Director, Product Development (Footwear, Asia)
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.
Where do we need help?
Coming off the successful launch of our second product line (tree), the sale of our millionth shoe, and with great things on the horizon, we are searching for a director to oversee the product development of footwear at our factories in Asia. To start, this role will be based out of our headquarters in San Francisco, with travel and an eventual move to Asia.
What does the job entail?
You will work with Allbirds factories to:
- Receive and execute seamless hand-off of Product Development Tech Pack from HQ to Allbirds factories, ensuring that footwear products are proven and tested, completed on time, viable for manufacturing, satisfy design intent and performance targets, and meet costing and sustainability goals.
- Manage the product creation process across factories from initial Tech Pack through commercialization and production for footwear models.
- 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.
- In addition to daily check-ins with factory sample room, production and line managers, maintain open communication with sourcing functions, costing, materials, Planning, Product Testing, Quality Managers.
You will work with Allbirds headquarters to:
- Act as expert resource within the Product Team during the development phase.
- 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.
- Implement plans in support of the Material Innovation Team’s needs, and ensure proven and tested readiness of new materials and fabrication methods prior to production.
- Collaborate with Creative Design Team and external suppliers to effectively execute product packaging for labor efficient, cost efficient, and on time delivery to factories.
- Create and/or revise appropriate documentation for assigned products; maintain all development and commercialization documentation, coordinate and manage production spec changes
- Receive and execute marketing sample requests with sensitivity to sample room and production line responsibilities.
- Manage Marketing sample and Photo Shoot sample needs within product development calendar timelines.
- Research, locate and work with approved outside suppliers to acquire new materials & components requested by Product Team.
You will work with the Head of Asian Ops to:
- Collaborate with Allbirds Quality Lead to manage product testing requirements and resources for physical tests to ensure product performance integrity, and provide direction to product team based on test results.
- Understand seasonal tooling investment for assigned projects, to set up plans, select mold shops, approve 3D files, 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.
What kind of person are we looking for?
- You are a skilled footwear developer with a experience working in-factory and 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 eight years of footwear development 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, Asian production and 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. Computer proficiency including 2-D and 3D CAD/CAM preferred.
- 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.
Meet Some of Allbirds's Employees
Dennice is a product designer at Allbirds. She mixes new construction methods with customer research to support the design of the future product pipeline. When she’s not at the office, she's usually riding her old Vespa around hilly San Francisco.
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