Nordstrom’s New Pop-In Collection Focuses On Natural And Inclusive Beauty
Nordstrom’s latest pop-in should perhaps be called pop-indie.
The retailer has assembled more than 500 products from around 60 natural and inclusive emerging beauty brands launching today online and at nine locations as part of its rotating installation curated by Olivia Kim, vice president of creative projects. Running through April 14, the collection themed Fresh Faces encompasses diverse shade ranges (i.e., Alima Pure’s 17 Pressed Foundation options), gender-neutral items (Non Gender Specific’s Everything Cleanser is designed for people of all sorts), and superfood supplements from CAP Beauty, Vital Proteins and Wylde One.
“Diversity and inclusivity are important pillars in everything we do, and we want this shop to be a destination featuring the best natural beauty products for everyone regardless of skin tone or gender,” said Kim, former vice president of creative at Opening Ceremony and steward of Pop-In@Nordstrom since 2013, in a statement. “We are proud to offer an inclusive assortment of everyday essentials that will help make everybody look and feel their best.”
The pop-in isn’t Nordstrom’s only diversity-championing initiative at the moment. During E! Network’s red carpet coverage of the Academy Awards on Sunday, the retailer revealed an advertising campaign entitled “An Open Mind is the Best Look” that incorporates a wide swath of people. On its website, Nordstrom explains, “We must connect more deeply and tell our story beyond the products and services we offer.”
“Diversity and inclusivity are important pillars in everything we do, and we want this shop to be a destination featuring the best natural beauty products for everyone regardless of skin tone or gender.”
Audrey Siu, founder of nail care brand Veque, has a story to tell. The daughter of Vietnamese immigrants whose mother supported her family with a nail salon, she developed her brand with the idea of assisting the professional manicurist community as well as selling quality polishes. For Nordstrom, Veque, which is based in Seattle like the retailer, created an exclusive set of nude polishes extending the concept of nude beyond hues matching Caucasian skin. The polish is available in 11 shades at the pop-in and is priced at $18 per shade.
“Of all the department stores out there, Nordstrom has always been my goal. Locally, we are so proud of Nordstrom and how they’re leading the retail industry,” says Siu, adding, “Naturally, Nordstrom, a business that puts customers of all walks of life first, loved the idea of redefining nude nail polish.”
Andrew Glass, founder of Non Gender Specific, praises Nordstrom for its inclusive approach to merchandising the Fresh Faces pop-in. “Having a major retailer like Nordstrom not only take on a gender-neutral brand like Non Gender Specific, but want to do a whole space dedicated to inclusive beauty products is extremely important, and really shines a light on what the future of beauty will be,” he says. “For us, it’s validating our vision for the future of this industry and is giving us a huge platform.”
“Having a major retailer like Nordstrom not only take on a gender-neutral brand like Non Gender Specific, but want to do a whole space dedicated to inclusive beauty products is extremely important, and really shines a light on what the future of beauty will be.”
In a natural beauty field that’s often been criticized for overlooking the needs of customers of color, Nordstrom’s effort to address diversity stands out. Still, the roster of beauty brand founders involved in the pop-in is overwhelmingly white, an issue at other purveyors of natural beauty products, too. Certainly, most of the brands participating in the Fresh Faces pop-in are fresh for Nordstrom. In addition to Veque, brands such as Ouli’s Ointment, Aether Beauty, Noto Botanics, Au Naturale, Axiology and Rael are breaking into the department store with the collection.
“It’s exciting to see stores like Nordstrom wanting to support and be involved with an independent brand like us. I believe being a part of this will help get Ouli’s into the hands of both returning Nordstrom customers and new customers and help communicate how well natural skincare can work,” says Ouli’s Ointment founder Stephanie G-M. Tiila Abbitt, founder of Aether Beauty, says, “Being in Nordstrom really means that every client is looking for clean, nontoxic beauty products. I believe this is more of a macro trend and clean beauty will become the standard and eventually not even be a category, that all beauty products will be clean.”
Some brands in the Fresh Faces assortment have had presences at Nordstrom prior to the pop-in. Kosås, for example, went live on the retailer’s e-commerce platform a few months ago. The clean cosmetics brand’s role in the pop-in emphasizes the appeal of its products across gender lines. Oscar and Golden Globes winner Rami Malek demonstrated that appeal by wearing its Tinted Face Oil on the Hollywood movie award circuit.
Sheena Yaitanes, founder of Kosås, says, “We love having Tinted Face Oil, a complexion product, available in a gender-neutral clean beauty environment because it’s important to us that anyone who wants to benefit from a product that provides good-for-you coverage has the opportunity to do so.”