commerce ventures, has expanded with brick-and-mortar stores. Despite the pressure on physical retail from an overbuilt environment and the growth of e-commerce, opening stores has emerged as a necessary path for growth.
Indeed, physical stores, and their much maligned partners in retail — malls — at least at the high end continue to experience growth in sales per square foot, according to a report from L2, "Death of PurePlay Retail" conducted with Simon Property Group. According to the report, while internet darlings like Warby Parker and Casper Mattress are often thought of as examples of the success of pure-play, they’re likely to see entrenched success by opening stores. In fact, many such pure-play ventures are well aware of the need for brick-and-mortar; two-thirds of venture capital-backed e-retailers raised funds "with the explicit purpose of building stores," according to the report.