PB CAREERS: REI, Director of Product Development, Private Brands

PB CAREERS: REI, Director of Product Development, Private Brands

Job ID: 5622
Job Type: Full Time
Job Function: Product Design/Development
City: Kent
State: Washington

What’s cool about this job
The Director of Product Development for REI Private Brands contributes to REI’s success by performing as a functional and key member of the Private Brand leadership team.  The Director of Product Development oversees apparel, gear, outsourced product including leadership, strategic direction setting and execution of all development activity from sketch through to production approval.  This role successfully leads the development, engineering, predictive costing, patternmaking, fit execution and accurate specifications for creation of innovative, technologically advanced products at the highest level.

Models and acts in accordance with REI’s guiding values and mission.

  • Identifies and communicates key responsibilities and practices to ensure the organization promotes a successful attitude, confidence in leadership, and teamwork to achieve business results.
  • Supports the implementation of company programs, procedures, methods and practices to promote REI key messages.
  • Challenges and inspires employees to achieve business results.
  • Ensures employees adhere to legal and operational compliance requirements.
  • Conducts and ensures the completion of performance reviews.
  • Provides coaching, direction and leadership support to employees to achieve department, company and customer results.
  • Establishes and maintains visibility within the department.
  • Build up and develops the team (objective setting, assessments, training, development) and fosters productive cross-category cooperation with the other key partners.

Your Responsibilities:

  • This role sets direction at a macro/strategic level as well as the tactical execution of the product creation cycle to reliably develop product to design intent, quality, margin and timeline expectations; collaborating across leaders in partner departments with a multi-season time horizon viewpoint.
  • Partners and collaborates with cross functional leaders design, quality, sourcing, pre-costing, patternmaking, production planning, merchandising, manufacturing and merch planning to achieve max efficiencies in margin, calendar adherence, quality, and delivery.
  • Successfully incorporate industry best practices/opportunities.   Focused on continuous improvement to fuel the level of operating sophistication of the product organization through processes, tools, systems and training that optimize impact, strengthen the expertise, and minimize not value add activities.
  • Establish a new pre-costing function (processes, tools, change mgmt) to support predictability in achieving margin targets while optimizing the value add within the product.    Educating the organization on the global economic drivers which affect product costing and margin for the Co-op.
  • Prepare and manage operating budget for the department.
  • Ensures compliance to seasonal timeline milestones, recommends changes for milestones as needed
  • Ensures department level deliverables align with Product Integrity strategy, collaborates with cross functional Product Integrity support team
  • Work with Design to proactively manage the styling, material and trim requirements relative to manufacturability, performance, quality, cost, lead-times and minimums.
  • Develop, implement and monitor all product development programs including but not limited to product and raw material commercialization, fit, calendar and color.
  • Oversee the garment fit process assuring fit direction is appropriate/consistent with the design intent, and maintained through product development into commercialization.
  • Maintain cost and master bill of materials during development process.
  • Facilitate cost engineering to meet cost goals, including maximizing construction opportunities while minimizing liabilities. Identify where costing objectives are out of sync with manufacturing or supplier trends.
  • Ensure the delivery and evaluation of quality lab dips/print strike-offs and communicate comments to vendor.
  • Create and maintain dash boarding of product development metrics for corporate transparency and executive review.
  • Review and continuously update standard operating procedures in partnership with team for best departmental efficiencies and practices
  • Ensure continuous product and process improvement with emphasis on quality product development and completion of products in accordance with the operating calendar
  • Responsible for the ‘total’ development process within apparel performance in both HQ and field offices through to ‘product sealing ‘stage and timely handover for bulk commercialization.
  • Monitor and continuously improves workload and organizational efficiency with the support of IT-systems, data and analysis
  • Take a leading role in the pre-allocation of all development projects within apparel performance based on service and product needs

Bring your passion and expertise

  • 10+ years product development experience
  • 8+ years leadership experience
  • Bachelor’s Degree, preferable in design, engineering, or manufacturing
  • Strong knowledge of product development processes including design, costing, manufacturing and sourcing, preferably with Asian based production and cut/sewn category
  • Strong project planning and management skills, ability to develop and manage multiple timelines and deadlines
  • Experience with Product Data Management systems (ie. Enovia Matrix One) preferred
  • Ability to develop team capacity in organization, efficiency, attention to detail
  • Ability work effectively cross functionally with department leaders to develop and tune shared business processes preferred
  • Builds capacity of individuals and teams through effective employee development, involvement, communication, and supervision efforts.
  • Creates a strong, mutually supportive work spirit and culture where people can do their best.
  • Establishes trust and inspires others.
  • Makes effective organization and people decisions in a manner consistent with REI’s values and ethics.
  • Delivers on commitments and holds others to same.
  • Champions the organization and advocates solutions in the overall Company’s best interest.
  • Uses business knowledge, innovative thinking, and sound judgment in the solution of problems or the pursuit of business opportunities.
  • Consolidates information from various sources including feedback from others to reach sound decisions.
  • Considers the ultimate impact of decisions and actions on internal and external customers.
  • Fosters change in company direction.
  • Effectively plans and executes changes.

Why you’ll love it here

We are a team of creative, passionate people who love the outdoors. We bring our love of the outdoors into our daily work to create amazing products and brand experiences exclusively for REI’s customers.

We’re passionate about delivering compelling, meaningful products in the market. Whether it’s heading out for a weekend of backpacking, a long bike ride or just a walk in the rain. We are guided by our values of authenticity, quality, service, respect, integrity and balance. By joining the REI Private Brands team, you have the opportunity to make a difference, be challenged to create excellence and enrich our creative community.

At REI we offer an enviable work environment that Fortune Magazine has recognized on the “100 Best Places to Work” list since the award’s inception – 19 years in a row! Sure, we work hard, but it’s balanced with time off to play—a strategy that works for us as we continue to grow and thrive. Want to enjoy a workplace where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected while having a job that challenges you? This is the place.

With more than 140 retail locations (and growing), REI offers unique competitive benefits to its more than 11,000 employees, including healthcare, gear and apparel discounts, free equipment rentals and challenge grants to help employees reach personal outdoor goals, generous retirement plan contributions, public transit subsidy, adoptions assistance, paid sabbaticals, and more.

REI is an Equal Opportunity Employer



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the President of My Private Brand and the Co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, and consultant who has worked with Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro, Lowe’s, Food Lion, Hannaford and more building private brands. 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 latest book Vanguard: Vintage Originals a look at innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Laraine and two daughters Olivia and Sarah.