The fashion retailer celebrates Black culture through personal stories, food and Black-founded brands
Since its founding, Nordstrom has endeavored to support and celebrate the diverse communities it serves. This year in honor of Black History Month, the fashion retailer honors Black culture by highlighting employee stories, celebrating Black-owned and Black-founded brands and creating experiences to engage customers and local communities.
“We invite our customers, employees and brand partners to join us in honoring the Black community, rejoicing in Black culture and amplifying Black voices this month and year-round,” said Farrell Redwine, chief human resources officer at Nordstrom. “We’ve long believed in the value of diversity and remain committed to playing an active role in contributing to the positive change required to address systemic racial inequity.”
Highlighting Employee Experiences
In partnership with Invisible Collective, a Black-owned and founded creative and production agency, Nordstrom is launching a video series through which employees share their unique experiences as members of the Black community. These videos explore the Black experience through expressions of beauty and style as well as the lens of parenthood and relationships.
“The Black community’s contributions to culture are endless and I hoped to capture the joy, pride and sense of celebration we all share in being Black. Stories are the most powerful tool for change,” said Mel Jones, co-founder of Invisible Collective and campaign director. “Creating an ongoing platform for employees to share their stories is an incredible opportunity to attract new, diverse customers to Nordstrom but more importantly to share that Nordstrom is committed to creating an inclusive culture from the inside out.”
Supporting Black-Owned and Black-Founded Brands
In February and throughout the year, Nordstrom features the stories of Black-owned and founded brands through the company’s shoppable Black-Owned and Black-Founded categories. Meet a few founders highlighted this month:
Teri Johnson, founder and CEO of Harlem Candle Co.: Harlem Candle Co. is a luxury home fragrance brand specializing in scented candles inspired by the richness of Harlem. Johnson founded the Harlem Candle Co. in 2014 as a manifestation of her love affair with fragrance, jazz, and Harlem. She creates transportive, evocative candles inspired by Harlem Renaissance luminaries like Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.
“One of the things I love most about creating new fragrances is all the research and development that goes into creating every single one. I learn everything I can possibly learn about the person: what did they love? What perfume did they wear? ‘Oh, you like tobacco?’ Let’s put sweet tobacco notes in there. We did that for our Langston Hughes candle.”
William Adosai, founder of Vitae London: Vitae London is a British, watch and accessories brand founded by Adosai in 2015 that specializes in selling high-quality, fashion-forward watches at an accessible price. With each sale, a portion of revenue goes to support children’s education in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides an underprivileged child with either a set of school uniforms so that they may attend school, or a solar-powered lamp so that they may have a renewable energy light source to study.
“Being Black is a core part of my identity. I love that I get to champion the cause for many people from my background. I didn’t get many examples growing up, so being able to make a difference for my community means so much to me.”
Jasmine Walker, founder and designer of King+Lola: King+Lola is a children’s clothing and accessories brand that offers perfect gift items for baby showers and milestone birthdays. The brand is socially responsible and conscious of the environment and offers some eco-friendly luxury products that combine upcycled materials to make quality garments. All other products are made from new high-quality materials.
“Being Black in America has inspired everything I do – even the way I started my business with nothing… Everything I am has come from a place of struggle and hard times. That comes out in the way I started this business and found a way to make it happen even though it looked impossible.”
Black-Owned Brooklyn at Nordstrom NYC Center Stage
The Nordstrom NYC flagship will launch an in-store market with Black-Owned Brooklyn, a digital publication spotlighting Black-owned, Brooklyn-based business, as part of its revolving Center Stage pop-up platform from February 14 to March 6. Curated by Black-Owned Brooklyn’s husband-and-wife team, Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, the market brings together eight businesses across apparel, food, home goods, and self-care products. Customers are invited to explore, shop and get to know the people behind the businesses, including Chen Burkett New York, Savant Studios, Heavy Metals NYC, Breukelen Polished, Modish Decor Pillows, Sarep + Rose, Brooklyn Brewed Sorrel and Sol Cacao.
Honoring Black Food Culture
In celebration of Black food culture, Nordstrom will be featuring recipes created by Angel Gregorio, founder of the Spice Suite, including her Soul Food Stew in our restaurants and a Jerk Pasta Salad in our specialty coffee bars— from January 31 – February 28. The Spice Suite is a spice and kitchenware shop in Washington D.C. that has become a dream incubator and haven, where Gregorio has hosted more than 450 free pop-up shops for Black business owners. Her love for fashionable flavors and natural talent in the kitchen landed her in the Top 40 of MasterChef’s Season 8.
The Nordstrom NYC flagship will offer a pop-up by Brooklyn-based Patsy’s Rum Cake – just in time for Valentine’s Day. Founder Kathy will be in-store on February 5, 6, 11 and 12 to share her handmade Caribbean rum cakes, including heart-shaped and mini sizes and flavors like rum raisin, walnut, coconut, and chocolate.
More Than a Month: Showing Year-Round Commitment
Nordstrom’s celebration of and commitment to the Black community goes far beyond Black History Month. The fashion retailer set a series of 2025 goals to address its most pressing opportunities related to diversity, inclusion and belonging. Among other things, these goals address:
- Increasing Black and Latinx representation among its managers by at least 50 percent
- Delivering $500M in retail sales from brands owned by, operated by or designed by Black and/or Latinx individuals
- Increasing charitable donations to organizations that promote anti-racism to $1M per year for the next five years
Throughout the year, customers can easily discover and shop emerging and established Black-owned and founded brands on Nordstrom.com with their Black-Owned and Black-Founded and Inclusive Beauty hubs.
Employee and Leadership Engagement
- As part of the company’s 2025 goals, Nordstrom has set clear, measurable goals to increase representation in people-leadership roles and create opportunities for underrepresented populations through internship and other early-in-career programs. To engage and support Black talent, Nordstrom has partnerships with several organizations including HBCU Battle of the Brains and Afrotech.
- Starting in January, through Nordstrom’s partnership with the Smithsonian Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project, employees have the chance to transcribe more than 1.5 million image files from the Freedmen’s Bureau records—the largest crowdsourcing initiative ever sponsored by the Smithsonian. This project will help build an understanding of the post-Civil War era and knowledge of post-Emancipation family life.
- Nordstrom has eight employee resource groups, including the Black Employee Network. This group started as a small group that gathered monthly and has transformed into a community where Black employees could share their experiences and goals with each other and help guide the direction of the company. ERGs not only provide employees with support and help in personal or career development but also are vital to informing the fashion retailer’s path forward as an inclusive company.
- Representation matters at all levels of Nordstrom’s organization including the board of directors. Of the 11 members on the retailer’s board, roughly 50 percent are women and 30 percent are Black women.
Partnerships in Anti-Racism
- Nordstrom is committed to increasing charitable donations to organizations that promote anti-racism to $1M per year. This includes a long-term, multi-year partnership with the National Urban League.
- Nordstrom is proud to sponsor The Black Joy Parade, a non-profit based in Oakland, California, that celebrates the Black experience and community’s contribution to history and culture with its signature parade and celebration, partnerships and events. The Black Joy Parade exists to provide the Black community and allies a live experience that celebrates the community’s influence on cultures past, present and future. The Parade unites a diverse community by creating a space to express everyone’s unique contributions to the Black experience.
- Nordstrom signed the Fifteen Percent Pledge by announcing a new commitment to growing its purchases from businesses owned or founded by Black individuals by 10x by the end of 2030. As part of this pledge, the company is also committed to informing its customers and employees about inequities in commerce and entrepreneurship.