Inspiration4 min read

Celebrating 5 Years of Outer

Celebrating 5 Years of Outer

We are beyond thrilled to mark our 5-year anniversary this year -- all thanks to the incredible support and faith you've shown in us! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

This anniversary put us in a reflective mood and we wanted to take a trip down memory lane to share some of the key moments that have shaped Outer over the last five years. From the LinkedIn message that kicked this all off to our appearance on Shark Tank, every milestone represents our commitment to delivering you comfortable, durable, and sustainable outdoor furniture that inspires you to spend more time outdoors.

The Beginning

In June 2017, co-founder Jiake cold-messaged Terry Lin on LinkedIn. This message landed in Terry's inbox at a serendipitous moment in his career; feeling professionally listless and constantly traveling away from his family, Terry's interest was piqued and this sparked the birth of Outer.

Outer Co-Founders Jiake Liu and Terry Lin
Outer Co-Founders Jiake Liu and Terry Lin

As Jiake and Terry workshopped what would become Outer's mission, the two learned a staggering statistic: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans spend a whopping 93% of their time indoors (87% of their life is inside buildings, then another 6% of their life is in automobiles). This surprising figure drove Jiake and Terry to help people reconnect with the outdoors and the two aimed to create outdoor furniture that would entice you to step outside and enjoy nature's beauty.

To that end, Terry aimed to tackle the common issues that made relaxing outside, frankly, annoying: soggy and sagging cushions, cumbersome furniture covers, constant and tedious cleaning and maintenance, and flimsy frame materials. He was adamant, "If we can't solve these problems, we shouldn't do this at all. We don't want to make more of the same."

The Game-Changing OuterShell®

In a huge step towards that goal of making outdoor living easier, the Outer design team introduced the revolutionary OuterShell® in 2018. This patented outdoor furniture cover effortlessly unfurls and protects your sofa from the elements making outdoor living easier by keeping your furniture clean, dry, and ready to use. The innovative OuterShell® became an integral part of our outdoor furniture collection, eventually including our outdoor dining tables.

The OuterShell rolled behind the Palisades Cream cushion on the Outer All-Weather Brown Wicker Outdoor Sofa
The OuterShell

Outer's debut collection was modest and, for the first two years, consisted only of the All-Weather Wicker outdoor sofa and chairs in brown wicker with Pacific Grey Fog and Palisades Cream cushions. As the team sought to further perfect the durability and longevity of this signature outdoor sofa, they developed Outer's proprietary fabric: the OuterWeave™. This high-performance fabric, made from recycled materials, is water-resistant, stain-resistant, mold-resistant, and fade-resistant, while still offering a soft touch and a crisp appearance season after season.

Introducing Neighborhood Showrooms

In 2018, Outer launched the Neighborhood Showroom program outside of our Santa Monica headquarters, revolutionizing the way you shop for outdoor furniture. This unique experience allows you to see, touch, and ask questions about Outer products in the homes and outdoor spaces of real Outer customers. Today, our Neighborhood Showroom program has over 1,000 hosts across the United States who generously and graciously spend their doors to their neighbors and share their honest opinions on Outer.

As Seen on Shark Tank

In June 2019, Outer co-founders Jiake and Terry had the unexpected opportunity to appear on Shark Tank. Surprised to receive a call from the show's producers, the two decided to apply and, out of the 41,000 applicants that season, Outer was among the 90 selected. After rigorous media training and exhaustively studying their budding business, Jiake and Terry ultimately struck a deal with Lori Greiner. Their appearance on the show was an incredible opportunity to share their passion and vision with people across the country.

Outer Co-Founders Terry Lin and Jiake Liu on Shark Tank
Outer Co-Founders Terry Lin and Jiake Liu on Shark Tank

Expanding the Outer Collection

Over the last five years, Outer has expanded the collection to include new materials like Aluminum and Teak. We rolled out outdoor dining sets, coffee and side tables, our fan-favorite Fire Pit Table, and most recently the outdoor umbrella and chaise lounge. Through it all, our aim has remained the same: to inspire you to spend more time outdoors while providing you with comfortable, durable, and sustainable products.

Looking back and looking ahead, the Outer team is more inspired than ever to keep innovating the world of outdoor furniture. Our commitment to comfort, durability, sustainability, and protection is unchanged as we promise to continue creating products that make your outdoor space a warm place to gather, relax, and spend time with your loved ones. Here's to 5 amazing and life-changing years -- and to many more years of creating happy memories outside and spreading the joy of outdoor living!