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Category Manager

ABOUT THE POSITION

Are you an experienced Category or Product Manager looking for an opportunity to work in the toy/ sporting goods industry? Aqua-Leisure is currently seeking an experienced and enthusiastic Product Category Manager to join our team. Reporting to the VP of Product and Marketing, this position is responsible for all aspects of business unit management including; market and competitive assessment, opportunity identification, product line development, overall category management and team leadership within their defined category space. The Category Manager is a critical member of the team and will work closely with senior management, sales, international business partners, and vendors on a variety of programs and initiatives.

RESPONSIBILITIES

PRODUCT MANAGEMENT/ DEVELOPMENT

  • Develop and execute a strategy and plan regarding your assigned product group. Develop long-term strategic objectives for your category based on detailed knowledge of category trends including but not limited to; competitive assessment, current and evolving consumer preferences and demographics, supply chain capabilities, retail partner growth objectives and critical price points as defined by POS and other relevant data.
  • Define program goals, communicate them and champion the growth of the category across all company functions, and provide influence in all decisions that affect the performance of the category.
  • Partner on a continual basis across all functional departments instrumental to the development, finalization and dissemination of product programs, including but not limited to: Product Sourcing, Product Development / Design, Creative, Sales, Purchasing, Operations, QA/QC, Legal (IP) and Finance.
  • Manage vertically integrated product management team in overseas offices, providing clear direction and objectives through effective daily communication and overall leadership.
  • Drive annual product development cycles and launch plan calendars, inclusive of critical departments, to assure 100% Launch-on-Time requirements within a highly seasonal and time sensitive business.
  • Lead financial and line management discussions regarding the product category, including pricing, margin analysis, forecasted sales volume, product life cycles / vitality as well as SKU management.
  • Establish and cultivate relationships with suppliers critical to your categories success. Evaluate supplier qualifications, negotiate and manage key supplier relationships and supply contracts, communicate product, packaging and logistical information to assure vendor compliance with price, quality and delivery needs.
  • Manage internal and external product and packaging approval process and provide guidance for creative execution on support materials required for marketing initiatives including but not limited to; press releases, web content, promotional programs and other special events.
  • Cultivate productive relationships with third party partners and organizations as needed to support the category.
  • Lead, track and report effectiveness of all functions critical to a successful on-time category line launch, including all aspects of design, packaging, photography, videography, assembly instructions, marketing decks and all other collateral materials necessary to facilitate success for the category. 

PRODUCT CATEGORY ANALYSIS

  • Conduct continuous market and retail checks to assess trends and identify growth opportunities and provide competitor analysis reports.
  • Conduct ongoing product life cycle assessment to assure proper positioning and go-forward vitality for critical items within the category.  Continuously monitor and identify underperforming SKU’s for elimination or revitalization.
  • Attend and participate in annual trade shows as needed to support the category.

MARKETING

  • Coordinate with Creative Group to ensure consistent messaging across all product, packaging, and collateral.
  • Coordinate with the Marketing team in writing accurate, focuses and highly effective product descriptions and marketing materials
  • Contribute to the Marketing team’s efforts in producing PR pieces, industry award submissions, and other efforts to promote our brand and products.
  • Devise and implement annual marketing plans, marketing strategies, and campaigns as needed to support the business. 

 

QUALIFICIATIONS

EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communications, or a related field (or a combination of related education and experience).
  • 10+ years progressive experience in consumer goods marketing including experience with Product Line Management and Development in consumer goods.  
  • Demonstrated product development and positioning experience from conceptualization through to presentation.  Detailed knowledge of all aspects of product line management including timelines critical to launch cycles.
  • Experience working with major retail chains in a consumer goods product management role. 

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES

  • Demonstrated skill in process management and workflow coordination.  Ability to manage multiple complex projects through complete life-cycles and to consistently deliver in high-pressure, agile environments within tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated strengths using consumer, product, POS, competitor, and related data to identify product solutions that grow market share and drive profits for the company and customers. 
  • Strong business knowledge of contract structure, implementation and compliance.  Experience with cost analysis and price negotiation.
  • Experience negotiating with and managing vendors including offshore factories in China and throughout Asia.  Well-developed ability to communicate product, packaging and logistical information to ensure vendor compliance with price, quality and delivery needs.
  • Excellent communication skills. Strong people and interpersonal skills, able to build productive relationships with coworkers and external contacts. Well-developed writing, presentation, and reporting skills.
  • Ability to travel up to 25%, including internationally.

 

BENEFITS AND PERKS

At Aqua Leisure, we value our people and are proud to offer competitive compensation and a generous benefits package. The health and wellness of our employees is of the utmost importance to us and, to that end, we offer:

  • 401k Retirement Plan (with generous company matching)
  • Medical Insurance (with 50% employer contribution)
  • Dental Insurance
  • Company-paid Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) covering employee deductibles
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for Medical and Dependent Care Expenses
  • Life Insurance (fully paid by Aqua Leisure)
  • Long Term Disability Insurance (fully paid by Aqua Leisure)
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Supplemental Life, Accident, and Cancer/Critical Illness Insurance
  • Employee Assistance Plan
  • Additional Benefits Bank paid by Aqua Leisure that can be applied to any of our voluntary benefits

We also offer a variety of types of leave including paid holiday, vacation, and sick/personal time off so that our employees can attend to personal needs and enjoy time away to relax. We want our team members to have access to new information to help them develop personally and professionally and offer a wide range of job and skills training, as well as personal development resources. Finally, our employees have access to free beverages to help them power through the day, and enjoy a variety of company-sponsored social events to keep things FUN! 

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