Nordstrom Local: It’s The Experience, Stupid!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Nordstrom recently announced plans to develop a small concept titled “Nordstrom Local.” The biggest twist: there’s no apparel to purchase. Instead, Nordstrom is focusing on serving as a hub for advice on all things fashion and harnessing the power of the outstanding customer service it offers on a daily basis. At 3,000 sq ft, the Seattle-based retailer will be able to penetrate urban localities and show it’s relevance in an increasingly competitive landscape. If Nordstrom uses design thinking or truly understands the user/customer experience when people walk into these stores, I have a feeling we could be seeing more Local stores pop-up.

Nordstrom Local Storefront

Overall, I think this is a good move, and should be watched very closely.  I already find the concept appealing as a potential customer. Why? I need help with fashion advice; what brands are on trend and best suited for my body. Even when I do find the right brand, where do I go to get my jeans or trouser hemmed? Under one roof? Sweet! Able to meet my friends for a freshly squeezed orange juice while I try on clothes? Even better! If Nordstrom arms their employees with the tools, knowledge, and turns them into subject matter experts on all things fashion, the benefits of going to Nordstrom Local will outweigh those who might consider Amazon. Yes, people like the convenience of online shopping. But nothing can beat an attentive, personalized and enriching consumer experience. Just wanted to re-emphasize the title of this post in case I wasn’t clear; it’s the experience, stupid! And this is something retail consumers are deprived of!

P.S. Pete – we buy online, and return in store because we want the sense of an immediate refund on our credit or debit cards.


Design Thinking 101: An Introduction

“Can you exchange one life for another? A caterpillar turns into a butterfly. If a mindless insect can do it, why couldn’t I?” – RD

We are bombarded with content in the age of information. Some great. Most bad. The key is to curate the best of what you’ve discovered and narrow down which resources work for you. After all, everybody learns differently.

When I began to research the basics about Design Thinking (DT), I sought to establish a reliable foundation on which I could build my education. I like to call this period the “surveying the landscape” phase. In this post, I’d like to share some of the key resources I discovered early on that were beneficial to my learning and some basic concepts to get you started.


Human-Centered Design: A framework born from the tech industry that was a response to machine-centric design. Think of this as the overall umbrella.

Design Thinking: A creative approach rooted in empathy that is used to solve business problems or social challenges. It puts the designer in the shoes of the end-user to understand their needs and motivations. It has five stages: Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test. By understanding and empathizing with the end-user, the designer is able to ideate, prototype and test their solution around the needs of their respective audience.

I love this definition of DT by Idea Couture (a design firm).


Service Design: A methodology which enhances the interactions between users, touchpoints, and other stakeholders in order to improve the quality of a service or product.

Design Leadership: A style of leadership that produces innovative design solutions combining business skills and creativity. It happens to be the program name for a degree at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Essential Resources

  • Creative Confidence by David Kelley
    • This book is a fun and easy to read. And I don’t like reading! The author help start the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, commonly known as the, at Stanford so students could learn more about Design Thinking, Creativity, and Innovation. He also founded IDEO: the premiere design thinking consultancy in the world.
  • Lynda: Learning Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization
    • This is an excellent introductory course presented by Turi McKinley of Frog Design. Her relaxed and accessible presentation style makes the subject matter easy to understand. It’s over two hours long with a loads of content to digest, but I highly recommend it.
  • Medium Article: “Agile, Lean, Design Thinking, Continuous Delivery… which should I use?”
    • This article does a good job of explaining the pros and cons of Design Thinking relative to the other methodologies.
  • LinkedIn Article: “Human-Centered Design (HCD) vs Design Thinking vs Service Design vs UX …. What do they all mean?”
    • This article is a helpful resource to understand the HCD umbrella and where all the methodologies fall within it.
  • OpenIdeo: A global community of chapters/clubs that host events (i.e., workshops) and solve social challenges (i.e., improving clean water access to communities in [fill in the blank]. The DC chapter of OpenIdeo put together some amazing packets for the Introduction to Design Thinking and Facilitation workshops. These are my “bibles” when it comes to DT. A big thanks to Jo Golden and Emily Mann! Find out if there is a chapter near you.