Fresh with new and ambitious goals, Neiman Marcus Group intends to make an impact on environmental issues across its entire value chain.
During the FMG Sustainability Forum, Amanda Martin, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer at Neiman Marcus Group, said setting the company’s ESG goals required a lot of teamwork, both in recruiting experts and forming new partnerships.
Considering NMG does not manufacture the majority of the product it sells, Martin said the company recognizes the place it needs to spend its time is in “influencing our brand partners and focusing on our scope three emission.” In 2021, the company worked with merchants to set some preferred attributes and build those into its product management software system with the goal of increasing revenue from sustainable and ethical products.
Circular services — which Martin said have been a part of NMG since its founding, with services like alterations and restoration being offered to extend the lives of loved luxury items — have also seen a notable expansion in recent years. In 2015, NMG piloted a partnership with The RealReal, followed by an initiative to work with Rent the Runway in 2017. Most recently, NMG has become the first luxury retailer to make a long-term equity investment in resale with Fashionphile.
Through that partnership with Fashionphile, which provides an elevated customer experience, brand partnerships, authentication services and an assortment of goods NMG customers expect — and boasting the highest net promoter score of online retail players — Martin said NMG has committed to tracking its impact and innovating services to meet its goal of keeping 1 million luxury items in circulation by 2025.
For Fashionphile, partnering with a large-scale retailer like NMG provided access to a consumer that was already interested in purchasing luxury resale items. Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile, pointed to a study done before NMG made its investment, which found 78 percent of Neiman Marcus customers were already using the secondary market, usually through small consignment shops.
“It’s the idea that Neiman Marcus recognizes the investment value of the product that they sell,” Davis said. “They sell a luxury product that, because of the quality and the price point, can handle being bought and sold over and over again. This is our bread and butter. It’s been such a wonderful relationship because literally, every single item we sell is something that Neiman Marcus customers are buying and that NMG is selling. The beauty of the relationship is that the Neiman Marcus customer actually shops and has been looking for a place to be able to sell their products.”
In further alignment with its customers’ asks, NMG has also made progress in its commitment to go fur-free by 2023, and is working with brand partners to increase revenue from the sale of sustainable and ethical products by 2025.
One brand partner NMG has created a relationship with is Prota Fiori, the luxury footwear company that uses sustainable leather alternatives to manufacture footwear. The brand’s mission is to preserve a connection between craftsmanship and sustainability.
“I identified the gap truly as a footwear expert and someone working in the industry specifically in the luxury sector and luxury shoes and thought that there was a rise in sustainable sneakers but nothing in the luxury industry,” said Prota Fiori founder, chief executive officer and creative director Jennifer Stucko. “I decided to build Prota Fiori from the ground up and I believe it’s a great opportunity because our brand is truly authentic. We’re offering a premium product with materials that have never been used before. We’re really filling a void, especially for the Neiman Marcus client who is coming to them looking for a great product, but with the values that particularly has.”