Director, Product Development
Who is Allbirds?
At Allbirds, we’re on a mission to prove that comfort, good design and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We are dedicated to making the most sustainable footwear we can using premium natural materials, designed for the to and fro of everyday life. Our commitment to making better shoes in a better way is fueled by a belief that the shoe industry needs to focus less on flash and more on thoughtfulness. With funding from the leading venture capitalists in consumer products, and the founding CEOs of some of the greatest e-commerce businesses in recent history, our desire to shake up the footwear industry is off to a great start. In fact, TIME already called our first shoe, the Wool Runners, the most comfortable in the world, and there is much more to come.
What does the job entail?
- Manage a majority of our footwear product development, including direct oversight and accountability for commercialization processes, timelines, and hitting budgeted cost structures.
- Oversee footwear innovation projects and interact with the broader innovation team to ensure that we are creatively adding to our product offering with items that delight customers, is true to our mission, and is leading the industry in delivering simple comfort via advanced, sustainable materials.
- Act as expert resource within the Product Team on all footwear development including material, compounds and fabrication methods.
- Act as expert in development timelines for standard cycles as well as suggesting and managing alternatives for non-standard requests.
- Make early recommendations on construction techniques and tooling solutions.
- Analyze and recommend materials, components, and construction options to the Product Team in order to meet key material and product performance goals.
- Calibrate plans in sync with the Material Innovation Team and ensure readiness of new materials and fabrication methods prior to approving for production.
- Collaborate with Creative Design Team, Supply Chain and external suppliers to manage product packaging for on time delivery to factories.
- Oversee PD managers documentation for assigned products and their maintenance of all development and commercialization documentation in PLM and Drive.
- Maintain daily communications with Supply Chain to manage product and purchase order information, collaborate with PD-Asia on product and supplier readiness.
- Research, locate and work with suppliers to acquire new materials & components requested by Product Team.
- Provide support, confidence, instruction, constructive criticism and camaraderie to the Product Team.
You will work with Allbirds factories to:
- Manage PD’s seamless hand-off of Product Development Tech Pack to Allbirds factories, ensuring that footwear products are sampled, proven and tested, completed on time, viable for manufacturing, satisfy design intent and performance targets, and meet costing and sustainability goals.
- Troubleshoot and offer creative solutions throughout sample development to meet product goals while maintaining a sensitivity to design needs.
- Oversee process between HQ PD and PD-Asia through commercialization, liaise with manufacturing to insure commercialization specs are transferred seamlessly and exactly into production.
- Work to obtain consistency in technical, development and production methods across all factories.
- Collaborate with factories on product requirements and standards, including sharing corporate sustainability and cultural standards to achieve shared goals.
- Manage communications with factory teams and line managers, maintain open communication with sourcing functions, costing, materials, Planning, Product Testing, Quality Managers.
- Challenge and support innovation of our manufacturing processes in factory
You will work with the Head of Asian Ops to:
- Collaborate with Allbirds Quality personnel to manage product testing requirements and standards for physical tests to ensure product performance and provide direction to product team based on test results.
- Understand tooling investment for assigned projects, select mold shops, communicate mold investments, and component pricing.
- Liaise with footwear technical engineering, including pattern development, mold design, compound and materials composition, costing, and manufacturability analysis to achieve project objectives at a high level of efficiency and accountability.
- Source new suppliers, factories and technologies to advance Allbirds efficiencies and quality
What kind of person are we looking for?
- You are a skilled and seasoned footwear developer with PD experience at both HQ design phase as well as factory phase with a track record of successful collaboration across multi-national supply chains.
More practical skills needed:
- BA/BS in Design or Mechanical Engineering and six years of footwear development experience, or no BA and at least eight years of footwear development or factory manufacturing experience
- 6-8 years of experience in a footwear technical capacity to include development, commercialization and production
- Experience in pattern engineering, mold making, grading, materials testing, ability to read shell patterns, 2D and 3D blueprints, spec sheets, cost breakdowns.
- Demonstrated depth of knowledge of footwear pattern engineering process, tooling and production experience and related RD&D processes.
- General knowledge of mold engineering required. Must be familiar with materials used in category specific footwear. Must know machinery used in the manufacturing of category footwear and expected results.
- Demonstrated effective oral and written communication skills. Ability to provide guidance and advice within area of expertise.
- Proven record of leadership and accomplishment in a multi-national environment.
- Ability to travel, domestic or international, as required
- Ability to prioritize, multi-task, adapt to changing demands, and make quick yet well thought out decisions will be essential in this role
- Good written and verbal English communication.
- Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese language knowledge a plus.
What can we offer?
- Competitive salary + equity
- Health insurance
- Fitness benefits
- 401k retirement savings plan
- Paid parental leave
- Free shoes
Allbirds is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. Allbirds policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, marital or veteran status, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member), sexual orientation, pregnancy, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. It also prohibits discrimination based on a perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. All such discrimination is unlawful.
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