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Career Story: Product Line Manager For A Global Sporting Goods Apparel Manufacturer

Product Line Manager For A Global Sporting Goods Apparel Manufacturer

Job Title: Product Line Manager

Type of Company: My company is a global footwear and apparel behemoth whose products are geared toward runners.

Education: BFA, Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, MA)

Previous Experience: I started as a design and production coordinator, but after 10 years of doing that I moved onto a management position at a brand name retail company. Afterwards, I was a research and design manager for 3 years and am currently a line manager.

Job Tasks: My main responsibility is to work with our design team here and take their ideas to factories in both the US and Asia where our designs are then turned into goods. I work to ensure that the products we've designed are executed at the factory level and can be successfully mass-produced.

I start my day with working with the designers on their ideas and working through the computer on Adobe Illustrator and emails to the factory. I walk through the fabrics and trims of the designs. In about 2 weeks I usually see an actual product that the factory has generated from the design information I have given them. I ensure the executed product is what the designer wanted and then work on the price and overall production of the product. Once the design has been confirmed I work on the price and the delivery of the product that will show up in stores.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I would say the best part of my job is working in a creative atmosphere. I have the opportunity to travel all over the world and see places I never imagined I would visit. My days are never the same; every day is new and every day's a challenge. The worst parts of my job are the long hours and the constant exchange of information with co-workers and factories abroad. Communicating with people for whom English is a second language is never easy.

Job Tips: I love what I do but it has its drawbacks too: long hours, a lot of travel -- even working with designers can be a source of frustration. I work close to 15 hours a day, and with kids and a family that's hard. Striking a balance between work and the rest of my life is thus a never-ending battle. You gotta be organized on both fronts. Dinners are sometimes missed but the overall experience and the rewards can be fantastic.

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