Supporting Our Communities: Supplier Diversity + Tiger Tail
"Everyone asks why did I create Tiger Tail? Am I a physical therapist? A massage therapist?" said Spring Faussett, the inventor of Tiger Tail. "The fact is I'm neither. I'm an athlete who had a whole lot of pain from all the sports I chose to play."
An Invention Is Born
After being an athlete for most of her life, including a 30-year recreational soccer career, Faussett tore a ligament in her knee and was struggling to find the right tool to help ease her pain and speed her recovery. The options her physical therapist recommended just weren't working, so Faussett decided to take matters into her own hands and make something new.
Faussett was no stranger to invention—she started creating her own products at the early age of 12. So with $250 worth of supplies from her nearby hardware store, she settled into her garage and got to work. And after a few weeks and lots of tinkering, she finally had a prototype. But would it sell? Faussett decided to test out that idea by registering as a vendor at various athletic events and expos. Sure enough, the Tiger Tail sold out at each and every event.
Evolving the Brand
Tiger Tail has come a long way since Faussett's early days of garage production. Today, the company produces and distributes thousands of Tiger Tail products annually. Every Tiger Tail is made in the U.S. and goes through the original production process to ensure it has the highest quality that customers have come to expect from the brand. And since Faussett can't make them all herself, Tiger Tail has partnered with Provail Fabrication, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that provides job opportunities for adults with disabilities, for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of the products.
In February 2015, Nordstrom began carrying Tiger Tail products on Nordstrom.com. The brand was introduced to our buying teams through the Nordstrom Supplier Diversity Program, which is focused on recruiting and introducing vendors to all areas of our company, including merchandise, supplies and services, and construction.
"The Nordstrom Supplier Diversity Program really opened up new opportunities for us and our brand," Faussett said. "Women make up such a disproportionately small percentage of successful inventors out there, so we're happy to have the opportunity to share our products with new customers."
The program provides opportunities for businesses owned by minority, female, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, veteran and disabled individuals to offer services and products to Nordstrom and our customers. Since the program was founded, Nordstrom has spent more than $14 billion with diverse-owned businesses.
"We're always looking for new products that we think our customers are going to love, and working with diverse suppliers like Tiger Tail helps us do that," said Colleen Kendregan, a Nordstrom Active buyer. "When you add the fact that Tiger Tail is investing in the local community through their partnership with Provail, we knew they were a great fit for Nordstrom."
Tiger Tail products are available on Nordstrom.com, and more information about the Supplier Diversity Program, including a link to create a vendor profile, can be found at shop.nordstrom.com/c/diversity-supplier-program.