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Retail Redux

With a line of clothing that mixes sustainability and style, Nau plans to do nothing less than reinvent the shopping experience.


When a start-up company enters a saturated market, odds are usually against it. But Chris Van Dyke, the president and CEO of Nau, a Portland-based active-wear company that launched online in January, isn't concerned with normal business models.With a line of clothing that mixes sustainability and style -think Patagonia meets Prada-Nau plans to do nothing less than reinvent the shopping experience. Nau stores, which the company calls "webfronts," will have a limited inventory of Nau's entire line (made of recycled materials and recyclable itself). Customers shop for the right sizes and styles, with the choice of ordering at in-store web kiosks for a ten percent discount. Purchases are then delivered by mail from a centralized warehouse-thereby reducing each store's size and operating costs, and conserving energy. The company plans to open four such "webfronts" across the country this March.Nau's clothing philosophy is based on what they call a fusion of beauty, performance, and sustainability. "The dominant paradigm suggests you can't do all three," says Ian Yolles, vice president of marketing. "We're doing it all, but none of it matters-sustainability, charity, green ethos-without a killer product."PEDIGREE Nau president and CEO Chris Van Dyke is the son of Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke.LEARN MORE nau.com
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