This is a highly collaborative role that, with the support of the other key Hightower team members, will work to develop a strong, relevant brand via an inspiring yet salable product pipeline achieving global sales targets and brand objectives.
You’ll play a pivotal role in building out a new internal team and pushing boundaries in order to generate profitable revenue and brand recognition for Hightower through the creation and development of thoughtful and responsive product designs.
Although trained in technical Industrial Design, this role requires an entrepreneurial business driver with market awareness and customer focus, creative- and critical thinking abilities, a passion for design and innovation, a strong sense of aesthetics, and an ability to communicate and incorporate feedback in a fast-paced startup environment.
Initially reporting directly to the CEO, the Design Director will have an array of critical responsibilities. This position could be based in Seattle, WA or High Point, NC.
- Develop the short- and long-term product design vision and strategy for Hightower focused on thoughtful, user-centric design and speed to market.
- Contribute “big ideas” to strategically enhance the brand while keeping in line with company direction and objectives.
- Lead the development and management of Hightower’s own product portfolio as well as the curation of products from our global manufacturing partners.
- Discover and develop new brand collaborations to drive brand recognition and reputation as a curator of good design.
- Discover new design talent internationally.
- Collaborate with external designer talent contracted by Hightower and bring their concepts to life while staying within the Hightower brand, design philosophies and business goals.
- Identification of products that should be discontinued from portfolio.
- Effectively communicate creative vision and direction to key stakeholders including building influence with remote teams.
- Lead the end-to-end design process from initial product brief to execution in manufacturing.
- Design products in-house as needed, along with the interest in and ability to guide a product concept from an external designer.
- Along with Finance, negotiate licensing terms.
- Along with Marketing, conduct market research and competitive analysis as inputs for product development pipeline as well as using data to help inform product roadmap development.
- Work closely with cross-functional teams to drive top product concepts forward from inspiration to commercialization so products launched achieve quality, on-time delivery, and profitability goals.
- Work closely with Manufacturing to leverage existing production capabilities and maximize our supply chain.
- Evolve and streamline existing product development process to improve communication, speed to market and parallel design development abilities.
- Ensure all design handoff documents clearly and accurately communicate & capture design intent as well as all defining product features for manufacturing/engineering teams to execute efficiently.
- Bring a high level of design standards, practice and aesthetics to all design solutions and execution; provide insights and guide expansion of new materiality and colors within our product offering.
- Establish relevant department performance metrics.
- Present at Board meetings as required to move key strategic efforts forward.
Required skills and experience:
- BFA or MA in Industrial Design, Furniture Design or a related design field preferred
- Minimum of 10 years of relevant product design & development experience preferred
- Proven track record of success in leadership & management roles including successful product launches (5+ years of leadership experience preferred)
- Experienced in AutoCAD, SketchUp, Solidworks or similar platform and able to produce, modify, enhance technical product drawings.
- Strong technical knowledge of furniture design and production processes
- Strong creative & analytical skills with the ability to evaluate multi-source data and draw global trends for competitive analysis
- Strategic agility and big idea thinking, combined with a willingness to dive in as needed to get the job done
- Confident, driven and dynamic leader; high level of influence
- Excellent communication and presentation skills, including the ability to interact successfully with diverse individuals at all levels and build effective partnerships
- Demonstrated ability to lead creative teams to design, prototype and manufacture products , with demonstrated sales success
- Proven ability to make fast decisions, independently, and with sound judgment
- Ability to travel up to 40% of time or as needed depending on location
Qualities we love!
- Can do, innovative attitude
- Solution oriented with demonstrated ability to problem solve
- Positive attitude and strong sense of humor to help foster a fun and creative work environment
- Creative and passionate about design, inside and outside the industry
- Possesses the confidence and ability to deal with a variety of both creative and executive personalities and temperaments
- Despite a successful career, maintains a good balance of confidence and humility