Case Studies

Jody Pickering – Claire’s 

Ensuring construction excellence for Claire’s 

Jody Pickering is the executive director of design and construction for North America at Claire’s, a global retail brand that champions self-expression. Pickering has led the design and construction services team for over two years, playing a crucial role in bringing the company’s creative visions to life. Her responsibilities span identifying sites, designing, permitting, fitting, building, and closing out projects, including remodels, budgeting, strategy, implementation, and operations. 

Jody Pickering | Executive Director, Design & Construction for North America | Claire’s 

Jody Pickering | Executive Director, Design & Construction for North America | Claire’s

Headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Ill., Claire’s is a retailer of accessories, jewelry and toys primarily marketed toward tween and teen girls.  

With 1,900 locations under her purview, Pickering manages a team of four designers and two internal project managers. She considers herself the execution arm of Claire’s marketing team, ensuring their desired look and feel are flawlessly implemented across North America. Her leadership and team support are crucial in delivering a top-notch customer experience and continuously delighting customers. 

“I’m dedicated to bringing our creative visions to life. Every project, big or small, is an opportunity to elevate our brand and provide an exceptional customer experience,” Pickering says. 

Leading design & construction 

One of Pickering’s standout projects is the transformation of Claire’s store in North Park Mall in Dallas, TX. This ambitious redesign focused on creating immersive mini-experiences within the store to enhance customer interaction. Introducing a new wall system featuring illuminated graphics and versatile shelving allowed for more dynamic and creative product displays. A central runway was also created to showcase new product categories, guiding customers through a visually engaging journey. The project, which began in June 2022, involved meticulous planning and collaboration. Working with Gensler, the architect, and liaising with the landlords, Pickering’s team navigated over 800 revisions to meet mall specifications, ensuring every detail was up to par. The store opened in November 2023 and has since received enthusiastic customer feedback, highlighting this innovative approach’s success. 

Jody Pickering | Executive Director, Design & Construction for North America | Claire’s 

Beyond the North Park Mall project, Pickering’s team has achieved remarkable milestones, including opening 41 new locations and completing 35 store remodels across North America. Each new store and remodel project emphasizes creating engaging and vibrant retail environments that align with Claire’s brand aesthetics and customer expectations. These projects involve the creative design aspects and extensive logistical coordination, from securing permits to managing construction timelines and budgets. Pickering’s ability to seamlessly integrate these elements ensures that each project is completed efficiently and to the highest standards. 

Under Pickering’s leadership, Claire’s continues to set new benchmarks in retail design and construction, consistently delivering environments that delight and engage customers. Her dedication to executing marketing visions with precision and creativity has solidified her role as an essential leader within the company, driving innovation and excellence in every project. 

New store openings & remodels 

Pickering’s role involves opening new locations through relocations, repositions, or new stores. The primary goal is to increase the brand’s accessibility by finding the right real estate to serve customers in various regions. Once a site is identified, Pickering’s team collaborates with architects to create the plans, works with landlords to meet their specifications, and ensures the general contractor executes the project accurately in the field. They also manage the project closeout, ensuring every detail is finalized to Claire’s high standards. 

Jody Pickering | Executive Director, Design & Construction for North America | Claire’s 

In addition to new locations, Pickering oversees extensive remodels to modernize Claire’s existing portfolio. Many of Claire’s locations are over 20 years old, and these remodels are designed to provide customers with a contemporary and updated shopping experience. The goal is to delight new customers while maintaining a consistent experience for existing customers. The remodeling process involves the same meticulous collaboration with architects, landlords, and general contractors to bring the updated designs to life. Even though the return on investment for remodels can be limited, maintaining and enhancing customer loyalty is a key driver for these projects. 

Pickering’s leadership in new store openings and remodels ensures that Claire’s meets customer needs and provides engaging, modern retail environments across North America. 

Building a successful career 

Pickering began her academic journey with a degree in interior design from the University of Arkansas, laying a solid foundation for her future career. This strong educational background led her to a prominent role as second vice president at Cassidy Turley, where she served for over 11 years. During this time, she honed her skills in real estate and construction, managing high-profile projects and gaining a reputation for her strategic vision and execution. 

Following her success at Cassidy Turley, Pickering transitioned to Cushman & Wakefield as vice president. For nearly seven years, she continued to excel, driving innovative design and construction solutions and leading large-scale projects that cemented her status as a leader in the field. 

In October 2021, Pickering joined Claire’s as the executive director of design and construction for North America. In this role, she oversees the design and construction of stores across the continent, ensuring each location meets Claire’s high standards and brand aesthetics. Her expertise is critical in maintaining the company’s reputation for creating engaging and vibrant retail environments. 

Balancing a demanding career with family life, Pickering manages it gracefully and diligently. A proud mother of two boys, her life is bustling with activity. Her youngest son plays hockey and baseball competitively, requiring nationwide travel. Her oldest son is involved in basketball and also plays competitive baseball during the summer.  

Despite her busy professional life, Pickering prioritizes her family, spending much time on the road together and cherishing these moments. For Pickering, family is a cornerstone, providing joy and grounding amidst her professional responsibilities. 

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