And for Ty Haney’s next act… The Founder of Outdoor Voices Helps Brands Pump NFTs and Web 3.0


Few people know better how to connect with consumers than Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney. At its peak in 2018, the Austin, Texas-based activewear company had a $110 million valuation and legions of fans on social media. When the brand premiered its first line of swimsuits that same year, 10,000 people were on the waiting list.

So it’s not surprising that in her next act, after being pushed out of Outdoor Voices in 2020, she’s once again trying to forge a close connection with consumers: this time, however, she wants to help other companies make those connections.

Earlier this month, the 33-year-old entrepreneur launched Try Your Best, a web 3.0 platform designed to help consumer goods brands provide incentives to their most loyal customers to share their feedback and preferences.

How it works: Brands sign up to join the platform and pay a flat monthly fee for their membership. It’s free for consumers to sign up for the platform, which is currently in beta mode and accepting new users every week. Once adopted, consumers will be able to follow and engage with their favorite brands, answer questions and provide feedback on their preferences (for example, they may be asked to vote for their favorite color a garment may come in). In exchange for their valuable advice, which is shared directly with brands on a blockchain — meaning the information is secure and accessible without the intervention of an intermediary (such as a social media platform) — users earn tokens and collectibles that can then be used to redeem benefits such as discount codes, exclusive products, and more.

So far, 10 pilot partners have signed up to join Try Your Best, including New York City-based fashion and homeware brand Hill House Home and Austin-based jewelry and eyewear brand Vada. Try Your Best, based in Tuscon, Arizona, will also incubate and launch brands directly on its platform; the first is Joggy, a cannabis-based wellness product line, launching in April.

Haney believes that the potential to connect closely with loyal customers is a compelling reason for brands to sign up to Try Your Best. “Investing in the community is crucial to building a brand, but it needs to be refined and some new tools used,” she says. With the proliferation of direct-to-consumer brands, it has become more expensive for businesses to attract new customers through paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram, she adds.

Moreover, community building on these platforms also comes with some challenges. Social platforms give brands the opportunity to engage with customers, allowing them to request immediate feedback in polls and submission boxes via Instagram Stories, for example. However, Haney points out that Instagram data is difficult to measure and organize. “Insights aren’t useful that way,” she says.

In a world of ever-changing algorithms and a lack of third-party cookies, the opportunity for businesses to communicate directly and easily with customers on a blockchain is very valuable – there is no middleman to hide or misinterpret data. Try Your Best runs on Avalanche, a carbon neutral blockchain that uses less energy than both Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Haney sees Try Your Best as a platform for the growth of other brands, but she knows she has yet to convince users to get started with the company itself. As more brands join the platform, they can eventually acquire new users. In the meantime, she says customer education will be key, as it will take time to get customers to sign up in the first place.

“One hurdle is definitely, ‘What the hell is an NFT?’” she says.

Haney specifically selected the 10 brands that will test on Try Your Best because they already have dedicated communities of followers, meaning it should be easier for them to convince loyal fans that the digital tokens associated with their brands have inherent have value. They also have commercial value, which sets Try Your Best apart from potential competitors such as Novel and NFT Pro. But a token on Try Your Best is not just a badge of honor or a piece of digital art. “Every tokenized experience has a purpose, so it unlocks access to something or special benefits or exclusive products,” she says.

Try Your Best currently has 22 employees, many of whom are Outdoor Voices alums, and the company received a $2 million investment from Castle Island Ventures.

The platform, Haney says, has the potential to dramatically change the way consumer goods companies grow their audiences. After all, her experience with Outdoor Voices taught her that community building is what drives “passionate, engaged fans buying 20 colors of the workout dress” (one of Outdoor Voices’ best-selling items). While the relationship between web 3.0 and physical products is still in its infancy, Haney thinks it’s one that could be nothing short of groundbreaking.

“We believe we can meaningfully change the way a business grows,” she says. “It’s exciting to go from creating a brand that was successful and that I’m proud of, to an even greater opportunity to create the playbook and toolkit that helps brands grow and be successful in any situation.”

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