When Bo Lowery joined Wild Birds Unlimited’s corporate team as a communications specialist, she didn’t know that it would be the start of a career that would put her on a path to become the brand’s Director of Marketing Support. But now, 19 years later, she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
Before Wild Birds Unlimited, Lowery spent 11 years at a small publishing company in the role of art director. But, Bo grew up in a retail environment. Her family owned and operated an independent store that sold motorcycle parts, and she spent a significant amount of time in their store between the ages of 3 and 13. That’s why her friend—who happened to work at Wild Birds Unlimited—thought that she’d be a perfect candidate for a job opening back in 1998. It wasn’t just her experience in retail that made her stand out—Lowery was also already familiar with the Wild Birds Unlimited brand.
“I was actually a customer of Jim Carpenter’s first Wild Birds Unlimited store before it became a franchise. I’ve been interested and bird feeding and watching for a long time, but I never would have imagined that it would become such a big part of my professional life as well,” said Lowery. “My career here started with one of my friends—and now colleagues—who worked at Wild Birds Unlimited. They told me about an open position that would be a great fit for me, and even though I wasn’t looking for a job, I decided to come in for an interview. It seemed like such a great opportunity that I made the leap and joined the team. I’m so happy that I did, because it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Lowery’s first role with Wild Birds Unlimited was as a communications specialist. Her day-to-day tasks involved owning the online presence for the company, which eventually helped her migrate into a marketing role. After a few years, she was promoted to communications manager, which shifted her focus to enhancing how the brand communicated with its franchisees. From Wild Birds Unlimited’s intranet to its weekly news communications, Lowery was responsible for maintaining an open line of communication between the brand’s executive team and its local store owners.
It was in that position that Lowery helped Wild Birds Unlimited become a pioneer in email marketing. She played a significant role in launching the brand’s email marketing platform for franchisees, which is a program that is still functional today. It’s that openness to innovation that led to Lowery’s current role as Wild Birds Unlimited’s Director of Marketing Support. Lowery has definitely risen through the ranks, but she has made sure to always put people—and franchisees—first.
“It’s quite different being in an executive role. My job now requires me to think strategically about the business and how my team’s efforts support our franchisees’ success. My focus is managing people and working with a variety of different positions and personalities, which is fascinating,” said Lowery. “It’s really about dealing with other team members—who are all experts—and guiding their success for the work that they do for our franchisees.”
To ensure that Wild Birds Unlimited is able to support its existing franchisees while also welcoming more local owners into its system, Lowery has overseen the expansion of the brand’s marketing department. That department also oversees a lot more than it did when she accepted her first job. In addition to traditional marketing and communications initiatives that include TV, print and radio placements and an annual comprehensive marketing plan for franchisees, Lowery and her team oversee store planning and design, e-commerce, digital marketing and strategic partnerships with outside organizations. And as marketing continues to evolve, Lowery—and the rest of her team—are eager to take the necessary steps to ensure that Wild Birds Unlimited is ahead of the curve.
“The ability and willingness of every member of our team to continually educate and challenge themselves—from Jim all the way through our corporate team and franchisees—is incredibly inspiring. That’s what makes Wild Birds Unlimited so special and unique—everyone here has a true passion for what we do each and every day,” said Lowery. “The other thing that continues to drive me in my career is my previous experience in retail. Having grown up in a family-owned retail store environment that didn’t have any outside support provides me great insight into what we do here at WBU. My responsibilities allow me to help hundreds of small business owners, and it’s a rewarding feeling to know that I’m making a difference in their business and in their lives.”