Our client is a subsidiary of a multinational conglomerate. This subsidiary designs and develops its own branded life style furniture that is sold in Europe and in North America, inclusive of case goods and upholstered furniture. Our client has sourcing offices throughout Asia handling furniture that are located in Shanghai and Dongguan, China, as well as in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. It has design centers in the Netherlands and London. In the United States it has sales offices in New York City, High Point, N.C. and Seattle. Most of the product development is now handled from the Shanghai office.
Our client has been working for several years with one of the largest Internet sales companies in the world having offered them a range of products that have been designed in Europe and produced in Asia. Our client also has license agreements with several famous fashion companies, for which it develops furniture ranges. Because the volume of business has increased significantly with its Internet customer, our client would like to hire a senior furniture executive to do product development for the Internet customer and later expand to other clients and build a team in the United States. Most of the furniture now sold is indoor accent furniture inclusive of side tables, nightstands, dining tables and chairs. It is envisaged that this individual will eventually develop a team of product developers who will develop product ranges for a variety of American customers.
THE POSITION - Merchandising Director - US
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND MERCHANDISING - FURNITURE
The Director of Product Development and Merchandising will support the American business by initially focusing on the large Internet customer. Ideally, the candidate will be based in New York City or High Point North Carolina although candidates working in other American cities will be considered if they can travel for sales meetings and sample reviews to High Point North Carolina or Seattle Washington. The successful candidate will work with design teams in Europe as well as with the factories located in Asia producing samples. He/She will tweak or make improvements necessary to meet targeted price points and to develop furniture that meets the ascetic, price and size requirements of American consumers. He/She will also make trips to Asia to work with key vendors involved in developing new sample ranges. The successful candidate will report to the Executive Vice President who is based in the Netherlands as well as work closely with Account Directors responsible for sales in the United States and with the customers’ buying teams responsible for furniture.
- • Ensure samples of the highest possible quality are developed for their showroom and for their customers review meetings.
- • Develop and maintain effective liaison with external customers to ensure customer needs and expectations are met.
- • Act as the communicator between the factories’ sample workshops and design team, and help ensure the best design for production.
- • Ensure that internal documents are properly disseminated, stored and controlled.
- • Responsible for accuracy and on-time delivery of drawings and other necessary documents to the workshops / QC team and suppliers, inclusive of the standard cost summaries, manufacturing documents and standard process documents.
- • Liase with relevant department managers to ensure smooth introduction of the new product ranges inside of the company and ensure follow up actions are completed.
- • Source new suppliers as necessary working with the Asian merchandising and sourcing teams.
- • Work with design team and Asian merchandising teams, who work with suppliers to achieve the targeted purchase price, on cost calculations.
- • Work with the QC team to approve pre-production samples.
- • Involved in supplier performance reviews and new supplier evaluation.
- • Work with Suppliers/QC team to find out potential opportunities for Production Efficiency Improvement.
- • Evaluate and control annual budgets for product development.
• Minimum of 5 years of R&D or Product Development experience.
• Ideally, the successful candidate will have worked with flat pack/KD furniture, MDF furniture, and veneer case goods, as well as upholstered furniture and outdoors furniture.
• Knowledgeable about the aesthetic tastes, quality requirements of consumers purchasing furniture products over the Internet. Familiarity with the business culture/operating practices of a large Internet furniture company would be an attractive attribute.
• Experience doing indoor and outdoor furniture design, familiar with Solidwork, Sketchup, 3D Max, CAD, and Photoshop.
• Experience in furniture product development including finishes.
• Knowledge of the BOM and pricing negotiation skills are desired.
• Excellent communication skills.
• Previous experience working in Asia is a great benefit but is not a requirement.
• Previous experience working in a furniture factory is a very attractive attribute but is not a requirement.
• Fluent English is required. Speaking skills in Asian languages such as Mandarin or Vietnamese would be a great benefit but is not a requirement.