“They chased us,” Simon Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty chief executive officer, said of Nordstrom. “They persevered and convinced us that they’re the right partner for us.”
Sweaty Betty’s expansion at Nordstrom joins 14 existing Sweaty Betty stores in the U.S.
“We’ve always had vertical distribution,” said Hill-Norton. “There are a few exceptions. We’ve been in a couple of the Selfridges stores for the last 10 years and we’ve been in Harrods for the same amount of time. But we run our own shops-in-shop there.
“Nordstrom was a big decision for us as a brand,” Hill-Norton said. “Department stores have to work out how to sell activewear. Many haven’t worked it out yet. We see our brand as an alternative to premium denim. A woman who’s paying $300 for a pair of jeans would pay $150 for beautifully made Italian sculpting leggings.
“Nordstrom was the exception,” Hill-Norton said. “We spent a lot of time talking to them. We’re not always going to be in their activewear departments. We’ll be in [urban and denim-focused] TBD departments. We’re contemporary. All of our freestanding stores are next to Maje or Sandro or Rag & Bone.”
“Offering coveted, limited-distribution brands like Sweaty Betty is an exciting example of how we’re constantly evolving our merchandise selection to provide customers with a unique shopping experience,” said Tricia Smith, executive vice president of women’s apparel for Nordstrom, Inc. “Activewear is an integral part of how women dress every day, and we know our customers love Sweaty Betty, so we’re thrilled to have such an exciting and sought-after brand available in Nordstrom stores and online.”
Sweaty Betty’s spring collection, arriving at Nordstrom, April through June, will feature more than 100 pieces including cult-favorite bum-sculpting superhero leggings, reversible yoga pants, lightweight shorts and supportive sports bras in exclusive new prints.
The brand was founded 20 years ago by Tamara Hill-Norton and features high-stretch fabrics, technical materials with sweat-wicking and quick-drying properties. Prices range from $8 for a spiral hair toggle to $175 for the Celestial all-in-one jumpsuit.
To celebrate Sweaty Betty’s 20th birthday, the brand will release one limited-edition product per month based on an item from the archives. To coincide with the Nordstrom launch, Sweaty Betty reinvented a best-selling style from 2012, the bum-sculpting power leggings in a heritage Union Jack print.
Nordstrom x Sweaty Betty will host a workout event at Wanderlust Hollywood in Los Angeles on April 7. Customers are also invited to work out in stores, including Nordstrom NorthPark Center in Dallas on April 13, and Nordstrom Bellevue Square in Bellevue, Wash. on April 14.
Sweaty Betty opened six stores last year. “We open stores where we know the numbers will work and where the store can be a part of the customers’ daily routine,” Simon Hill-Norton said. “The more stores you can have in an area, the better. We have 25 stores in London. It works. There’s a lot to be said for people seeing your brand frequently. For our exposure in North America, Nordstrom is a really big deal. We’ve been opening stores and pushing really hard. This is the first time we’ve done wholesale.”