FEMALE FOUNDERS IN
THE INSTAGRAM ERA ARE
FINDING THAT THEY
NOT THEY WANT IT.
BY CARRIE BATTAN
Tyler Haney was fed up. Last November,
she was trying to fill an executive role at her
athleisure company, Outdoor Voices, and
had brought in an external recruiting firm.
Haney had been clear about what she was
looking for, but the recruiters seemed oblivious to—or disdainful of—her wishes. So the
30-year-old founder and CEO went on her
Instagram account and posted a sweaty gym
selfie to her nearly 50,000 followers with an
impassioned caption: “I may look sweet and
people call me cute . . . but underneath it all I
am a BEAST. It’s wild how many people try to
chip away at this strength on a daily basis.”
The message was nonspecific in a way
that prevented any controversy. And it was
more about energizing her users than selling
product—though perhaps those goals were
the same. Broadcasting her discontent was
a risk, but a calculated one. “People loved it,”
Haney says. The post drew nearly 6,000 likes.
Haney, whose company raised $34 million in March 2018 for a total of $56.5 million
in funding, is a formidable entrepreneur.
But she’s also a social media maven whose
customers enthusiastically follow her exploits, whether she’s taking a hike in Outdoor
Voices’ two-toned leggings or hitting the
Country Music Awards red carpet in a tulle
N E XT
ILLUSTRATIONS BY CECILIA CAS TELLI FASTCOMPANY.COM 11 MAY 2019