Outdoor Voices, a women’s activewear brand, announced that it has raised a new round of funding from NaHCO3, the investment management platform of fashion and retail entrepreneur Ashley Merrill. In conjunction with this equity investment, Merrill has joined Outdoor Voices Board of Directors as chairwoman.
Financial terms of the private investment were not disclosed.
Merrill is the founder and CEO of Lunya, a luxury sleepwear brand, which she started in 2014. She brings experience in retail operations, branding and product development to Outdoor Voices.
The news comes a day after Vogue Business reported on Merrill’s appointment while also reporting that founder Tyler Haney is returning as an active member after resigning as CEO in February. Vogue also stated that Mickey Drexler, the former CEO of J.Crew and Gap, had stepped down from the board and Cliff Moskowitz, interim CEO, had also recently left the company.
As chairwoman, Merrill will work closely with Outdoor Voices executive team at the Board level. A formal search led by the Board is underway to identify a permanent CEO with proven experience scaling and growing retail companies and who embodies Outdoor Voices’ values and brand.
“I have been a long-time customer and fan of Outdoor Voices brand and mission to ‘Get the World Moving’,” said Merrill. “I am thrilled to be joining Team OV and look forward to bringing my experiences at Lunya to help build a healthy, sustainable business that drives value for our team, customers, and community.”
The company said that while the retail industry “has been severely challenged by the economic impact of COVID-19, “Outdoor Voices has demonstrated resiliency and been able to stay top-of-mind with its community and customers.” Outdoor Voices recently launched a collaboration with cycling brand Rapha and over the past several months has increased its online community engagement with virtual programming including “Virtual Recess,” a quick endorphin boost hosted by different instructors within the Outdoor Voices community on Instagram.
“We are excited to welcome Ashley to Outdoor Voices Board and collaborate to serve and engage our community, achieve our mission, and further scale the business for long-term success,” said Phillip Niels, a member of Outdoor Voices’ Board of Directors and partner at Oakwell Capital. “At Outdoor Voices, we are dedicated to our pursuit of freeing fitness from performance by making daily Recreation fun and accessible to all, and we continue to make positive progress in growing and improving the business in a challenging retail environment.”
Photo courtesy Outdoor Voices