Working as product manager for the Walmart account, Child of Mine, was a great opportunity for me. I was given the responsibility to help insure development and production for the largest retailer in the world...who wouldn't be excited and humbled at the same time?
I've worked for large accounts in my previous positions (Target, Macy's, JCPenney, and The Gap to name a few)...nothing new there. What was new is the breadth of responsibility I would be given to insure the success of one, albeit major, but one account. The success of this program largely rested on my shoulders...sure there were many other individuals involved in this brand's success, but honestly, the buck stopped with me. I was willing and able to accept the challenge ahead me.
Along with the sourcing manager, I developed the seasonal merchandising calendars to insure on-time delivery of samples and final production. I approved fabric, trim, color, and art. I managed on-time sampling and production approvals as well as worked with marketing on packaging approvals and wall sets. I took on the challenge...and I loved every minute of it. The line truly became a child of mine and the teams were like my extended family.
I learned a tremendous amount from this family of experts. It was at Carter's where I gained a deeper understanding of print development as well as a better understanding of the intersection between marketing (in terms of research and communication) and packaging design. I now understand that packaging design isn't just about aesthetics, but it has to be functional both in terms of the customer and the final consumer...especially when creating a line that is going to be set and sold on a brandwall.
Design is a creative process and product managers work really hard to respect, understand, and own this process by insuring the completed line maintains design integrity and meets company goals (quality, cost, and delivery).
The pictures below are examples of product that was developed for Carter's Fall 2007 brandwall set for Walmart's exclusive brand, Child of Mine.
"Change is not only expected; it is a part of the creative process. I am the gatekeeper of this change, responsible with ensuring the customer receives the "story" the design and merchandising teams intended...a story crafted based on the guidance and interests of the customer."