Members are Helping Create Items at Sam’s Club

Jan. 5, 2023

3 Min. Read
Member's Mark Intimates Collection

We've always believed that listening to our members makes us better. In fact, it's a big part of our product innovation strategy. Understand what they're looking for, appreciate their feedback and act on their guidance. This approach strengthens us as merchants, club associates, members of the community, and as a retailer.

Today, we're spotlighting that way of work by announcing the launch of our first private brand women’s intimates' collection - created with input from our member community.

Q & A with Tori Ryle, Senior Merchant at Sam's Club, on creating the Member's Mark Intimates Collection

Q: Why create an intimates collection at Sam’s Club?

A: It all really started with feeling like we had some white space in our assortment when it came to ladies' intimates. We had a few great national brands on the floor that covered specific member demographics but felt like we were really missing an everyday comfortable collection that was more inclusive for our members.

Q: At what point did you begin to engage members?

A: We did a ton of market research at first to truly get a feel of the competition and inspiration out there. We looked at fabrics, features, color assortments, price points, online reviews, etc. Once we felt like we had a good landscape of the market, we did the first round of surveys. The goal was to understand if members were even interested in the idea of a Member’s Mark intimates collection (they definitely were), and then to understand the features that were important to them. Once we had an idea of direction from the first survey we started to go into sampling and product development. However, part way through the process we realized we needed more information from the members, so we surveyed them again. This is where the color assortment really came into play. We asked members how they identified their skin tone, and what colors they would be most interested in wearing and purchasing. This data was incredibly helpful in building our assortments.

Q: Be honest. Was it a little weird talking to people about their underwear?

A: Haha good question. I've been in Apparel my entire career, so I guess I am just used to asking people about their clothing. I think what is really cool about this collection is that I work with a lot of inspiring female leaders, and we were able to do wear and fit testing with many of them in addition to our normal private brand technical fit process. I guess it would seem weird to talk about underwear with your leaders, but I think feedback from real women is so important, and I love that they were involved.

Q: Was there a change of direction based on the feedback?

A: Absolutely! When we first started, we really struggled with silhouettes and features to include in the collection. There are hundreds of different ways we could have gone, so the member feedback from our surveys was essential to the decisions we made in product development. Every detail, from the stay put strap grips, to the removable cups, to the wicking of the fabric, to the color assortments chosen, was truly member inspired.

The Member's Mark Intimates Collection features bralettes and underwear in inclusive sizing from XS to 3X, and in a variety of neutral hues including black, pink salt, crystal gray, maple sugar, french roast and deep chocolate.

Sam’s Club members can find items crafted with member input throughout the club, like the Member’s Mark Luxury Premier Cozy Collection. Merchants listened to members to understand what they wanted to see in the incredibly popular collection, including new pieces, prints and hues. Another recent product that leaned on member input is the Member’s Mark Holiday Critter Pullover. Designed for adults and children, this fun item helped members of all ages celebrate the recent holiday season wrapped in cozy fun.