DTC Era   /   July 24, 2019

Outdoor Voices launches editorial platform The Recreationalist

By Ilana Kaplan

This story first appeared on Glossy, Modern Retail’s sister publication covering fashion and beauty.

Outdoor Voices is dipping its toes further into the editorial game.

The athleisure brand will launch on Wednesday a content marketing platform, The Recreationalist, which includes a blog and a zine.

Outdoor Voices’ overall mission, according to the brand, is to “get the world moving” and to “free fitness from performance.” The Recreationalist will be speaking to that ethos as a hub of “guidance, inspiration and motivation.” Chris Ralston, director of digital brand experience at Outdoor Voices, said the content marketing platform is intended to position Outdoor Voices as “a resource” for its customers.

“While a lot of the engagement happens offline, the community wants to have a place to engage when they can’t show up to an event,” said Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney. Outdoor Voices determined this through feedback collected across customer touch points by the brand’s Voice of the Customer team.

Content franchises will include “Doing Things With,” a feature centering on a conversation between Haney and an individual who inspires her, which takes place while doing an activity; “Take 10,” which be quick-hitter, “tongue-in-cheek” interviews; plus playlists; product recommendations; and travel guides. At launch, “Doing Things With” showcased conversations with Lululemon founder Chip Wilson while on a Vancouver hike and with model Sophie Koella.

“[With The Recreationalist] we’re seeing how recreation weaves in and out of the [customer’s] day-to-day and also expanding on the person from a holistic point-of-view. It’s not just about what they like to do every day, but also what they’re passionate about, what they enjoy,” said Ralston.

Offline, the brand will distribute an “artsy” seasonal print component that will be released quarterly, with the first issue coming out on launch day. “[The Recreationalist] is, first and foremost, a digital platform, and that’s what we’re leaning into, [but] we’re always trying to bridge digital and analog,” said Ralston. The print magazine is meant to complement the digital platform.

“It doesn’t feel like something super exclusive — it feels like something you can take notes on and use as a tool,” said Haney of the print piece.

To promote The Recreationalist, Outdoor Voices will eventually rely on out-of-home advertising with a focus on social media platforms Instagram and YouTube. In the first six months, however, Outdoor Voices will promote the brand organically, said Haney.

Outdoor Voices’ target demographic is university and post-university women and men. Its community is 60% women and 40% men, in terms of people that engage with the brand on the community level (based on daily activities in the brand’s stores, located in nine markets), and 90% women and 10% men in terms of shoppers. Haney hopes to make an editorial platform that appeals to all ages and all abilities, she said.

The Recreationalist currently has a staff of five employees and there are plans to double that number the next two weeks, said Haney. However, she doesn’t want to expand it too quickly, as that would put quality at risk, she said. How the digital platform is received post-launch will dictate growth, said Ralston.

At launch, the platform will not be subscriber-based or paywalled, and the team aims to publish 20 to 30 stories per month. “We’re trying to strike that balance between serious, focused and also fun,” said Ralston, adding that telling stories through an authentic lens is also key.

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