One Step At A Time | Interview with Bridget Thomsen

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A combination of an unconventional journey to a creative career and an old school climb up the ladder, Bridget Thomsen is now a part of Macy’s Store Design/ Merchandising team in New York City.

Bridget started college pursuing a degree in marine biology but coming up to her senior year, she made a major switch to fashion design. After graduating, Bridget started her own fashion company and sold her designs in local boutiques. With the less than thriving national economic status, Bridget was looking for a different source of income. It was then she applied at Macy’s and got her foot in the door.

Working her way up from merchandising in California to joining the visual team, constructing window displays, moving to Chicago and now at Macy’s corporate in NYC, Bridget never let her dreams out of sight. Her passion for retail design, though a creative at heart, stems from her love of numbers and problem solving. “When I was in Chicago, there really wasn’t a budget for windows. I would go into the storage units and deconstruct what we had and build something new. It was challenging and fun.”

Bridget is an active supporter of the LGBTQ community in both her personal and professional life. As a Co-leader of Macy’s Pride ERG, Bridget is working to broaden the horizon by bringing in different pride groups to really have presence in the community.

People are where Bridget draws the most inspiration. Whether it’s their fashion choices or the cultures she’s experienced in her travels, they are great sources to ignite a new creative spark.

Being a long time employee of Macy’s, Bridget has a lot of knowledge and insight about the company. “We’ve had our 5th consecutive successful quarter, which is great for us. We are trying to stay competitive in this constant moving industry.”

Last year, Macy’s launched their Growth 50 initiative- an initiative Bridget is super excited about. “We picked 50 stores that were either very old in terms of design or needed a revamp for various reasons, so we invested capital in those locations. Those 50 stores got an entire face lifts and have seen growth in sales. Now, we are going to do a similar strategy in another 100 locations this year. Additionally, we’ve picked five stores to totally remodel in which Brooklyn is one of them.”

“What’s more important to you, climbing the ladder as fast as possible to make a lot of money? Or taking your time, having great life experiences and building relationships? Personally, I value success more on what I’ve learned and experienced than the amount of money and that’s played out well for me because now I’m going strong.”

As someone who has worked her way up and been successful, we ask Bridget to share some advice. She attributes her success to creating and maintaining good relationships with the people she comes across and her mindset about success. “It takes time to get here. You’ve got to suffer to make it big. Never say no to an opportunity. Put the brakes on your career and take one day at a time and one job at a time. Don’t climb the ladder too quickly because when you are at the top then where do you go?”

By: Sarah Rossi