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Media Moment: Jessie Dowd

Our Media Moment is Jessie Dowd, editor in chief of design:retail, a leading print and digital magazine for retail designers. Tasked with providing timely and on-trend content as well as expert insights from around the world, Jessie has a front row seat for what is up-and-coming in the world of this multi-trillion-dollar industry.

THO recently got the chance to speak with Jessie about how she found herself working at design:retail and what a day in the life entails.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your path to design:retail.


I have a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After school, I interned at a consumer magazine publishing house in Atlanta before moving to B2B and joining design:retail (which was known as DDI magazine at the time), where I’ve been for 13 years now. I started as associate editor, and progressed through various roles (managing editor, senior editor and executive editor). This resulted in eventually becoming editor in chief in 2019.

What trend have you seen in the retail industry that you’re most excited about?

I think it’s really exciting to see how once-online-only brands are realizing that a physical retail presence is an essential touch-point in growing their brands and overall success. Another exciting trend in retail is the concept of checkout-free stores (like the Amazon Go concept). The ways in which technology can aid the physical retail experience are just beginning to be explored.

What is your best piece of advice for PR professionals reaching out to design:retail or journalists in general?

Keep it brief! We get a lot of pitches. A concise email that clearly outlines a project with a brief description of pertinent info makes it easier for editors to filter relevant pitches quickly. We also love to see images (without having to request them). A link to a Dropbox where we can instantly see photos—and download if we choose to do so—is really convenient. And OMG please don’t call me. Maybe it’s just the Millennial in me, but I much prefer email—it’s faster and more efficient.

How do you come up with new story ideas?

I get ideas for new stories from everywhere, including news sites online, pitches from design firms and retailers, press releases and from industry contacts and writers.

Take a look at the design:retail website here!