Despite the challenges of making more than 4,700 stores visited by 150 million shoppers per week run like clockwork, Pinson transformed Walmart’s beauty department into a spot in the store for women to have what she calls “me time,” which she said is important since many customers have kids in tow and a long shopping list. In the past few years, Walmart added more than 1,000 new items to its beauty department from brands like Profusion Cosmetics and Japonesque. Pinson, who graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas, held myriad positions through the years at Walmart from tagging apparel in a warehouse to acceptance in the management training program. She was promoted to a buyer role in 1999 and worked in sporting goods, stationery and pet care prior to taking over beauty in 2013. One manufacturer recalled wondering if the transition from pet to beauty would be a big leap. “But Jody proved she was more than ready for the role,” he says.
Last November during a Cosmetic Executive Women session, Pinson discussed the department’s upgrades. “We’ve gone through a transformation to inspire her—we’ve increased lighting [improved LED] and added discovery zones throughout segments like color cosmetics and fashion nail,” Pinson said. “We are using technology through the Walmart app so customers can find the brands and items they want which can be challenging in a big box. We also are using ‘retail-tainment’ which is a fun way for us to interact with customers giving them samples over mini-makeovers.”
Pinson is credited with helping Walmart be in tune with the rapidly changing consumers’ wish lists such as the what she called the “megatrend” of clean beauty with consumers looking for ingredient transparency. Walmart reacted with a bevy of brands such as Found and Dr. Bronner’s. But Pinson never wants to miss a chance to add fun, “discoverable nuggets,” such as this year’s neons and nail art.
Under her direction the chain moved exclusive lines like Flower by Drew Barrymore and more Hairitage by Mindy McKnight to the front burner and became the retailer of choice for many first-to-market launches. During her CEW chat Pinson said the chain is “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.”
Former colleague Shannon Curtin, currently ceo of New World Natural Brands, collaborated with Pinson on both sides of the table—as a retailer while both worked at Walmart and on the selling side at Coty where Curtin was senior vice president of North America, Consumer Beauty. Curtin calls Pinson an executive who managed to balance being a leader and a mom. “As a fellow working mom, she knew the importance of being present for moments that matter,” Curtin says.
The mother of two, has also been active in the Network of Executive Women, the American Heart Association and the Bentonville Film Festival. She also supported the Susan G. Komen organization in honor of her sister who developed breast cancer as part of a group called “Big Wigs,” who donned silly wigs to raise money for her local community.