Working in the retail industry, as many of us know, often happens by chance. Many a retail exec will tell you that their path to a career in retail was a happy accident: “I fell into it!” “It was not what I had planned.” “Next thing I knew …”
My story follows a similar plotline. Many years ago, still somewhat fresh out of college, I took a full-time job as an editor for a trade publication focused on retail design, dubbed Display & Design Ideas (which would later become DDI, and then design:retail). Admittedly, it was a far cry from the sort of gig I had envisioned when I first went to J-school (aka journalism school), dreaming of fashion spreads, snarky columns à la the pages of Jane magazine and interviews with celebrities. But it was a start, so off I went into the less-glamorous (at least to the novice outsider) world of B2B media and began what would become my accidental career in retail. (Side note: “The Devil Wears Prada” came out soon thereafter and quickly added fuel to my growing B2B fire.)
Fast-forward to present day and the result, more than a decade later, is an abiding love for this industry with which I’m intrinsically linked now.
What I’ve learned in all my years covering brands and retailers thus far, is that this industry is so beloved because it is ever-changing. Retail is constantly evolving, and the pace of that transformation has only accelerated. It’s thrilling. Challenging. Rewarding. It’s an industry full of passionate innovators, rule-breakers and trend-makers. And the people are hands-down the MOST FASCINATING individuals you’ll ever meet.
And speaking of meeting people, it’s nice to “meet” all of you, our readers! My name is Jessie Dowd and I recently joined the Institute and Path to Purchase IQ as Editorial Director. Perhaps we’ve worked together before or met at an industry event, but for those of you I have yet to cross paths with, here is a little more background about me.
For the past 15-plus years, I have been covering retail (with a focus on store experience and design) via the pages of design:retail magazine and, more recently, digitally as part of Retail TouchPoints. I have spoken on retail trends at various industry conferences and events, and have served as a judge for several retail design competitions. I have a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Currently, I live north of Atlanta with my husband, two sons and three crazy dogs. (Yes, THREE. I know.) I adore retail and have never turned down an invitation to go shopping — in the name of research, of course.
One of my favorite retail topics is consumer behavior and psychology. Exploring commerce through the consumers’ lens and understanding the driving factors of shopper behavior and trends — getting to the core of the “why” — is an ever-shifting target. It can be maddening, enlightening, impossible and exhilarating, all at once.
As marketers adapt to disruptive shifts in society and consumer behavior, it’s an exciting time to join Path to Purchase IQ as we help our industry make sense of it all and flourish — and I am honored to take this journey with you.
I’m looking forward to engaging with you via all our platforms — print, online, social and face-to-face events (both virtually and IRL) — and can’t wait to get to know the shopper marketers, brand managers, agencies and solution providers pioneering the next era of retail across all the touchpoints on the path to purchase.
P.S. Visit my LinkedIn page, and let’s connect!