Before The Ivanka Trump Ordeal, Nordstrom Sent Employees This Important Letter

Photo: Torontonian/Alamy Stock Photo.
In light of President Trump's immigration ban, many brands have turned their attention inwards to reassure employees that its mission remains an inclusive one. We saw that with Nike president and CEO Mark Parker's letter to staff condemning the executive order, and Asics' public statement reassuring its commitment to diversity. Retailers beyond the athletic market are responding, too: Nordstrom's co-presidents reportedly sent out a memo to employees as a reminder that the department store empire started by an immigrant, according to Seattle newspaper The Stranger.

The letter, which was obtained by the publication, is dated January 31 — just three days before Nordstrom got embroiled in controversy over whether or not it had dropped the Ivanka Trump label completely, following months of boycotts. (The final word appears to be that while you can't find the first daughter's namesake line online, it's still available in stores — for now, at least.) But the note, co-authored by Peter, Erik, and Blake Nordstrom, the department store chain's co-presidents (and brothers), apparently wasn't intended to address its relationship to Ivanka Trump. Rather, it's meant to let those on the company's payroll know where Nordstrom's leadership stands on the President's immigration ban. A representative for Nordstrom confirmed that the memo was sent out to all of its employees but had no additional comment.

"When John W. Nordstrom came to the U.S. as an immigrant, he was given opportunities that allowed him to find a more prosperous and happy life," it reads. (The original Mr. Nordstrom moved to New York from Sweden in 1887 at age 16 and opened a shoe store, Wallin & Nordstrom, which later became the Nordstrom we all know and love today in Seattle in 1901, per the company's website.) "In so many ways, our humble beginning and the work ethic and gratitude that goes with it helped shape the culture of our company to this day."

The letter outlines how, over the span of 116 years, the Nordstrom family has been able to continue to grow the business thanks to all the people with diverse experiences and backgrounds who have lent a hand. Right now, Nordstrom has upwards of 76,000 employees around the country — many of whom are first and second generation immigrations, according to the Nordstrom brothers. "Every one of your unique qualities brings a richness that allows us to better reflect and serve the multi-cultured communities we’re a part of and ultimately makes us a better company. We are a better place with you here, no doubt about it."

Additionally, the company's co-presidents reassure its employees that Nordstrom will support them, especially those who are personally affected by the immigration ban, per The Stranger. The important takeaway, perhaps, is the retailer's commitment to "continue to value diversity, inclusion, respect, and kindness… You can count on that."


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