PB CAREERS: Michael’s – Director Private Brand – Kids

MichaelsMichael’s – Director Private Brand – Kids
Organizational Unit
Michaels -> Merchandising -> Kids
Irving, TX 75063 US (Primary)
Category: Merchandising

Job Description
Basic Function:
This position supports the company’s strategic initiative to grow Private Brand (PB) sales and margin. This associate supports Category Management at the division level by leading the private brand manager team to successfully execute the strategies and achieve the financial goals established by the Company.

Primary Responsibilities:
The Director – Private Brand works closely with the Category Management team to drive Private Brand growth through effective product development and execution. This associate is the key internal link between the external Private Brand resources and the internal stakeholders (including Merchandising, Trend/Design, QA, Packaging, Legal, etc).  The director is responsible for the development of Product Development and Sourcing Business Plans, in partnership with Category Management, and the execution of those divisional level plans.  The primary goal is to enhance Michaels’ profitability through Direct Sourcing and Brand Building.

% of Time Major Activities
25% Managing Private Brand Manager Team
20% Cross-functional Team/Relationship Building
15% Vendor Relationship and Management, including overseas trips and negotiations
10% Project Management to ensure on-time completion of all projects.
10% Private Brand Category Planning
10% Establish and Improve Business Processes
10% Product Development/Management, Innovation and Quality Improvement

Product Development and Private Brand

  • Manage the Private Brand and protects the Private Brand identity
  • Develop product solutions in support of the Merchandising direction and ensure that the Company’s goals of product innovation and quality are achieved.
  • Lead product ideation sessions, competitive shops, and identify product opportunities.
  • Work closely with Trend and Design, to have an active understanding of the market and consumer insights and drives freshness and uniqueness into the product offering.
  • Partner closely with the design and factory team to develop innovative and exclusive products that drive Private Brand product sales and meet margin targets.
  • Support all processes to build quality into product and to support long term growth by partnering with the QA department.
  • Manage ongoing maintenance of existing products, including the execution of quality improvements, packaging changes, changes in design, appearance or origin and changes in status under the direction of the Category Director.
  • Partner with the Packaging Team to ensure key features and benefits of the products are identified

Category Knowledge

  • Understand assigned category including Michaels sales and competitive landscape.
  • Identify and communicate all sales, margin and marketing opportunities for Private Brand products.
  • Monitor all Private Brand product performance based on sales, margin and sell-through.
  • Manage and execute the divisional business strategies, mapping strategic insights to improve processes and standards for tactical implementation with execution focused on achieving financial objectives.
  • Be a ‘student of the industry’ studying trend, product and competition.
  • Support the process of developing and recommending supplier strategies for PB.
  • Assist the VP-BUGM by recommending and implementing strategies, policies, controls and programs which align with the company’s long-term vision.
  • Drive cross-divisional efforts in order to support the overarching merchandising strategy.
  • Lead the team in identifying project scope, strategy, and strategic product development.  They will be responsible for understanding the projects in their area and the reporting of status.
  • Identify issues early, candidly communicate, and resolve in order to meet our goals.
  • Own the brand strategy and integrity for Private Brand for their division.
  • They will gain alignment with Merchandising and Marketing on successful Private Brand execution.

People Development

  • Manage a team of five to ten Private Brand Managers who provide category level support to the Category Director from product idea to product launch.
  • Coach and develop internal and external team members to meet the needs of the company’s aggressive sourcing plans.
  • Ensures team of managers can execute
  • Identifies opportunities to improve the processes
  • Establishes clear direction for the PBM and APBM team
  • Provides ongoing feedback for the team

Project Management

  • Drive Private Brand product growth through effective product lifecycle management. Develop & execute category sourcing plans.
  • Partner closely with the VP-BUGM and Category Directors to develop the division’s product road map and provide financials, feasibility, timelines, resources, and consumer.
  • Manage the overall project timeline, identify risks that may affect the timeline and lead efforts to mitigate risks.  Communicate the project status to all cross-functional team members.
  • Ensure PBM and APBM manages milestone dates for each project.
  • Drive and manage communications between all internal and external stakeholders including Category Management, Finance, Supply Chain, Agents, Vendors, Legal and Inventory Management.  Serve as the everyday link between the Category Director and support teams (packaging, QA, Design).
  • Create and maintain all documents, processes and meetings related to the product development process.

Sourcing Partnership:

  • Develop and maintain vendor relationships that support category needs to provide the best “cost” and “value” equation.
  • Oversee Private Brand cost negotiations, production, on-time shipments and overall execution for assigned product categories in the division.
  • Accountable for meeting target product costs specified by the Product Development Brief while maintaining quality standards.
  • Work with the Sourcing Team to identify bid projects and strategic supplier needs.
  • International travel is required to work with global vendor and agent networks.

Job Requirements

Category Applicable Knowledge/Skills/Abilities
a.  Minimum level of formal education: Bachelor degree is required.  A MBA or a Master degree in related field is preferred.
b. Area of study: Business related major is highly preferred.
c. Special certification or technical skills: N/A
d. Minimum years experience required: Minimum 10 years of experience with a major retailer, brand or product/brand development company with experience in brand management, product development, and sourcing.
e. Type of experience the job requires: We are looking for aworld class productlifecycle management executive withappropriate leadership, business and technical abilities:

  • Skilled in achieving short and long-term objectives by motivation and leading others.  Must be able to lead through influence rather than just utilizing direct authority.
  • Independent thinker who can work under minimal direct supervision and has a creative approach to problem solving. Should be responsive rather than reactive.
  • Dynamic executive, who is an agent of change and can garner the respect of his/her peer group.  Must have a can-do attitude, act quickly and push for continuous improvement.
  • Team player and have excellent interpersonal, people management skills, and strength at building relationships with multiple constituencies.
  • He/she will have experience, knowledge and a successful track record of merchandising, product development, sourcing, and brand development as well as strong project management background.


Previous articleTarget Sells Pharmacies and Clinics to CVS Health
Next article2015 PLMA Trade Show To Salute Deli, Dairy And Bakery
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.