Jody Pinson, a 30-year veteran of Walmart, has retired from her position as Vice President for Beauty, Walmart officials confirmed. Jody plans to travel with her husband, Greg, of 27 years—that is as soon as travel is a possibility again. No successor had been named at time of publishing.
Jody is credited with elevating the image of the big box store’s beauty department, including better lighting, in-store makeover events, more clean beauty, exclusive offerings and first-to-market launches. While Walmart moves huge quantities of product—it sells nearly 50 million mascaras a year, for example—Jody managed to create a warm and welcoming department for customers to escape to while also perusing tens of thousands of square feet.
Under her direction, Walmart became a trendsetter rather than a follower. Those familiar with the chain said that while other mass merchants have seen beauty sales flatten over the past few years, Walmart continued to produce gains across most categories. Although Walmart does not break out beauty sales, industry experts estimate it tallies more than $4 billion.
Late last year at a CEW event, Jody described her beauty philosophy. “We are laser focused on increasing our beauty assortment by bringing on new, national brands and exclusives such as EVOLUTION_18 by Bobbi Brown and expanding our private brands to deliver on the latest and emerging trends, like our Equate Lash Serum,” Jody said. “Most importantly, we always welcome customer feedback to enhance everything we do, from the quality products we put on our shelves to the convenient services customers use to shop.” At the same event, Jody admitted it isn’t always easy to execute change across a network of more than 4,500 doors. But those who worked with her said she managed to pull it off.
Colleague Latriece Watkins, EVP of Consumables at Walmart, shared, “Jody Pinson is a terrific example of the kind of opportunity that associates often find at Walmart. Starting with the company in April of 1990, as an hourly cashier at Sam’s Club and serving our customers and associates for a total of 29 years, Jody has proven herself to be an extraordinary industry leader. Over the course of nearly three decades, she progressed through the ranks, making significant contributions in Merchandising, transitioning to a buyer role in both the Sporting Goods and Stationary categories, ultimately becoming VP of Merchandising, Pet Care, responsible for leading the Walmart US Merchandising Pet Strategy and a team of buyers. In her final role at Walmart as VP of Merchandising for Beauty, Jody led a transformation in Walmart’s beauty category resulting in broader assortment and access to on-trend beauty products previously unavailable at Walmart. Jody has left an indelible impression on our company. Known as a merchant’s merchant and the work she’s done to fine-tune assortments and develop leaders across the enterprise is to be appreciated. She will be greatly missed.”
Stu Dolleck, Co-founder of NuWorld Beauty, which produces the Hard Candy brand exclusive to Walmart, said, “Having spent over 40 years in the beauty industry, it has been a great honor and privilege to have worked closely with Jody.”
Stu continued, “She is that rare individual who understands how to blend a large organization with a fast-changing industry that requires constant innovation and newness. Her dedication to deliver those attributes to the Walmart consumer has made her a true leader in the industry. Jody and her team’s relentless pursuit of beauty’s newest and hottest trends has established the road map for Walmart to maintain its position of leadership in the industry.”
Shannon Curtin, the CEO of New World Natural Brands, worked with Jody when she was also employed by the retailer, and then when she worked at Coty. “Jody and I have shared many treasured moments together throughout the years, from both sides of the desk. As a gifted storyteller, Jody kept Mr. Sam’s Walmart spirit alive in her work and teachings. As a warm and driven leader, her passion for store associates and service to customers was consistent and appreciated. As a fellow working mom, she knew the importance of being present for moments that matter,” Shannon said.
Having a finger on the pulse of shoppers’ needs is something many admire.
“I recall a meeting that I had with Jody. We talked about [shopping beauty] being a woman’s ‘me’ time and, when she walks into Walmart’s beauty department, she is often looking for new beauty solutions,” said Tam Tran, Co-founder of Anise Cosmetics, maker of Nail-Aid and other beauty items. With Jody’s advice, Tam curated her products with the time-harried shopper in mind. “Jody always emphasized that time is not the Walmart shopper’s friend. With every year’s new collection, clarity and messaging of benefits takes focus to quickly engage the shopper.”
Jody’s knack for understanding customers and retailing comes from growing up in the business, including tagging apparel in a Walmart warehouse. Her father worked at Walmart, and family vacations often included checking out stores, even competitors, to gauge their business. Jody graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Arkansas. She entered the management training program at Walmart and was promoted to a buyer role in 1999 tasked with sporting goods, stationery and pet care prior to landing the beauty spot in 2013.
Outside of her career, the mother of two has also been active in the Network of Executive Women, the American Heart Association and the Bentonville Film Festival. Her parting Walmart email message summed up her passion for the company she called home for three decades: “As many of you are aware, I have made the decision to retire from this GREAT company.”