Resume & Professional Credits

Credentials Summary:

  • Over 18 years product development, creative direction, sourcing and merchandising leadership at both the wholesale and retail levels involving brick and mortar, catalog direct mail and internet sales channels.
  • Development and sourcing of seasonal and everyday lines for Enesco, Department 56, Paragon Catalog, Urban outfitters, Home Shopping Network,Nordstrom and many others.
  • Total of 15 years experience in key supplier roles with Target Corporation.
  • Expertise includes both 2D and 3D experience with particular concentration in celebratory, event, and message-driven product.
  • Master’s Degree in Architecture, Undergraduate Degree in Foreign Language.
  • Travel experience includes 2 to 3 months of each year for the past 18 years spent in India and China.
  • Hardgoods and Soft Home including Tabletop, Inspirational, Furniture & Lighting, Gift & Home Decor and Seasonal. 18 years experience in a broad range of materials including Ceramics, Glass, Metals, Wood, Beadwork and home textiles.

Education:

  • Master of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
  • Undergraduate degree in Foreign Language with a concentration in International Studies.
  • Bachelor of Arts Foreign Language, Wabash College(Inc. two years in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria)

The Godinger Group, Inc. (Godinger Silversmiths, Ricci, Cesca, and Studio Silversmiths)

VP of Merchandising, Creative & Product Development 
October 2015 to Present

Responsible for all Product Development, Strategic Sourcing, Creative, Brand Management, and Merchandising across all lines, categories and brands.

Gibson Overseas, Inc.

Product Development Account Director – Key National Accounts & Upscale Specialty
June 2010 to Present (Gibson is the world’s largest ceramic dinnerware and tabletop manufacturer/importer.)

Responsible for all Product Development, Strategic Planning and Account Direction for the TARGET account as well as Home Shopping Network, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Gumps and others. Responsible for stewardship of those retailer’s private label brands as well as Gibson and Gibson’s Licensed National Brands at those retailers (Mr. Coffee, Oster, Sunbeam, Nambe, Isaac Mizrahi, French Bull, Simplemente Delicioso and others) presences at those retailers. Captured a 10 x increase in volume and a 5 x increase in store presence. Responsible for creating opportunites in hard home where none had previously existed.

  • Product Development
  • Profitibility
  • Strategic Account and Assortment Planning
  • Superior Execution through solid vision, strategic sourcing, follow up, and attention to detail.

 

(2009 Consulting position with a small toy reseller on CPSIA Compliance)

Celebrate Express, Inc. (Birthday Express and Costume Express)

Vice President of Merchandising
2008 – Intrim position during the sale of the company

  • Merchandising Leadership
  • Direct Sourcing Leadership
  • Creative Leadership
  • Directed decisions by prescribing and analizing web analytics

Celebrate Express was, prior to its sale, the leading direct mail catalog and internet retailer of licensed and proprietary designed birthday party supplies and children’s costumes with annual revenues of over 90 million. Served as Interim VP of Merchandising during sale to BuySeasons.com, a subsidiary of Liberty Media, which owns QVC, ProFlowers, Red Envelope, Discovery Channel and many other niche and e-commerce retailers.

Responsibilities: Direction of Product Development, Assortment Planning, Licensing, Inventory Planning and Catalog Creative areas of the company.

Corporate Turn-around Strategy: Participation in the determination and execution of best and timely actions to stop and reverse declines in sales and profits and use cash resources to the greatest benefit. Participation in the making of all corporate decisions regarding company strategies and directions including marketing and sales, customer service, inventory, distribution, IT, and manufacturing.

Staff Leadership: Responsible for the leadership and management of a team of 27 across 5 areas including Assortment Planning, Product Development, Licensing, Inventory Planning and Catalog Creative. Directly supervise 6 managers or directors including 1 Assortment Planning manager, 1 merchandising director, 1 Product Development Manager, 1 Licensing Project Manager, 1 Catalog Creative Director, and 1 Inventory Planning Manager. Responsible for setting expectations for clear and responsible leadership, sense of urgency and accountability within those departments and in working with other departments.

Product Leadership: Responsible for setting clear expectations regarding integration of historical, trend, demographic, customer and competitor analysis in assortment planning and product development. Set training goals for understanding of item assortment performance across all areas of design, merchandising and product development.

Process Leadership: Worked to build a culture of “See it, own it, solve it, DO IT!

Brand Leadership: Responsible for the analysis of customer and test data to clarify the expectations promised by our brand and our market position and communicate that analysis to department leaders. Work to identify service, product, pricing and product presentation mistakes that have been made and correcting them within my departments as well as partnering with other departments to create change.

 

THT Designs, Inc./Tender Heart Treasures

Director of Product Development and Merchandising
November 2005 to May 2008

 

THT Designs / Tender Heart Treasures (now closed) was at one time a $60 Million multi-channel merchant in the home dcor and gift industry. THT Designs is the Wholesale Division which sold to nearly all consumer catalogs, independent specialty retail stores, as well as a select group of mass merchant partners. Prior to it’s closing the company sold through permanent showrooms in the Atlanta Mart and the Dallas Gift Mart as well as through its direct mail wholesale catalogs and online. Most of the company’s wholesales sales come through its direct mail sales channel.

Tender Heart Treasures is the company’s retail division which sells through a widely-distributed mail-order catalog.

Corporate Turn-around Strategy: Took a lead role in director-level corporate decisions regarding all company strategies and directions including marketing and sales, customer service, inventory, distribution, IT, and national accounts.

Leadership: Lead and managed a team of 26 across 2 departments. Directly supervised 2 Buyers, 1 Senior Product Planner, 1 Merchandise Analyst, 1 Design Studio Manager, 2 Product Developers. Indirect reports are an additional 6 administrative staff and 12 designers.

Product: Was responsible for product vision, motivation toward that vision, and for all final decisions about all product, product sourcing and initial order quantities.

Strategic and Category Planning: Used company historical, trend, demographic, customer and competitor analysis to determine which categories we can “OWN” as a company. Set strategies for being the BEST in the businesses we determined we could own. Constantly monitored and analyzed sales to benchmark and evaluate positioning strategies.

Sourcing Strategy: Fully integrated sourcing into the product development process to close the gap between concept and execution allowing the following:

  • Take advantage of supplier innovations and efficiencies in building ideas.
  • Cultivate suppliers that can preserve the “freshness” of the original design concept in the final product.
  • Shorten lead times to get ideas to market faster and reduce inventory investments/risks
  • Opening Order Strategy: Supervises a team of buyers and analysts to determine opening order levels for all products maximizing sales and minimizing inventory investment.

Product Development Leadership: Supervised a team of analysts, product developers, and designers to create an energetic, collaborative environment for generating new product ideas. The process is informed with weekly team presentations on market influences, sales history, current sales, supplier issues and competitor analysis.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Re-Organization: Devised and executed a broad-sweeping multi-departmental re-organization to increase ownership and level of accountability in the product development, design, sourcing, purchasing and merchandising areas. Kept merchandising and product development costs in line with sales (% of cost of goods sold). Reduced complication and redundancy in the organization through two separate 20% reductions in force.
  • Product Realignment: Let a team to re-analyze sales trends which resulted in a redirection of the company’s product lines toward warmer, more emotion-engaging products especially seasonal, message-driven and celebratory product lines and away from general home dcor.
  • Budget Reduction: Simplified processes to reduce expenses in the Product Development, Purchasing and Design areas by 40% as a proportion of Cost of Goods Sold continually keeping costs in-line with sales.
  • Established of a product vision to capitalize on our unique strengths in the marketplace.
  • Inspired and motivated the team members to contribute to that vision.
  • New sourcing and product development initiatives, with vendors fully integrated in the process.

 

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Director – 3D Gifts and Promotions, Mass Retail
August 2004 to November 2005

Product Development Leadership: Assumed a lead role among a team of designers, technical artists, engineers and packaging specialists to develop promotional and brand-building product for major Hallmark Mass Channel seasonal programs.

Brand Building and Stewardship: Give marketing partners the product and tools needed to assert stewardship over the Hallmark brand in the Mass environment.

Collection Building: Develop a collection of items for review on demand by Hallmark Mass Channel retailers and other Hallmark Business Unit partners.

Sourcing Strategy: Develop new sourcing strategies to provide the agility needed to offer unique material combinations, formats and pricing to the Marketing/Promotions area.

Process Improvements: Established both internal processes and Asia travel agendas to respond quicker to customer requests and eliminate waste in the product development process.

 

 

Totem/Swat Product Design

Principal Partner
November 1997 to August 2004

Totem / Swat Product Design was a full-service product development, design, sourcing, and import services firm in Chicago from December 1996 to November 2004. Clients included Target Corporation, Department 56, Enesco Corporation, Westfair / Loblaws Canada, Paragon Company Catalog and others. Totem/Swat Product design developed products based on basic direction from it’s clients and then sourced those products in India, China and Thailand then provided the import logistics support services needed to get them to their client’s distribution centers.

Strategic Planning: Examined market and supplier conditions to determine the range of most profitable product categories and import services to offer. Devised long-term strategies.

Trends Forecasting: Developed trend forecasts to define product development priorities.

New Product development: Developed trend-accurate product specific to our supplier strengths and customer needs and price-point requirements. Responsible for all aspects of product development including drawings, supervising model makers and outside artists, developing concepts and artwork from vintage items, interpreting customer-provided style guides and licensed images into full ranges of product including “Festivities” for Enesco, Trim-a-Tree, Valentines and Easter for Target and various seasonal programs for Department 56.

Market Goods Development: Determined opportunities in market goods and factory-developed items. Integrated market items into licensed lines and custom-designed lines.

Supplier Sourcing: Determined best source country and factory for each item based on factory’s capabilities, shipping rate, duty rates, and required ETA of shipment. Oversaw sample production.

Purchase Negotiations: Used industry knowledge to enforce fair pricing from suppliers, with clear agreements for on-time shipments, quality expectations, packing requirements, and item and carton labeling. Invoked deterrents for late shipments.

Sales Negotiations: Negotiated terms, pricing, and payment methods for direct-import sales.

New Customer Development: Used Trade Shows and on-site presentations to identify and pursue new customers.

New Technology Development: Developed custom database technology for storage and search of all samples entering the office. Developed a computer database of market goods.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Increased Sales 20 -30% each year during the last 5 years, with $1.8 million in sales for 2003.
  • Maintained our position as a vendor even after TARGET’s purchase of AMC.
  • Made marginally profitable customers profitable. Eliminated customers that proved unprofitable.
  • Developed technologies to make it easier for customers and cheaper for us to select and show merchandise.

 

Experience Prior to 1996

  • Practicing Architect
  • Award-winning Commercial Designer: Ligature, Inc, Killian & Wallace Advertising, Ogilvy and Mather Direct achiving numberous national and international awards including Graphis “Products by Design”, AIGA national awards, and work in the Permanent Design Collection of the Library of Congress.

 

Other Relevant Experience and Skills

  • Asia Travel: I’ve spent 2 – 3 months a year for the past 10 years in Asia. My time was usually spent in India and China.
  • Antique/Flea Market Knowledge: Brought up in the family antique business with extensive knowledge of antiques.
  • Drawing Skills: Good drawing skills. Can draw quickly when at a factory or in meetings to clarify product ideas.
  • Quality, Health, Safety, and Environmental Responsibility: CCIB, Prop 65, Child Safety, and code of conduct.
  • Freelance Commercial Design: Numerous national and international awards in 2D and 3D design.
  • Market Knowledge: Well informed about past and present product offerings of most retailers.
  • Production Knowledge: Very strong knowledge of metal casting and forming, textiles, glass, leather, ceramics etc.
  • Product Packaging and Testing Knowledge: Familiarity with SGS, and MTL testing, item labeling, and packaging.
  • Product Sales Knowledge: Knowledge of the sales results of a large variety of products over the past 11 years in a variety of environments and circumstances.
  • Computer Skills: Proficient in all MS office applications, Oracle, Quickbase and Photoshop.

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