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VP, Footwear Product Development (Hybrid)

DATE:  Nov 18, 2023
CITY:  New York
BRAND:  Camuto Group
REQ #:  143209
LOCATION NAME:  Camuto Design Studio
DEPARTMENT:  Production

General Summary:

The VP Product Development, Materials & Technical Fit is accountable for the development and engineering of innovative products from concept to pre-production (production specs). This role is responsible for achieving an optimal balance of cost, aesthetic, and functional/technical requirements, combining the art and science of product creation. The role will work closely with other cross-functional teams, such as Design, Marketing, Sales and Merchandising to develop optimally fitting, quality products within the design and brand aesthetic.


Reports to:  SVP of Global Sourcing

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
•    Leads the development of new footwear products from concept to pre-production. This includes participating in the creation of the product brief, and working with designers and engineers to ensure that the products meet the brand's aesthetic, functional, and technical requirements.
•    Leads the Product Development team members to develop products meet the brand's aesthetic and functional requirements. This includes understanding the brand's DNA, translating customer insights into product requirements, and working with designers to create products that are both visually appealing and technically sound.
•    Evaluates designs to ensure that new products are feasible to manufacture and meet cost targets. This includes understanding and educating design teams on the manufacturing process, identifying potential risks and challenges, and working to develop solutions that meet the brand's requirements while staying within budget.
•    Establishes a feedback loop between creative design, Product Development teams and technical teams to facilitate continuous improvement and collaborative learning. 
•    Establishes standardized processes and best practices for technical design and product development and ensures that these practices are consistently implemented. 
•    Ensures that design changes do not compromise product quality, manufacturability or cost competitiveness. 
•    Supports an iterative design refinement process by working closely with creative designers to incorporate changes and improvements as needed. 
•    Researches and recommends the latest footwear technologies and materials. This includes understanding the latest advances in footwear design, engineering, and manufacturing.
•    Oversees the Materials team to select appropriate materials that both fulfill the design aesthetic and meet functional requirements. 
•    Oversees the research and use of material during development, challenging the materials staff to identify new materials and technologies that can be used to create innovative products.
•    Develop and evolve product development processes. This includes streamlining the product development process, improving communication and collaboration between teams, and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
•    Manage the product development team and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. This includes setting clear goals and expectations, providing regular feedback, and resolving any challenges that arise.
•    Acquires and shares knowledge of market and industry trends, technical and manufacturing advancements; utilizes this knowledge and taste level to inform the product development process. 


Required Skills and Competencies:


Required Skills:
•    Strong knowledge of the product creation process and how it integrates into operations and manufacturing
•    Proficient in indirect and / or direct team leadership and mentorship
•    Proficient in technical product engineering: materials, tooling, upper and construction
•    Strategic and pragmatic: Able to establish strategic team direction aligned to Design, Sourcing and corporate
•    Builds organizational talent: Able to establish a diverse team competency base aligned to business need
•    Strong interpersonal skills: Able to connect and relate across all levels of the global organization. Utilizes and navigates cultural enablers and inhibitors
•    Communicates with impact: Deliver clear messages, present with impact and create clear written communication
•    Process improvement mindset: Advance or progress operating processes and systems. Integrate input from key stakeholders
•    Operation decision making: Seek, organize and analyze project relevant information and data; Develop alternative approaches, anticipate road blocks, gain collective team commitment; Demonstrate decisiveness and action
•    Cross functional collaboration: Develop influence strategy, establish shared goals and collaboratively develop solutions
•    This is a hybrid position and will be expected to work in the NYC office 3-4 days per week
•    Ability to travel both domestically and internationally

STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP – Deliberately communicates overall business strategy and connects it to the work of the functional team. Anticipates future trends and implications accurately. Leverages market knowledge to anticipate, capitalize on and drive change. Articulate credible pictures and visions of possibilities that will create sustainable value. Creates competitive and breakthrough strategies that show a clear connection between vision and action. Is willing to champion an idea or position despite dissent or political risk. Tackles tough issues, sharing sensitive messages or unpopular points of view effectively. Influences inside and outside of functional area for positive impact on business performance. Owns the development of successors and individuals who have potential for further development. 

LEADING & MOTIVATING – Serves as a champion and driver of DSW Values and culture. Attracts and selects the best talent to meet current and future business needs. Motivates and inspires others through rewards, authentic connections and meaningful recognition. Fosters diversity and an inclusive workplace where individual differences are valued and leveraged. Seeks new ways to evolve and challenge self. Develops team through delegation, challenges outside of the comfort zone and effective coaching and feedback. Shares ideas in a compelling manor that gains commitment. Champions change for positive impact on business results.

MANAGING FOR RESULTS – Establishes models and enforces accountability. Gets the most out of available resources and secures rare resources others cannot get. Anticipates and balances the needs of multiple stakeholders. Persists in accomplishing objectives. Pushes the team to elevate goals as results are achieved. Transforms functional area to achieve maximum results. Seizes opportunities and connects business insights to increase profit and revenue. 




•    10 + years of footwear technical engineering and product development leadership experience
•    Must have previous experience working with and travelling to factories in Asia

•    Bachelor's Degree in related field


The estimated pay range for this position is $200,000 to $285,000. The successful candidate’s actual salary offer will take into account a wide range of job-related factors including skill sets, years and nature of relevant experience, training, pay rates of associates in similar positions, the candidate’s location, and other organizational needs. The estimated pay range has been adjusted for the applicable geographic differential. This range does not include benefits such as health insurance, paid or unpaid time off work, and retirement.


You must apply through our internal portal: 
click here

Why Choose A Career with Designer Brands?

Empowering associates and building strong teams poised to disrupt the retail and footwear landscape through positive change is at the core of who we are at Designer Brands.

  • Invested in helping our associates learn, develop, achieve and grow into strong leaders
  • Shared commitment to creating a culture fueled by engagement, excitement, optimism and fun
  • Dedicated to giving back and community involvement 

About Designer Brands:

Designer Brands Inc. is one of North America’s largest designers, producers and retailers of footwear and accessories. 

  • Designer Brands Inc. operates a portfolio of retail concepts in nearly 1,000 locations under the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, The Shoe Company, and Shoe Warehouse brands and operates leased locations in the U.S through its Affiliated Business Group. 
  • Designer Brands designs and produces footwear and accessories through Camuto Group, a leading manufacturer selling in more than 5,400 doors worldwide. 













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