Our client is a furniture trading company buying buys case goods and upholstered furniture with clients in the Europe, the United Kingdom and United States. In total, it is managing an FOB purchasing volume of US$ 700 million. One division has a long working relationship with high street British department stores and lifestyle retailers providing furniture and household items from throughout Asia to United Kingdom. The company employs sales staff in the United Kingdom and also has a design center in Europe. In recent years, the furniture business within this division has grown to an FOB volume ranging from US$ 40 – US$ 45 million. The company has been able to increase its business by designing new lines from which the United Kingdom buyers select furniture as well as taking design concepts from the buyers and developing furniture pieces that meet their price points and design specifications.
THE POSITION - VP, Furniture - UK Market
Vice President – Furniture – UK Market
- To facilitate further growth, the company is seeking a Vice President level candidate to supervise the merchandising, quality and product development teams working in Shanghai, Dongguan, Shenzhen and Ho Chi Minh City that are dedicated to these accounts. This is a newly created position and the company wishes to hire an executive capable of understanding the furniture trends and tastes of British consumers and to be able to assist local teams in servicing the account.
- Reporting to the European Executive Vice President, who is based in Europe within the design center, the successful candidate will periodically travel to the UK to meet with the customers, sales staff and designers.
- On a daily basis, he/she will interact with the designers regarding sample development and must have a good understanding of consumer tastes. In addition, he/she will be responsible for overseeing teams that will negotiate prices and monitor production within the suppliers’ factories, ensuring on time delivery. One immediate goal regarding merchandising will be to review the balance of suppliers within each nation and make decisions as to which countries to place orders so as to minimize risk related to labor salary increases and exchange rate exposure. Finally, the candidate will supervise the company’s quality staff working within the factories of their suppliers’ facilities. Ideally, the candidate will work with the suppliers to determine ways to manufacture the furniture at the desired price points. When buyers come to Asia, he/she will entertain and at times accompany them to visit key suppliers’ factories.
- The position can be based in Shanghai, Dongguan or Shenzhen although the company would prefer the candidate to work from the Shanghai office due to the location of support personnel handling finance, human resources and logistics that are shared with other teams and located in Shanghai.
• The ideal candidate is currently working in a European buying office or furniture trading company in a senior level executive position responsible for dealing with mid-tier priced, fashion forward furniture.
• While experienced in managing quality and merchandising teams, he/she has worked directly with buyers and understands their concerns and requirements. The successful candidate is also experienced in working with colleagues in the United Kingdom responsible for design and sales with a track record of good collaboration.
• Preferably, he/she has factory work experience at an earlier stage in their career development and is very knowledgeable about furniture production and pricing. Experience handling flat pack furniture is highly valued but is not a must.
• He/she should possess technical knowledge and be able to pass on that knowledge to subordinates.
• He/she must be able to speak and write English fluently. Having the additional ability to also speak Vietnamese, Mandarin or Cantonese is highly appreciated.
• He/She must have work experience in either China being familiar with Asian culture and able to maintain good working relationships.
• The successful candidate must be willing to travel in Asia to visit key suppliers and to work with their teams in each of the buying offices.
• Ideally, the successful candidate has a good track record in supervising and developing local staff.
• In character, the candidate must be a good communicator, proactive, energetic, honest, and able to work independently. He/She must be highly intelligent and possess a good work ethic and business acumen.