Nordstrom — which debuted as a shoe store in 1901 — is highlighting its footwear heritage by relaunching its “Make Room for Shoes” campaign.
According to Nordstrom’s executive vice president and general merchandise manager for shoes Tacey Powers, Make Room for Shoes will come to life through monthly partnerships with some of the industry’s best footwear brands and will feature a curated selection of new styles, exclusives, dedicated visual displays and shopping experiences. The year-long project will live in all Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com, Powers noted.
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“Nordstrom has a passion and a commitment to shoes that dates back more than a century,” Powers told FN in an exclusive interview. “And so, Make Room for Shoes is a celebration of this passion and commitment to shoes. We believe the lineup we have for 2024 includes some of our very best brands with some of the very best stories out there in the market.”
To kick off the campaign, Nordstrom has teamed up with On on an initiative around its ‘Cloudspark’ running shoe that was designed by women for women. From now through March 3, Nordstrom will exclusively stock On’s new Cloudspark sneaker that will be featured alongside other products from the brand. To mark this partnership, the retailer will also host customer fun runs in select markets.
Asked why On decided to participate in Nordstrom’s latest shoe-focused initiative, Britt Olsen, On’s general manager for the Americas and head of global commercial strategy, told FN that the retailer was “one of the earliest supporters” of the brand in the U.S.
“As we began testing in small ways to see how the Nordstrom shopper would respond to the new look and performance feel of what we had to offer, we were blown away by the results then and we still are today (six years later),” Olsen said. “Our partnership with Nordstrom has been absolutely fundamental to the strong growth we’ve experienced as a brand and It’s been a treasured part of our story.”
“Our partnership with On started back in 2018,” Powers said. “We’ve seen explosive growth with the brand, and what that tells us is this brand really resonates with our customer in so many ways. And now that On is launching its first sneaker designed by women for women, we felt that was an important story to bring to the forefront for this campaign.”
After On’s activation, Nordstrom will celebrate Sam Edelman’s 20th anniversary milestone from March 4 to March 31. The retailer will offer customers access to an exclusive collaboration designed by Sam Edelman and emerging talent from Savanah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Select students worked alongside Sam during their spring 2023 semester to create an assortment of five women’s sneaker styles that will only be available in select Nordstrom.
Jesse Edelman, senior vice president and general manager of Sam Edelman, said the brand is looking forward to making a Sam Edelman statement on the shoe floor. “As a SCAD graduate myself, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our two brands – this collection represents Nordstrom and Sam Edelman’s shared dedication to mentoring the next generation of talent.”
Following Sam Edelman, Birkenstock will be Nordstrom’s next shoe partner. From April 1 to April 28, Nordstrom will celebrate Birkenstock’s 250th anniversary by putting its heritage and fashion front and center. The retailer will highlight a mix of eight exciting early-lead Birkenstock styles.
Larroudé will round out Nordstrom’s Make Room for Shoes partners in the first half of the year. From April 29 through June 2, Nordstrom will be offering customers a mix of new Larroudé summer styles exclusively available at the retailer. This event also marks Larroudé’s entry into all of Nordstrom’s stores, up from just 30 doors in the first quarter of 2024.
“We are working on creating a full Larroudé visual experience at the stores, including an exclusive capsule collection for Nordstrom clients, as well as various fun events and activations. We are excited to bring our brand to all parts of America,” Marina Larroudé, co-founder of Larroudé told FN.
“We met Marina at the 2021 FNAAs when she won launch of the year,” Powers noted. “We went up to her and said ‘we need to know you.’ From then on, we worked with her to develop her business with us, and now we are really excited to bring her shoes to all of our stores for this project.”
And while more partners will be announced throughout the year, Powers noted that the women’s-focused Make Room for Shoes campaign will expand to include men’s and kids’ categories as well, especially as it moves into 2025.
Looking ahead even further, 2026 will mark Nordstrom’s 125th anniversary, and Powers noted that Make Room for Shoes is just the beginning of these celebrations that will occur leading up to the big milestone.
“We really want to do something that is unexpected, and this campaign is our ramp up to understanding what that should look like in 2025,” Powers said.
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