Neiman Marcus launched the "Idea Factory," "an array of concepts, products and experiences — from piercing and personalizing of fashion products, to candle-making, epicure and custom-mixing beauty creams," in select stores this week, the department store announced in a tweet on Tuesday.
Phase one of the project begins Wednesday in select stores, involving artists who will customize sportswear, jeans, jackets and accessories with their art, according to a report from Women's Wear Daily.
Phase two will launch in September in more stores, with a focus on "epicure, food and beverage, travel, personal and family wellness, and social consciousness," according to the report.
The idea behind this "Idea Factory" is "an effort to connect with a wider base of customers and increase traffic and relevancy in a world where people are shopping and spending differently," according to WWD's report.
That's something that the struggling department store is in dire need of these days. Neiman Marcus started the year as one of the U.S. retailers most likely to face bankruptcy. A correction was evident in the second quarter, however, predicated on what executives touted as a "digital first" strategy, and CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck on Wednesday said that continued improvements in the third quarter prove its strategy is working.
The #NeimanMarcus Idea Factory begins this week in select stores, and will unleash an array of concepts, products and experiences — from piercing and personalizing of fashion products, to candle-making, epicure and custom-mixing beauty creams. https://t.co/kdcZkknjwE— Neiman Marcus (@neimanmarcus) June 5, 2018
The new idea factory concept, though, is not so much digital-first as store-centered. In addition to customization of apparel and accessories with one-of-a-kind artwork, the department store is hosting services like tattoo inking and body piercings that are out-of-the-box for its upscale, even stuffy image. "I'd say piercing in the store is pushing it a little bit," Neiman Marcus SVP of product innovation Ed Burstell, who is leading the effort, told WWD.
Burstell arrived late last year in that newly created role, returning to the department store after a stint as managing director of Retail at Liberty of London, where he'd worked since 2008, and was credited with bringing "global recognition" to the company, according to an earlier WWD report.
Neiman Marcus is apparently pinning its hopes on Burstell to drive similar change there, even if it takes piercings and tattoos to get there.