a Degree & Thriving Business

Susie Wright

At 56 Susie Wright finishes what she started

Merchandising Management Advisory Council Member Susie Wright, a longtime Nordstrom stylist, has created a fashion business that has thrived in times of crisis.

When Susie Wright left Oregon State in 1986 to work at Portland’s Nordstrom store during winter break of her fifth year, she was three credits shy of getting her degree in Business Administration.

Before she knew it, she became a manager at Nordstrom, where she’d worked on breaks and holidays since she graduated from high school. Then she became a buyer, and her career was in full swing.

Wright was still short her three credits, for a speech communication class.

That changed in June.

At 56, Wright is officially an Oregon State University graduate. Not only that, she’s a longtime stylist for Nordstrom, as well as an influential fashion blogger and Instagram presence in her own right. Wright is passionate about helping people make stylish choices for themselves as well as their homes. She also gives back to the College of Business as a member of the Merchandising Management Advisory Council.

The combination of working with the Advisory Council, as well as her son attending Oregon State as an engineering student, is part of what prompted Wright to take the public speaking class that satisfied her final degree requirements.

“I joined the advisory council because my son was going to OSU,” she says. “I love talking to students and Brigitte (Cluver) in merchandise management as a member of the council. It brings back memories, and makes me remember how happy it made me to go to OSU. I can also see my son when he comes by to pop in!”

Cluver helped connect Wright to recently retired head advisor Carol Leder, who in turn helped Wright sign up for the class.

Susie Wright’s Top 5 Tips

Great-Looking Zoom Meetings

  1. Lighting is everything! Find a spot near a window where the light is on your face.
  2. Pay attention to your background; it should be tidy and decorated as simply as possible, perhaps with just a plant or some flowers.
  3. Spend a few minutes prior to the Zoom meeting positioning your device. Find the right angle and the right height for the camera -- it should be at eye level. You can even prop your laptop on top of a shoebox!
  4. Certain colors look better on screen, like blues and greens, or even a brighter color.
  5. Sit upright and maintain good posture throughout the call.
Susie Wright

“At first I wondered how we’d do a public speaking class remotely, but I loved it,” she says. “I loved speaking on the things I was passionate about, which is still retail, even after a 30-year career.”

Wright is proof that after 30 years, passion can still be alive and well, even as careers evolve.

While she is still a stylist with Nordstrom, Wright has built her own business out of her fashion blog “So Susie,” as well as a vibrant social media presence.

“So Susie” takes what Wright has done at Nordstrom — which is help individual women choose stylish clothes and offer tips on how to wear them — and scales it up, so that she can help even more people.

“I love being able to expand my audience throughout Portland and even beyond it,” she says. “Now, just 40 percent of my clients are from the Portland area.”

Wright has seen her blog and email audiences double since COVID-19 began.

“Running my own business has been so fun. And it feels good to be on the pulse of how retail is changing as online shopping becomes more and more prevalent,” she says.

To learn more about Susie Wright, visit her website at sosusiewright.com or @susie.wright at Instagram.