Welcome to the Future: Nordstrom Co-Creates Activewear with their Customers

Before I left the US for Australia in 2007, Nordstrom was one of my favourite brands and one of the companies I purchased from on a regular basis (the other being Zappos). I loved online shopping and Nordstrom made it easy and fun – easy to buy, easy to receive, fun collections to browse and easy to return. And they didn’t hesitate to throw in free gifts and show me how grateful they were for my loyalty. I felt heard, seen, appreciated and respected so I shopped with them.

And in keeping with their commitment to providing a superior customer experience, they have listened and learned from their customers to form Project 18, an invite-only group of 800+ of their most engaged customers in Los Angeles co-creating new offerings. This group helped build one of the newest lines for one of their Nordstrom Made brands that recently launched, the Zella Community Collection.

Customer-centric, location inspired – Nordstrom started the creative process by inviting around 100 of the Project 18 community members to build the collection. It was a diverse group who all shared a passion for fashion and an active lifestyle. The design team met with them to gather feedback on each piece to make sure what they created was reflective of what they were looking for in an activewear collection.

Nordstrom provided the initial product ideas and then worked in close collaboration with the members on features such as pockets, length, zipper placement, colours, fabrication and more. Member feedback also validated their hypotheses that selection, convenience and service on their terms was important.

The collaboration was far more than just a focus group – there were numerous iterations with the members to ensure everyone remained aligned. Members also had the chance to test the products during workouts and provided additional feedback to ensure everything looked, felt and performed well.

This partnership with customers culminated in a collection featuring nine styles across activewear apparel and accessories available in multiple colours, which are inspired by the landscape of Los Angeles with pale pinks, greys and blues as the anchoring colour themes of the assortment. An added bonus for the eco-conscious: all of the pieces are made from recycled polyester.

By partnering with customers to create an assortment that is reflective of what they’re looking for in an activewear brand Nordstrom redefined what it means to be customer-centric.