Product Development Manager
The Product Development Manager oversees the development, sourcing, and production of Areaware products. This includes: contributing to product selection, organization of product development tracking systems, overseeing the PD calendar, providing feasibility and comparative product research, managing vendor relationships and the production supply chain, working directly with designers and artists during the development process, overseeing packaging development and product testing.
This person plays a key role in the continued development of departmental workflow, strategy, and systems, and manages the Product Development Coordinator and co-manages the Graphic Designer and any other additional support staff. They report to the Creative Director.
- Collaborate with the Creative Director, Director of Communications and Domestic Brand Manager (sales lead) to select products that are a good fit for Areaware’s brand and sales channels.
- Research design and material trends, analyze pricing and product offerings from competitive brands, and keep a pulse on new and upcoming designers
- Recommend new colors and styles for line extensions, with feedback from Sales and Creative Director
- Collaborate with teams across departments to ensure product reflects the brand voice and meets visual merchandising, sales, and marketing requirements
Development, Costing, Production
- Manage the design development and supply chain of all Areaware products, meeting key dates and margin requirements
- Create and maintain Product Development calendars and hold vendors accountable to deadlines
- Obtain, track, and negotiate all production-related costs, including packaging and testing
- Create and maintain seasonal Purchasing Worksheets
- Oversee and approve product specification packages for each product
- Oversee and approve all required production artwork
- Responsible for setting quality standards and approving pre-production and mass production samples
- Problem-solve design and development issues
- Oversee communication with suppliers and vendors
- Travel to factories for on-site sampling and troubleshooting
- Liaise regularly and efficiently with marketing, sales, and logistics teams to ensure product launches are well communicated and that all launches are on track with sales, marketing and photo timelines, and that products are ordered correctly.
- Convene internal focus groups as needed for feedback on key product decisions
- Oversee product sample archive and mock-ups
- Participate in purchasing meetings as required.
- Meet weekly with Creative Director to communicate PD progress, opportunities, and problems.
- Co-manage graphic designer to ensure that packaging is designed on schedule and to product specifications
- Hire and manage Product Development Coordinator, delegating work and overseeing quality of work
- Lead bi-weekly product review meetings to discuss design development and troubleshoot any technical issues with the Product Development Team and Creative Director
- Lead working relationships with all teams involved in the product lifecycle via Basecamp
- Contribute to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) standards and guidelines
- Manage sample archive, tracking charts, material library and vendor matrix.
- Nurture positive relationships with vendors and designers and promote a positive company culture founded on creativity, critical thinking, rigor, and open-mindedness.
Our Ideal Candidate:
- Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design or related field
- Must be detail-oriented, very organized, and a strong communicator
- Demonstrates multi-tasking skills working in a fast-paced environment
- Leadership experience
- Product development experience, managing production cycles with external vendors, experience with production trips to Asia is a plus
- 5-8 years working in product development or related role
- Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
- Proficiency in CAD software, preferably Rhino
- Microsoft Office/Google Sheets