It would probably be a stretch to say that Ty Haney changed the way we work out. She didn’t start a boutique fitness craze; she’s not Jane Fonda. But Outdoor Voices, the athleisure company she founded in 2014, helped to popularize a fitness paradigm that has more to do with everyday movement than the body-stressing athleticism advertised by brands like Nike.
Outdoor Voices built a following with color-blocked compression leggings and all-in-one exercise dresses that could easily transition from gym to brunch. On social media, fans boasted about buying items in every shade and posted pictures of themselves #DoingThings in scenic locales while wearing matching sets. They also shared feedback on new styles and colorways in online forums. It was a customer-loyalty fairy tale.
Though she is no longer with Outdoor Voices, Ms. Haney, 33, is hoping to bring its tenets of community building and consumer engagement into a new sphere: the blockchain-based future of the internet known as web3. She’s betting that in the next phase of online retail, “minting things” will be the new “doing things.”
Her latest venture, a platform called Try Your Best, will enable brands to collect input from customers in exchange for rewards such as digital collectibles (NFTs) and brand coins that can be used for bragging rights or toward purchases. These are assets, Ms. Haney said, that could potentially have lasting value, as opposed to the one-time discount codes and fleeting perks most companies offer loyalists.
“The idea is that brands and fans build together, and the concept is to share value with those who create it,” Ms. Haney said in an interview.
Direct-to-consumer brands have typically relied on disparate sources to solicit feedback from their most engaged customers: Google Docs, Slack bases, DMs. Try Your Best aims to streamline that process, and to route marketing dollars away from Facebook and Instagram, where Ms. Haney said that soaring costs have made it harder 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 pandemic loungewear, and Vada, a jewelry and eyewear company. But at the start, the only brand on the platform will be Joggy, a new brand led by Ms. Haney that sells products containing CBD and THCV.
She said that Try Your Best hopes to reach “the Parade customer, the JuneShine customer, the Glossier customer — these millennial, Gen Z-type audiences.”</…….