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Job Title:  Product Development Manager 
Job Number: xxxx E01255 
VISA Sponsorship:  no 
Travel:  5% 
Job Type:  Full Time 
Number of Openings:  1 
Location:  Niles,IL,60714 

We are currently seeking an experienced Product Development Manager to join our Holiday team! This individual will be responsible for identifying, developing and evaluating ideas and themes for various holiday-related collectible and home decor products such as Christmas trees, ornaments, snowmen, angels, Santas, music boxes, architectural villages, trains, and more.  In addition to managing projects from conception to approved production stages, the Product Development Manager will research competitive and related industries to develop concepts and products successful to our channels of distribution.   As we continue to grow our product sales base, this individual may supervise and/or train junior level support staff.

Job Summary:


Idea, Theme and Concept Development

  • Identify, evaluate, and generate new product series concepts with a focus on continuity programs.  This includes supporting research for why the concept is a marketable idea, any competitive, related industry or trend data, any prior historical company data, visual representation of concept (e.g. samples from Internet, mockups, sketches or Photoshop images), and preliminary cost estimates with Sourcing department and overseas vendors.
  • Work with Holiday team and management to identify new affinities and/or potential artists and licensed brands for the Holiday Division. Effectively manage the development of a minimum of 50-75 innovative product concepts/programs/or existing product translations to test on an annual basis to new customer acquisition markets.
  • Build existing brands/licenses such that we have an annual and consistent source of revenue through strong continuity and solo products.
  • Efficiently manage ongoing series extensions including all front and back-end art/sculptures to scheduled production timelines.
  • Bi-Weekly presentation of 5-7 innovative concepts for approval by Senior Management.  
  • Build and maintain relationships with developers and marketers to stay informed of new template designs and application of art for potential adaptation for the Holiday Division.


Product Development Management & Administration

  • Develop strong working relationships with artists, sculptors, and licensors to meet business objectives – determine and work with appropriate artists/graphic designers (in-house and outsourced) to commission and direct concept sketches and final artwork/sculpts within budget.   Responsible for securing final product production samples and their approvals.
  • Work with Licensing team to secure artist resources, portfolios, new brands, licenses and contracts.
  • Partner with Sourcing department and Creative Director to identify new product vendors and aggressively work to understand product and materials composition that can result in high-quality products at the lowest possible cost.  Our goal is to maximize creativity and ingenuity without driving customer price points higher.
  • Provide detailed and precise verbal and written critiques/feedback at various stages throughout a product’s development to artists/graphic designers, vendors, Sourcing, Licensing, Advertising and management.   This includes management of the concept approval process, product design, backstamp, internal materials (e.g. Certificates of Authenticity), and packaging.
  • Manage development costs within overall defined budget and spec accounts.
  • Update and manage product development progress schedules through company-wide information database to meet advertising, product, and marketing deadlines and for review with Senior Management.  
  • Work with Marketing and Advertising teams on ads and/or brochure art direction.
  • Work with Product Production and vendors to ensure accurate cost of goods (COGs), acceptable production timelines, and any required manufacturing vendor follow-through on manufacturing and production samples. 
  • Process and approve artist/vendor invoices and track vendor invoices in Excel product cost spreadsheet.
  • Work with the Creative Director to identify ways to make the product development process more productive and efficient.
Required Skills:  
  • BA or BFA degree in Fine/Studio Arts, Art History, Illustration, Product Design, Sculpture or an art-related field.
  • 1-7 years experience in product development/product design, preferably in the giftware/collectibles/toys industry.
  • Direct marketing experience (catalog environment) and/or marketing and manufacturing knowledge of the giftware/collectibles industry.
  • Creative background with proven experience in idea generation of theme-oriented products.
  • Art directing/critiquing experience; ability to give clear high level art direction to artists/graphic designers; ability to identify “aesthetically pleasing” products. A strong sense of color, design and composition is essential.
  • Exposure to working with different types of materials – resins, plastics, glass, metals, fabrics, woods, etc.
  • Ability to manage projects from conception to product stage; ability to manage costs and budgets.
  • MAC/PC skills including Word, Excel, databases.  PhotoShop skills desirable.
  • Marketing and manufacturing knowledge of giftware/ collectibles.
  • Highly skilled in negotiating.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; strong presentation skills.
  • Ability to work and troubleshoot in a fast-paced environment; must be solutions-oriented.
  • Organized and detail-oriented with superior multi-tasking skills.
  • Self-starter who works well with minimal direction; proactive in driving the direction of development efforts.
  • Previous supervisory experience desirable.
  • Established network with freelance artists and sculptors preferred.
Benefits: Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Disability Insurance, 401(k), Profit Sharing, Tuition Reimbursement 

Phone: (847) 966-2770

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