Retail Is Your Business: The Phluid Project

Jul 23, 2019


Is this the birth of a totally new kind of retail concept — and a sign that retail, 20 years from now, might look (and feel) completely different? It’s The Phluid Project, where the “Ph” references “balance”.

Founder/CEO Rob Smith shares his vision with host Chris Hansen (IgnitionOne) and Rebecca Fitts (Warby Parker), along with a look inside this unique apparel concept that reflects realities of identity within today’s changing society: retail with no gender attached to it, no sizes, where everyone shops in the same section. It is nothing like the retail norms we know. A kind of “choose your own retail adventure”, the experience is a direct result of what the customer brings to it.


  • How an experience at Burning Man opened Rob’s eyes, led him to quit his job and go on a spiritual trip where he found his calling to start a non-binary clothing store inspired by the concept of the third gender two-spirit shamans
  • How Phluid challenges boundaries to let people be their authentic selves, and the challenges a retail company faces when its core ethos is about shaking up societal norms
  • How Rob built the store with the intent of creating not just a storefront, but also a non-transactional space where people can meet and feel safe and part of a larger community where activism groups can meet and host events
  • Phluid’s plans for the future: Creating branded content, and building its online presence to connect the online community feel to the community built around the brick-and-mortar store
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