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Activewear Brand Outdoor Voices Gets $1.1M

Omnichannel activewear retailer Outdoor Voices has brought in $1.1 million in a bid to expand so it can challenge Lululemon and other activewear brands, according to TechCrunch.

The round was led by General Catalyst, with participation from Red Sea Ventures, Collaborative Fund, SWTLF Ventures and Burch Creative Capital -- a group of investors who have also backed Warby Parker, Sweetgreen and Blue Bottle Coffee. Sweetgreen co-CEO Nicolas Jammet will join the Outdoor Voices board.

While competing against the $1.8 billion, 302-store Lululemon Athletica is daunting enough -- especially for a mainly-eCommerce retailer that currently has a single brick-and-mortar e-store in Austin, Texas -- Outdoor Voices is also going up against Gap's Athleta division and a recent round of newcomers in the yoga-clothing niche, leading The Washington Post to ask whether the U.S. has reached "peak yoga pants."

Outdoor Voices' answer is to stretch beyond the usual black or neon yoga workout apparel to include clothing that can also be worn on the street. Along with tight leggings and running shirts, the startup's line also includes sweatpants, sweatshirts and T-shirts that a customer could wear in a marathon or on a walk to do errands.

"We know that being active isn’t usually the defining factor of a person, it’s just one piece of who someone is," Outdoor Voices CEO Tyler Haney said. "We want the OV brand to take inspiration from people who are active, but not necessarily defined by the way they work out."

Along with a wider range of styles, Outdoor Voices is also differentiating itself with a concept it calls a "Kit" -- a bundled package of products that are specifically intended to work together. Women's Kits include sweats, leggings, a bra, a hoodie and a Baggu tote for a $300 bundled price (on $400 worth of items sold individually), while men's Kits include sweats, shorts, a crewneck sweater and a tote, bundled at $230 (with $300 worth of separate merchandise).

The company also sells full-size backpacks, bicycles and other sports-related items, giving it more room to spread out in case "peak yoga pants" has become a reality after all.

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