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This 27-year-old CEO is taking on Lululemon and Nike

Harder, stronger, faster, better. These terms have long been ingrained into brands that have dominated the athletic apparel market for decades. But for Tyler Haney, the messaging never quite resonated.

Haney, now 27, grew up in Boulder, Colorado, hiking, playing basketball and hurdling. She never took to the idea of wearing neon spandex with hyper-competitive messaging, despite her love of being active.

"While you're running over hurdles in high school track, that message makes sense. But I realized that there was a powerful combination about being feminine and athletic that wasn't embodied in a brand," Haney says.

She was meant to go to college to run hurdles. She instead took a year off and decided to attend the business program at Parsons at The New School in New York City, graduating in 2012. There, Haney says she became "obsessed with technical materials."

She continued to learn about the science behind raw materials, and how they work with your body in different states of sweat. Haney eventually decided she wanted to make her own clothes, and began working with fabric mills.

"I wanted to create a fabric that functions across multiple activities, but looks more like the brands I wear every single day — something less sporty...