How products come to life: An interview with Hermin Uzer from Napapijri

You might ask yourself: How exactly does a sketch from a Designer turn into a real product? As we just have a very general answer to this question ourselves, we passed it on to an expert in this field.
Hermin Uzer, Head of Product Development of Napapijri since 2011, translates design ideas and transforms them into three-dimensional products on a daily base, through all of the stages involved in developing outdoor apparel from concept to final product.

We were lucky to have her give us passionate insights into her work at Napapijri, shed some light on what exactly product development is (and what it is not) and after all, how it brings the brand to life.

Sportyjob: Let's jump right in. I have to admit I always found it difficult to really explain what Product Development actually is. Maybe you can help me and the readers get a better understanding of it. What exactly is it that you do at Napapijri?

Hermin Uzer: In a nutshell, product development is making the garments three-dimensional. You know, we make the garments real. There’s a lot that needs to be done, so where we start is basically when we get the briefing and the target from our merchandising team where they note the retail prices, the line architecture, what kind of innovations or carry-over-styles we need to consider. What the general direction is. It’s the same briefing that the designers get.
Based on that, we deliberate who the right vendor would be. And after that, we would get the initial sketches and ideation from the designers and we would work with the raw materials team to arrange all the components that are needed to make the product real.

SJ: So it’s basically the entire journey from the product. And if you would break it down how your department develops new products from scratch to market, how would you describe it?

We would start with the sketch from the designers and create a technical description for it. We then send the technical sketches to the vendor.
So, we make detail sheets, we scan sketches for construction and design features that we have to specify. This might be a very specific sleeve-construction, a specific fit or functionality that we need to take into consideration. It's really about every single detail. The color, the applications, prints, specific stitches. Maybe other features or handcrafts. Completely sketch out every single thing and component so that it's absolutely clear what the vendor needs to produce.

SJ: And after that?

HU: For the second step, we actually visit the vendor and together with them look at how the construction came out. Is it nice? Are there limitations? Do we have to make some adjustments? And directly in the factory, we work together with those vendors, making sure that the design is something that we can realize in the garment.

SJ: What's the biggest challenge about it?

HU: Our most intensive work is maintaining the design integrity within the possibilities that exist. So, coming back to what I said back earlier, the target that the merchandiser's define is a very important factor in product development, but keeping the design integrity is even more important. Because that, you know, that gives the wa-woomm and the life and the DNA to the brand!


The target that the merchandiser's define is a very important factor in product development, but keeping the design integrity is even more important. Because that, you know, that gives the wa-woom and the life and the DNA to the brand!

Hermin Uzer

HU: Anyway, that’s usually the part where we spend 80% work time on, going back and forth to the vendors, working on the washes, applications, the sizing, the construction, the workmanship, the pricing, the fabrics and everything. It’s a lot. It’s basically everything.
That’s why I said in a nutshell it’s making a design three dimensional. It’s not just going to the vendor and a sample comes out. It’s really working in translating the inspiration from the designer, but maintaining the KPI from the merchandiser in order for them to place it on the market.
After that, we would get a first product, we would have a review meeting with both merchandisers and the designers to get their feedback on the execution, on the color, on the intensity, on the price, etc. And usually, we construct a garment further until we get to a second prototype. And so on until the final product comes out.

SJ: A very extensive process.

HU: We also have to take into consideration the testing part on quality: this requires testing of the fabric and the components, but also full testing of the garment - do all features and benefits work in construction, such as seam-taping, or wash details, colour migration? Does the fabric work in combination with the excecution – pilling, snagging, and so on. To make sure we deliver an up to standard product to the consumer, we have to look at each and every aspect while developing.

SJ: It seems like Product Development and the Design process are very entwined. You studied Design yourself at the AMFI. Does it come in handy for your position?

HU: I would say yes and no. It’s very difficult. I mean I started out as a Designer indeed. However, at the time that I started, Design, Development, Coloring, being responsible for graphics and production, was all-in-one.
In that period of time, you know, as a Designer, we were obliged to go to the factories and take care of the realisation ourselves.
And I clearly remember the moment it had changed when some bigger corporations came to Holland - that is in my case, as I work in Amsterdam - there was a moment when I had a talk with a large international company and they asked me „Ok, you have to make a choice. It’s either design or either development.“ And I was like „What do you mean? Design and Development is one and the same." But in this company, Designer's were in charge of setting up and designing the collection, but the developers were responsible for the realization of the product. That’s when I decided, I'd rather go into the product development side, because realization for me is more important. Because you can have a beautiful sketch, but then the outcome might not be like you imagined.
So I wanted to be as close as possible to the design. However, when I look at some of people that I worked with in the past who have been in my team of developers, you know, most of them they are younger and they didn’t have any design experience, but they’re extremely good developers. I think if you have a combination of understanding creativity, even though it’s not your own design, and understanding the DNA of the company and the creativity of the Designer, being able to translate it into a construction so that you don’t change the styles too much - that’s the most important asset you can have as a developer.


If you have a combination of understanding creativity, even though it’s not your own design, and understanding the DNA of the company and the creativity of the Designer, being able to translate it into a construction so that you don’t change the styles too much - that’s the most important asset you can have as a developer.

Hermin Uzer

SJ: That's incredible! I need to admit that I’ve actually never really distinguished between Design and Product Develoment.

HU: Honestly, I think you shouldn’t. Over the last 25 years, it’s how the development went. I am happy to see that nowadays, especially with the upcoming of digital design, the new master studies at fashion schools turn their focus on creating styles digitally. I see the fusion of Design and Development come back more and more. Because those students are obliged to really understand construction, pattern making, fabrics, applications and everything, whereas there was a time when design was only focused on creativity. Realization was important, but not in depth. I see that coming back in the newer generations.

SJ: Yeah sure, it is really important that the Designer's have an understanding of the overall process.

Yes! It is! In my opinion, designers and developers do have different strengths, but they should actually know exactly the same. It’s like your left and right arm. And without one the other would not function.

SJ: Let's finish with a personal insight. What is your favorite part of being a product developer?

HU: It’s being in touch with the product. Even though it’s something that I don’t design, it is designed in my brand, so it’s also something from me. Just having the challenge to realize that design and enable the adaption from all sides, from quality, execution, targets and design integrity. That’s - it’s always nice! It becomes your little baby. You’re responsible from Step B onwards - but even without Step A, it’s your little baby.

The advantages of working remotely in the sports business

While modern companies implemented remote work - even just for a day  per week - even years ago, the location-unbound working model is now becoming a big part of the every day work culture in the sports industry. 

One company in the sports business showing exactly how it is done is komoot. While located in Potsdam, the team is actually working from all over the world - remotely.

Right at this very moment, they look for a Brand Manager to expand their team.

This way, they’re actually developing a full functioning and effective team which takes responsibility and therefore, really pushes the company to the next level while being more satisfied in their job.

How so? That’s what we discovered in this blog. Find out what advantages working remotely brings and what it needs to make it work. 

The advantages of working remotely

Better work-life-balance

While most companies which offer remote work as a benefit do expect you to be available for a specific time frame matching the office hours, there’s still plenty which allow a flexible time schedule. Taking time off for necessary appointments and continuing work afterwards, starting earlier to have more time in the afternoon, or whichever model it is you prefer - you’ll be able to use your time more effectively and actually, coordinate your job around your life and not the other way round. A very exciting experience. 

And even if you need to work fixed hours, after all it allows you to spend more time outside of work. Taking into consideration the time employees are saving by not having to commute to work and back home, as well as the option to actually use your break for something else than having lunch in the canteen, it seems to enable a better use of time.

A focus on productivity instead of time

What happens when your daily task are done and your project is on hold? Well, let’s face it: A lot of office time is spent with browsing the web, socializing, figuring out where to go for holidays, you get the point. The reason is simply that we have to be there until a specific time when our shift ends, no matter the work load. While being idle in between tasks can push motivation, it can also be wasted time that you could put to much better use. 

That’s where remote work comes in handy. The advantage of working at home is that 

  1. you can actually concentrate on your work without having colleagues from your office interrupting 
  2. when your work is done, you can actually do something else because
  3. your boss can hardly stumble into the office noticing you’re procrastinating

We’re not implying that you should skip on your work for a layday at home and fool your team or boss. But if you’re doing your job quickly and still maintain good quality, there’s nothing wrong about using remaining working hours for other activities - as long as you’re available when needed.  This leads to more productive and effective work - so both sides, employee and employer, benefit from it. 

Creativity & innovation

In general, working from home might give you the needed distance from your work and team to be creative or innovative. Especially, when having the option to „work from wherever you want, be it a beach, the mountains, your house or anywhere else“ as komoot puts it in their job ad, the remote work gives you the freedom to explore new places, new cultures or even just the neighborhood in your daily life, to gain new experiences and impressions. Which - as we know - is fueling creativity. 

Cost savings 

Shifting to the employer’s point of view who does benefit from all mentioned points, they have furthermore the advantage of actually being able to save money. With more people working remotely, there’s less working space needed, which cuts the cost for rent, interior and maintainance. 

Happiness and passion

Taking all these things into account, it’s no surprise that surveys say that remote employees are all in all happier than regular office staff. It benefits their health, mental and physical, as well as giving them much needed freedom to fulfill dreams and goals. 

Disadvantages and how to avoid them

With our own Sportyjob team working remotely from everywhere between Germany to France and even to the Canary Islands, we know exactly that not working together takes a lot of effort to actually create a functioning team. While benefits for employees and employers are obvious, there are still disadvantages luring around the corner. Talking about miscommunication, feeling disconnected, projects lying dormant, unhappy team members - you name it.

But, like mentioned above, those issues can be easily handled with some effort and measurements that the whole team needs to take.

Communication

When being in the same office or building, it’s easy just to give a short update in between. But even in regular working environments, there’s a need for individual weekly jour-fixes and team meetings to keep the team updated. Even with some distance between the team, it’s absolutely necessary to maintain this. Giving updates on what you’re working on, project status, etc., even some personal information every now and then (planned holidays, how everyone is doing, etc.).

The most important part though is remembering that there’s is no digital, but actually a human team existing. For this, video calls are the easiest way to continuing talking face to face over any distance. With plenty of tools which allow split screens and group calls, there’s no problem to keep up with the communication.

komoot even took it a step further: 4 times a year, the whole team meets up at one destination around the world for one week, to work together, socialize, get to know each other in case there are new team members aboard. A perfect way of combining a team building measurement with an activity which resembles perfectly to company spirit and mission. 

Trust 

A very big factor. Remote jobs only work when both sides trust each other. If there’s colleagues or your employer mistrusting your work ethics, this is not going to work out. There might always be someone who thinks that remote workers only relax, play games or chat or watch tv instead of working, but in our experience, this is far away from the truth. Whether you prefer working regular office hours or like to use your mornings for sports or other activities and therefore, work late - that’s fine. It should be accepted and most of all, trusted, by your team that you still keep up with your work. 

Also, on the other side of the medal, trust in being seen. Don’t worry about being available all day long in case your boss actually sends an e-mail when you have just finished your day. There’s the possibility that you might feel the urge to always check your e-mails, always be online, so no one gets the idea of you being lazy. There’s absolutely no need to. Trust is needed on both sides. So is free time to stay productive and passionate about your job. 


If you’re interesting in knowing more about the realization of komoots working model, check out the free Whitepaper from our partner ISPO: Digital talents in the sports industry - Whitepaper.

By looking at komoot, they derive concrete recommendations for winning digital talents for the sports industry.

Meet Alicia Pinckney: Designer at Timberland

Timberland Designer Alicia Pinckney

Passionate, creative and a very contagious smile: That's Alicia Pinckney. The Men's Apparel Designer of Timberland heritage talked to us about her career, what inspires her and the possibilities for sustainable solutions of sports fashion design.

Sportyjob: I've seen you had your 2 years anniversary these days. Congratulations!

Alicia Pinckney: [laughs] Thank you!

SJ: So, how have your last two years at Timberland been?

AP: I feel like these last two years have gone by so quickly! I've joined the team together with a bunch of new people, so in a sense, we kind of build the brand up again with a completely new team. With that in mind, there has been a lot of evolution, a lot of structure changes, just a lot of things happening in these last two years. So I think that’s what made it go by really fast! I’ve just been keeping up with everything that has been going on. I like fast pace and that’s what Timberland has been. It’s always been open for change and constantly evolving to something new. So it has been a very interesting time in my two years here, meeting different people, traveling to different places around the world.

SJ: Is it something that sparks your creativity, going so fast pace?

AP: I definitely think it is! Because for me, if I feel like I am stagnated or anything isn’t happening, my creativity can lie dormant. But if you have something that is stimulating you, like going to new places, being exposed to new cultures, that keeps the creativity and juices flowing. Whenever we design for a new season, we are always traveling - I can say that it definitely helps with the creativity.


If I feel like I am stagnated or anything isn’t happening, my creativity can lie dormant. But if you have something that is stimulating you, like going to new places, being exposed to new cultures, that keeps the creativity and juices flowing

Alicia Pinckney

SJ: Let's go back two years. Do you remember your first product that came to store?

AP: Yeah, actually! When I first joined the team in July 2017, I immediately started working on a collaboration project with Christopher Raeburn. Then, around June 2018, it was presented at the London Fashion Week. It was our first time having a Timberland product on a runway during fashion week. So that was something! I was like: "Wow, I just started and I already see my stuff!". Normally, when you start at a company, it takes a while to actually see your designs in action, because of the timelines we are working on.
Another few months later I saw it in our Flagship Store in London in Regent Street, which was very cool and very exciting! And when I went back home to America, I went into the New York store and I saw that we had a popup store based on showing this product, because this project was so significant for sustainability. You see, Christopher Raeburn is all about reuse, reduce, recycle and circular design. And our product was basically that. We made sure that all of our cotton that we used was organic, any part that is possible can be recycled. It was basically like a very closed circular collection. The intent was reducing waste and making use of waste, everything we used from very sustainable resources.

SJ: Talking about sustainability. Timberland has been doing a lot to reduce the carbon foot print of the fashion industry. One of their goals is to reuse 100% recycled materials until 2020. What is your role in reaching these goals?

AP: We’ve been training a lot on circular design. I am not sure if you’re familiar with that. You look at design in general, normally it’s very linear, we pick up a resource, we use it and then it’s wasted. And no one does anything with the waste. But the concept of circular design does. You start with the resources, make fabric from it which - after the consumer uses it - can be remade into something else and can go back to the beginning loop of the resources. It can be regenerated for something else. So, we should eliminate our carbon foot print, not have so much waste. A lot of our decision making also depends on: ok it can be repaired, so the customer doesn’t have to throw it away. Which is a big factor. Or we also can choose things that are already recycled, for example, companies using recycled nets from the ocean. It’s about doing the research, to take waste and making something out of it.  So it’s a lot of thinking what we’re doing and honestly, out of all the big companies that I’ve worked for, Timberland is the most aware in the details to help reduce our carbon footprint.

SJ: How does sustainability influence your designs?

AP: I feel that it influences my way of designing in the way that when people think of me as a designer or like when you think of the idea of any designer, you automatically think of fashion, trends, that’s it. But for me, I think, having this whole topic of sustainability in the forefront of my mind, I am not just chasing after fashion. I am chasing after what makes a change for the world. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but if you only stay relevant with what’s happening in trends, honestly, a lot of trends aren’t that great for the environment. So, it really changes my way of designing, because I am not really trend and fashion focused, I am more purpose and function focused.


I am not just chasing after fashion. I am chasing after what makes a change for the world

Alicia Pinckney

SJ: So, you don’t only have an impact on Timberland's design, but it also has one on you!

AP: Yeah, I can definitely agree with that. It feels like it gives you a sense of purpose. Because I feel that when you’re designing with not having anything in mind other than creating a garment that someone looks nice in, you kind of feel - I don’t know about anyone else, but for me - I kind of feel empty. Because this is what I am contributing to the world, that is my purpose.
When you look at the DNA of Timberland and the fact that we’re trying to do good for the world, while we also do this creative part of designing, you can feel a bit a balance of your fulfillment. Because you’re doing creative stuff, but you’re also doing something that is going to actually make a difference. Instead of just filtering the world or just oversaturating the world with garments, garments, garments, we’re trying to make a difference. Because of course, garments will always be a part of our life here, but if you can do it in a way you’re not killing the world, you feel a sense of purpose, of personal purpose.

SJ: Finding this fulfillment as an employee must be extraordinary for you, because before you were freelancing, you had your own brand GLEON 1938. It probably must have been a big change when switching from your own products to representing a brand. How is it different when working for a brand than doing your own products?

AP: I think it’s completely different as you are working collaboratively. Everything is build off of a team, from the initial ideation of the direction for the season to working with different partners to help to complete the collection. Whereas when I was working on my brand, I did everything on my own. I cut and sewed, and created my own patterns. I was connecting with different creatives, from my photographers to models and event creators for whenever I did fashion shows. At Timberland, we're involving another community of manpower to help get the brand globally reached.
But what I definitely think is the difference when you’re working for a brand is, not only do you have the financial support, but you can actually make a global statement when it comes to being sustainable.
But I really think you can take your ideas and your mindset from working  on your personal brand and bring the two at a larger scale when you’re working collaboratively with other designers. You can really see how it can become something big.

SJ: Would you say your old designs have become a part of your new work as well?

AP: I can definitely say that. For me, I have always been into function, as I mentioned before. Growing up, I have always been into maths and science. I was really into engineering throughout high school. And when I decided to pursue fashion design, it was another way to let out my creative side. So when I was designing personally for my brand,  I did a lot of things that required a lot of function. So, for me, I used that same way of thinking coming from Timberland. Whenever we design something, we always design with a purpose. Whenever we present something, we can’t just say „Oh I did this pocket, because it looks nice“. We have to have a true reason why we did it. Especially, for me working off of the heritage of Timberland, we defined our customer and our customer loves function. Our customer goes outside a lot. so, you know we need to be able to equip them with anything they'll need, whether it’s multiple pockets or a reversibility or whatever. Every detail that he can use when he’s outside. so for me, I was able to translate my functional way of thinking to Timberland.

SJ: Looking back, what is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

AP: I have so many favorite parts of being a fashion designer  [laughs]. First, I would say the traveling is one of my favorite parts, because I love to travel and I am really really excited and grateful to have a job that allows me to travel. Seeing different cultures, seeing different things that help inform your collections.
The second thing I can say is when you actually get the garment, because you spend so much time sketching in 2D or sketching on the computer and then when you actually receive the garment that feeling to see it is just like „wow amazing!“. To see it transform from paper to an actual product is a very... it’s kind of like a confirmation.

SJ: Hearing this, you’re very passionate about your job. Which is great! You’d probably recommend becoming a designer.

AP: Yeah, I do!

SJ: If you would have to advice someone who wants to become a designer, which advice would you give him or her on how to achieve this career?

AP: I would definitely say, to surround yourself with people who you aspire to be. Getting to know other people that are designers. To ask questions. That way you can, you know, get advice from them. Also, be open to learn on your own. Do a lot of research. Like for me, I have always done a lot of research, I learned how to sew when I was 12. That was kind of a self-taught process. So when you’re open to researching, problem solving, anything like that that can really help you and boost you to becoming a designer.

Self-Taught Designer: All garments designed, cut and sewn by Alicia Pinckney for Vogue Italia's Call for Talents IV where she scored a scholarship for the Domus Academy's Master Fashion Design - © Vogue Italia

SJ: Did you already know that you want to be a designer when you were 12?

AP: Yes!!! I know, it’s so crazy. As i mentioned before I was really smart in school, like i was the valedictorian and the president of my class. I was really smart, I was like the mathlete nerd kind of girl. But at the same time, my family is filled with a lot of creativity. My mother works a lot with wood and my grandfather used to build with wood, too, he was a carpenter and a painter. And for me, just being surrounded by that as a kid was always something I also wanted to do. So I used to sketch all the time! I got my first sewing machine when I was 12. And from there, I used to make a lot of things, I made my prom dresses when I was in high school. So for me this was always a part of who I was, I’ve always known I wanted to be a designer since I was very young. And i just took the path to follow to get me to where I am now.

How to make your job search more effective

Whether you want to change companies or start in a new field: If you decide to land a new career outside of your network, you are dependent on external sources. The plenty of ads in newspapers to the world-wide web, ranging from social media platforms to job boards and company pages, might prevent us from seeing the wood for the trees. Thus, making the job search quite overwhelming when we get lost in the flood of options.
Luckily, there exist some methods to help you find your way through.

Here’s our advice on making your job search more effective.

Narrow the job down as much as possible

No matter which task in your life you look at: You always need to start with a plan of what you want to achieve to be successful. In this case, the start is knowing

  • what kind of job you are looking for
  • which industry fits your lifestyle & interest
  • where you want to work (anywhere / countrywide / region / city)
  • what kind of company (enterprise / middle-class / small business / start-up / agency)

Knowing exactly which career suits your needs, helps you target the right job.

The easy way would be already working in a field that you like. Job changes here mostly result from unhappiness with the employer, moving to a new region, the desire for a new challenge or a better salary. To make long story short: If you already have work experience in a career that you like, you can look for a similar position in a different company.

If you actually don’t have a clue, focus on your skills, education and interest to narrow it down on a specific field, for example Marketing, Management or Engineering. Most online job boards allow you to filter for a department, so that’s a start.

Specify your search

If you are able to narrow your interest down on an industry, concentrate your search on a niche job-board. For example, if you are looking for an employment in the sports industry, it’ll be more effective looking at less ads at Sportyjob than looking at thousands of ads on general job boards. In the end, your employer is as important for a satisfying work life as the mission field itself.

Same goes for regional offers: If you’d like to work in your home town, you might want to browse your regional newspaper first. Especially traditional & small business tend to advertise there. Nowadays, most newspapers also publish their jobs in their own online portal, so you can easily take a look on your phone or computer.

Let automation do your work

Job Alerts

Have you heard of alerts? It helps you automate your search. Just like a notification of your favorite mobile apps, these alarm you when a new ad was published that suits your search.

Just take a look at our own job alert:
Since you have narrowed down the job profile in the beginning of your search, you can easily automate your search. You define the

  • job description or field
  • keywords (i.e. specific skills, tools, buzz words like „small team“)
  • location
  • frequency (when the job is published / a summary once per day, week, …)

Once set up you will receive an e-mail in your defined frequency which contains all fitting positions. Let us do the work for you!

Pre-sets: Preparation is key

Another automated process is the application itself. A good job board offers the setup of a digital CV or upload of a document which allows you to apply with just one click the moment you found a fitting ad.
Take your time in advance to create a well-formatted CV - it will save you the time later and actually increase your effectiveness the most.

An alternative would be an extensive LinkedIn profile. A lot of companies extended their recruitment to the social media platform where you can apply directly. Furthermore, LinkedIn has a feature to print your CV out of your online profile.

Need advice on the perfect CV? Here's some thoughts for your CV of professional headhunter Andy Gugenheimer for help.

Looking manually

Make a schedule

Actively looking for a job is time-consuming and can be quite a pain-in-the-ass. It’s actually very similar to learning something new or growing a new habit. The key to being more effective is consistency. Scheduling a time slot for your job search daily or at least, regularly, increases your productivity and also makes the search itself less tiring. Create a weekly schedule which defines a time frame for your search. Also: If you decide on an hour daily, stick to it - but also don’t overrun.

Set goals: Job search +

The other half of actually making progress is defining goals that you want to achieve. Else, your job search will quickly turn intro scrolling through websites and wasting time. Define your task as „job search +“:
1 hour of job search = 30 minutes of research + filling out x application(s)

Activate your personal network

Let your friends and acquaintances know that you’re looking for a job. There’s a reason that collective intelligence exists - have it work for your advantage. They might have heard about an offer in their own company that suits your needs. Especially for jobs on the hidden labor market, this is absolute gold! Often, employer try to fill a position internally, so it won’t be published outside of the company. Knowing of one of those through a friend will enable you to send an unsolicited application.

Big plus: There won’t be many applicants and you will stand out as a proactive and motivated candidate.

We know the job search can be tough and the application and interview process afterwards entails another set of barriers to break down. But: With these hints, at least the first steps to achieve a new career, will be made a lot easier and more productive. We wish you good luck!

OutDoor Vs. Outdoor: What’s up with the two fairs?

OutDoor becomes OutDoor by ISPO, from 30.06. - 03.07.2019 for the first time.
In June 2018, the European OutDoor Group, EOG for short, announced that the OutDoor trade fair will be hosted by ISPO at Messe Munich for the next three years. With a new concept, the ISPO takes over the execution of the fair - and leads it into the future.

After the Messe Friedrichshafen lost the most important European outdoor fair to Munich, it calls a new event into action. The name? Outdoor.

Self-explanatory, two fairs coming around this year are creating a lot of confusion.  Let's take a closer look at OutDoor by ISPO and Outdoor.

OutDoor by ISPO

With a captivating concept, Messe München was awarded the contract by the EOG. Instead of simply adopting the Outdoor brand, ISPO expanded the event with innovative features - by looking at future-oriented technologies and other industries.

"The new concept takes up current requirements and offers added value for all market participants: whether start-up, medium-sized companies or global brands," says Markus Hefter, project manager of OutDoor by ISPO.

The most important developments at a glance:

An additonal 361 days

As part of ISPO, OutDoor is experiencing the same benefits that have already become established in the sports industry. Rather than being "just" an on-site event, OutDoor by ISPO creates a allround network with additional online and offline services, as well as connecting dealers and manufacturers 365 days a year.

Following the development of the outdoor  term
While the classic mountaineering, climbing and hiking activities will continue to be on the show, in 2019 additional segments will be added for the first time. Including yoga, running, trail running, mountain biking, travel and water sports.
For customers, those activities have already been an established part of the outdoor industry.

Knowledge transfer from the ISPO portfolio
With the help of its own portfolio and products, OutDoor by ISPO provides access to knowledge of other industries, through so-called "cross-industry". At Summits and Conferences, selected speakers will discuss environmental technologies already used in the sports industry, as well as digital trading and technology solutions from the experience with ISPO Digitize.

For small and medium businesses

Even though the trade fair in Friedrichshafen used to address the major players in the industry, ISPO now knows how to get start-ups and smaller companies on board. While "OutDoor Easy" enables a cost-effective trade show appearance, the Basecamp of Inspiration provides a platform for startups and industry news in particular, with its own summit on thoughts and visions.

The other fair: The new outdoor in Friedrichshafen

Even though the brand itself has moved, Messe Friedrichshafen is still trying to position itself as a key platform in the outdoor industry in 2019. How? By organizing its own trade fair.

Reduced to 2 1/2 instead of 4 days, the "Outdoor" takes place in Friedrichshafen from 17. - 19.09.2019.

For the industry itself, the challenge of Friedrichshafen is a rather confusing topic: Especially small and medium-sized companies usually opt for the stand placement on just one trade fair. Trade visitors are now faced with the decision to make: Munich or Friedrichshafen.

What's the advantages for Friedrichshafen?

According to Reisinger, the head of Outdoor, the new concept is mainly about using the existing strengthsof its location and eradicating the weaknesses of the original brand. Among other things, this shall be done by addressing small and medium-sized businesses through training and a start-up stage. A cost-effective stand package. Better networking options, such as round tables and organized conversations. A closer look at trends.

Developments that are also fundamental in the new concept of the OutDoor by ISPO. fully supported by the EOG. Thus, the original weaknesses of the brand are actually no longer an issue.

The future will show if an additional Outdoor in Friedrichshafen actually makes sense for the sector itself. In the first place, both platforms definitely promise an enhanced and exciting outdoor trade fair.

When art meets science: The industry of sports fashion

Do you know the two most successful sports brands in 2019? It's adidas and Nike.
That doesn't come as a big suprise as apart from sporty gear, both of them make in fashion. And not the casual apparel kind of way.

In February 2019, adidas Originals introduced their new collaboration with korean Designer Ji Won Choi at no other place but the London Fashion Week. Following in April, Beyoncé and adidas announced that they intend to collaborate in the creation of a new footwear and apparel line that would focus on performance and lifestyle items.

Taking a closer look at the fashion market this makes a lot of sense. While the sports & outdoor segment itself is booming and created a revenue of 84,105 million USD¹ in 2019 already, the fashion segment actually amounted to 600,994 million USD² - which is seven times as much. Concentrating on fashion is almost a guarantee for success. And widening the own product range from sportswear to actual lifestyle is a smart move by adidas.

The demand is growing, with people doing more sports and actually concentrating on good-fitting and looking apparel which also supports them right during their workout. And of course, by sports brands being a big part of modern streetstyles and even evolving to designer fashion.

As a consequence, the sports industry offers a wide range of job opportunities for fashion designers - and engineers. Having the demand to be functional and fashionable creates a job profile which differs a lot from fashion designers in other sectors.

Sports Fashion Designer: Creativity & Sciene go hand in hand

Even though it's often associated with "artsy and creative" people, especially nowadays, creativity and a good style are simply not everything to be good in this job.

Sportswear Design is a melting pot of creativity, science, socioeconomics and engineering.

A career in fashion requires an understanding of technologies, a grasp of math and engineering, or the so called STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

As fashionable looks enqueue behind performance orientation, the design process focuses on developing innovative ways to improve the fitness apparel, be it through special garments, treatment or production. For example:

  • adidas running shoes are a made of materials created through a technology called Digital Light Synthesis, which makes them lighter and at the same time more durable. It's a step further than 3D printing.
  • The garment of the workout wear from Patagonia is treated with Polygiene® odor control. It's based on (recycled) silver chloride which blocks the bacteria in the sweat.
  • And do you know how the fitting is perfectionized? Not through a designer taking measurements of different bodytypes, but by an alogorithm working on collected athlete feedback and digital data. A good example is the Flyknit Sportsbra by Nike. To ensure maximum comfort even for high-performance athletes, the team put in more than 600 hours of intense biometric testing, including motion capture and creating atlas maps.

Of course, the process is not completed by omniscient design-mathematics, but regularly it's a team of engineers and designeres who work hand in hand. Whichever field of work interests you more or fits your profile better, still, an understanding of the work of the other side helps a lot.

If you want to be a designer

You will need the technical skills, actually handcrafts and design software. It's concerning designing and crafting as well as pattern creation and garment construction. Furthermore, a good designer has knowledge about fashion, whether it's its history or the economic side of it.

Also, which might be the trickiest part, designing requires creativity and dedication, as well as a vision and talent. Maybe the hardest assets of them all.

Normally, the technical skills and the background are both teached in fashion schools. Further depth, especially of fitness apparel can be gained in internships at the different brands.

Designer Jobs in the Sports Market

If you are a Designer looking for a new challenge in the sports business or want to become one by starting with an internships or a career-entry position, at Sportyjob you will find interesting jobs from Footwear, Garment and Sportsgear Designer to Fabrics Manager:

[jobs per_page="5" categories="design"]

1 https://www.statista.com/outlook/259/100/sports-outdoor/worldwide

2 https://www.statista.com/outlook/244/100/fashion/worldwide

© Title photo by adidas

Nicolas Cerrato on esports & its development

esports are still very young and require way more innovation and creativity than regular sports: the promise of esports is that of the wedding of professional sports and Hollywood. Many groundbreaking things have yet to be imagined, invented and brought to life.

Nicolas Cerrato

Formerly a small niche, esports has become a successful branch of the sports industry thoughout the last years. With professional clubs incorporating gaming teams and live streams watched by millions, it offers great market potential which is still increasing every year.

However, it's people like Nicolas Cerrato who are helping to evolve the esports industry by using its potential for entrepreneurship. Being a former gamer with the necessary experience to understand the field, he found Gamoloco, an insight portal on gaming streams early on. Since 2014, they have been providing viewership data from established streaming platforms and making it readable due to developing their own metrics.

Furthermore, Nicolas is a well-known guest in the esports section of Quora. His insights or his advice on how to become a professional gamer are pure gold, thanks to his own experience which he shares openly.

Bringing all his answers together in one post, we asked Nicolas in this interview about Gamoloco, the future of esports in the sports business and his personal advice on how to achieve a career in esports. So, please, everyone:


Meet Nicolas Cerrato

" I am from France and my esports dreams started the year after I graduated from high school, in 1998. In 1999 I became a professional in the space as I dropped out of college and opened a PC gaming center in downtown Paris. Quickly after that I started one of the 1st pro gaming teams in the world, it was called GG. Since then I almost never stopped working in esports and the last thing I’ve been working on is Gamoloco, a data service focused on Twitch viewerships which i started in 2014. I’m the President and CEO at Gamoloco."


You’ve been a professional gamer in the past, but decided to add more to the esports business with your info portal Gamoloco. When and how did you come up with the idea to found Gamoloco? And what was your motivation?
I got the initial idea in 2012: I was the head of sales & partnerships at a start up producing of esports contents back then, working closely with Twitch on a daily basis. I realized that Twitch viewerships were carrying a lot of information and meaning, of the kind any professional in the space would want to access and decipher. My motivation has been to help market actors make the best calls when it comes to strategy and investments. As a seasoned veteran, I’ve been witnessing many clueless moves in the space, sometimes leading to spectacular wastes of time, money and energy. Gamoloco aims at speeding up the learning process and contributing to making the best calls.

What is Gamoloco? What is its role in esports?
The business of esports can be seen as a competition for attention and viewerships: What game is the most watched? What event is the most watched? How do they compare to each other? How do they compare to regular sports? Has there been growth lately? If yes, where?… That’s the kind of questions Gamoloco helps answering.

How does a day of Nicolas Cerrato at Gamoloco look like?
I wake up without an alarm, somewhere between 6 and 8. Then I usually go have coffee outside and start my day checking www.gamoloco.com: to see if everything is working, and to get my daily dose of viewership data. Viewerships are one of my main informational sources regarding esports and gaming: they tell me what gamers were interested in yesterday, last week, last month. After that I usually do some Qi Gong in a park close to where I work and then it’s back to work. Usually i do coding, the hardest for me in terms of required brain power, in the morning and more business-oriented work (data research, promo, sales, hr, networking) in the afternoon.

Being an expert in esports, it’s obvious that you have a lot of experience in the field. How did your esports career evolve? What have you been doing before you started at Gamoloco?
I experienced many different things as an esports professional: gaming center owner, tournament organizer, pro team manager and coach, journalist all the way to „Le Monde“, shoutcaster on some of the biggest stages, TV show producer, community manager, business developper, creative director, consultant. I would describe my journey in esports as passionate and chaotic, just like my life. Things have started to settle a bit lately and I can only be happy and proud of the variety of experiences I’ve been through. I definitely understand esports from many angles.

esports was a big topic at the last ISPO Munich and its counterpart the ISPO Digitze. It’s a quickly growing branch of the sports industry with a lot of potential for sports companies. How do you think esports will effect the sports industry?
I think they will merge. There are many hints showing that, not the least of which being the big interest of pro athletes and established sports organizations in esports: if a bunch of people still can’t get the potential in esports, sports entertainment professionals for sure naturally do. Within 15 to 30 years from now, we’ll have high quality augmented reality games that require to be both an outstanding athlete and gamer to perform. At this point, the door will be open for esports to reach their maximum potential as they will become one with sports.


Within 15 to 30 years from now, we’ll have high quality augmented reality games that require to be both an outstanding athlete and gamer to perform. At this point, the door will be open for esports to reach their maximum potential as they will become one with sports.

Nicolas Cerrato

Imagine sitting in a room with esports enthusiasts who would love to make their passion a profession. Which advice would you give them on how to achieve career in esports? How do you possibly enter the esports business?
JUST DO IT. If you’re passionate, if this is what feeds you energy, just do it. Bring your light to the mix, get involved in a team, community site or tournament organization or whatever suits you in the space. I don’t believe in degrees that much. Learn by doing and remember: esports are still very young and require way more innovation and creativity than regular sports: the promise of esports is that of the wedding of professional sports and Hollywood. Many groundbreaking things have yet to be imagined, invented and brought to life.


If your curiousity grew steadily throughout this interview, you can shed some light on esports and gaming live streams on Gamoloco: https://gamoloco.com/.

Landing your new job – Expert advice that could give wings to your career

Make a top ten list about the hard things in life and "work" will always be a part of it.The reason for this are two things which probably everyone of us has experienced at some point:
  1. "What am I going to do with my life?" Back in school, college or university, when we had plenty of options of becoming (more or less) everything we want, but we just couldn't figure out what. The different career possibilities are endless, but which one is the right one?
  2. "I hate my job" Going to work day in and day out on auto-pilote, because it just doesn't satisfy us. If you work in a job that you don't enjoy, because it isn't meant for you. Hard.
Both cases actually require finding out which career would suit you, challenge or bring out your talents, hence turning profession into a passion. But how do you do this?

"Without understanding your personality, experience, connections, and self-awareness you're not going to get very far". - Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzie


As head of assessment at one of the world’s biggest recruiting companies, author of 10 books and Psychology Professor at University of London and the University of Columbia, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is well placed to give you the answer to this question and some more. Together with an expert team of psychology professors from University College London and Columbia University in New York and Red Bull, they developed the online assessment Wingfinder, a tool that aims at outlining your strengths and handing you a talored coaching plan to maximise your skills.In this interview, he gives you advice and tips that you can take to increase the chance of landing the right role, based on experience, hard data and science. Inset: Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is head of assessment at one of the world’s biggest recruiting companies and psychology professor at University of London and the University of Columbia. Photograph: Shannon Morris

For those searching for a job out there:

Jobs today can pay well. They can also be interesting. They can also require creativity and fulfil multiple life needs. Competition is fierce though and qualifications and experience are only part of the requirement — without them, you can do very little; but without understanding your personality, experience, connections, and self-awareness you're not going to get very far, either. We live in a talent economy and the main talent passport you have is your reputation and how you can explain it. How are you different and better from your competitors? I don't like the idea of cultivating your personal brand – it sounds trivial, vacuous and narcissistic – but if your reputation doesn't stand out in a crowded market, or if you can’t explain how you will use your talents at work, you’ll only make it if you are lucky.

What’s your top tip for somebody working out their next step?

Self-awareness can go a long way. The better people understand their own strengths, limitations, and interests, the smarter their career choices will be. They’ll end up liking their jobs more, performing better, and staying put longer. Self-awareness, in other words, is a sorely undervalued talent enhancer because it can help people identify jobs that actually match their values and skills. Remember: talent is largely personality in the right place. For individuals to make better choices for themselves, they’ll also need some data - making the free, career-related feedback available at Wingfinder even more crucial.

What’s the most important thing to show in interviews to get any job in any company?

Your main competitive advantage lies in discovering and being able to explain your own skills. Tests we’ve set up on Wingfinder give you tailored feedback as to how you can do this. What you need for any role, in any company is what’s called the RAW components of talent (Rewarding – interpersonal and intrapersonal skills; Able – a style of thinking or Intelligence suited to the demands of the role; Willing – drive and motivation). Inset: www.wingfinder.com model; based on the original meta-analysis of employability & success by *Hogan, R., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Kaiser, R. B. (2013). Employability and career success: Bridging the gap between theory and reality. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 6, 3–16.

Interviewers often ask, ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’. How do you suggest people answer?

Try and look like you’re thinking about the answer, because the more you look like you have rehearsed the less truthful your answer will seem. Avoid common clichés such as ‘I'm too much of a perfectionist’ or ‘I'm too self-critical’. Avoid being completely honest, too. Much like a first date, an interview is not the time to reveal your deepest darkest secrets, so instead highlight the things your interviewers may have already identified as weaknesses, be it gaps or shortcomings in your CV and background, which will show self-awareness. Red Bull’s Wingfinder is one of the most valid freely available personality tests that can identify your strengths your shortcomings, and even offer coaching advice on those same weaknesses. We all have flaws and limitations, but it's our ability to keep them in check that determines our true potential.

What are the most common mistake people make as they begin a new career?

Thinking they are better than they actually are. When in fact modesty, self-awareness, the right career choices, and hard work will open doors. Expect less and give more. You’re at the beginning of your learning curve, so understand that this journey is probably not going to be a straight line. Nothing will open more doors than performing in your current role and being valued by those that you work with.

If you could redo your time studying or the first years of your career what would you do?

I would spend more time on extracurricular activities, getting real-world experience. It’s important to focus on your studies but use your spare time to create something, pursue hobbies, internships, projects and interact with people, proving to yourself that you can influence others and work well with them. These interpersonal skills are critical in any company.

What do you wish you knew when you graduated or early in your career ?

That, from now on, life will only get harder and more complex, but the rewards feel even greater. In a real sense, you never truly graduate — it’s a constant flow of learning, adapting and gaining more insight into yourself. Learning how best to leverage your curiosity and creativity, drive and how to work with others will be the greatest way of finding success.

Failed it! 6 career mistakes to avoid in your sport job

What to do with a mistake: 1. Recognize it. 2. Admit it. 3. Learn from it. 4. Forget it.

- Dean Smith

Everyone makes mistakes. Especially in a career, no matter if you're a freshman or have been a professional in your job for years. The only important part is on focusing how to improve through them. Well, here's the thing: Most of us already trip on step one - recognizing them. Seeing our own mistakes is always harder than noticing them in others. That's why we want to share some of the crucial mistakes that we made during our career. You might have made or are making some of them yourselves right now - or can prevent yourself from doing so by following our advice.Here's our 6 career mistakes and how to avoid them.

Being idle

If you want to be successful, you have to work on yourself - always. Don’t get lazy, but try to always stay up to date on the innovations of the sports business and your job. Because it might also happen that your position and learned skills become outdated, through digitization or other reasons.You can start reading books, attend seminars (which is often supported by your employer), visit events and fairs, do (online) courses. Not only will you be an expert on your field, but training your brain and gaining knowledge is actually very satisfying.

Lack of confidence and over-confidence

Not believing in yourself or feeling like the superlative of your field? No, thanks. 
Your level of self-confidence plays an important role in the development of your career.As a fact, success in sports begins in the mind in at least 80 percent of cases. The same goes for your career. If you don’t trust in yourself and your abilities to handle your tasks, then no one else will either. When picking up a project, you need to show confidence, but just the right level. The moment you feel overconfident is the moment you will stop developing yourself - and fail.

Not taking any risks

You might fear to fail or receive negative feedback. But actually, both of these will make you better in your job. If you always play it safe and work low-key, you will probably never climb the career ladder. Dare to think outside of the box, dare to upset your boss or colleagues by voicing your opinion even if it doesn’t theirs. You might succeed and gain respect. Or you might fail and learn. Either way, it will bring you forward.

Overestimating or lying about your skills

Being eager and passionate about your job is great. You might want to prove yourself by showing your skills, picking up projects that you don’t know much about or finishing jobs in a very tight timeframe. Just remember: The moment that you make promises, people will hold onto those. Overestimating yourself and ending up not fullfilling set goals will shed some bad light on yourself and your work. Try to gauge your abilities correctly to set realistic expectations.Even worse is lying. If you claim to bring skills or experience that you don’t have, you’ll end up seeming questionable. This will either result in missing further opportunities, or getting fired.

Doing it just for money OR purpose

You should never decide on a career that you hate because it pays well. It affects your health, your body, your mood - in the end probably the rest of your life. Funny enough, the same goes for opposite. If you are one of the lucky ones to start a career in your field of passion, or being able to realize your ideals in a job, and it doesn’t pay enough to live, it’s again not worth it. It might be satisfying during the working time, but whenever you don’t know how to pay your bills at the end of the month, this again has a negative impact on your life.Naturally, aim for a job that satisfies you AND pays enough to live comfortably. You might even add some value to your surroundings and your community.

Being a lonesome wolf

If you are always working alone and don’t reflect on your career with anyone, you might just get stuck. That's especially a problem if you work from home or self-employed.A network is important not only in the sports industry, but actually for everyone. Whether it’s people that inspire you or an expert to ask for a second opinion on your project, the people that surround you influence your career - ideally, for the better.

The different types of product managers in the sports industry

Get an idea about the different requirements for the position of a product manager in the sports industry

When it comes to product management, the job title is actually very vague. Most of the times, you'll find a job posting  looking for a „Product Manager“, senior or junior. If you're lucky, it is expanded by an additional keyword.  While Marketing positions often give away their specific role in the title - like SEO Manager, Social Media Manager, E-Mail-Marketing specialist, etc. - the product manager role is often just named as that, a Product Manager.

When looking through the different job ads on Sportyjob though, you’ll realize quickly that the requirements and tasks vary a lot. A consequence from the different profiles that a product manager can fulfill. There’s often more to this role and choosing a product management position that fits your skills, interest and character often needs a detailed look in the job description.

To make your job search easier, we've analyzed our job postings and created an overview about the different types of product managers that companies have been looking for in 2018. So what kind of product managers in the sports industry do exist? 

But first: What is a product manager in general?

[caption id="attachment_35313" align="alignleft" width="120"]Profiles of Product Managers in the sports industry Click to view our infographic on the different roles of a product manager[/caption]

In the sports industry, product owners or managers aim for success for products or product lines released in the domain of a brand. They develop strategies to please the customer’s needs in order to optimize a product or its communication and conversion. They create roadmaps, analyze and predict the market, set the communication in between the different related teams (engineers, marketers, designers), stakeholders and executives.The role often comes with great responsibility, decision-making and a good knowledge of ones market.

In detail, the position and its responsibilities vary a lot according to company sizes and goals. Here’s some examples of product managers that you’ll find in the sports business.

 

The Product Developer

This product manager is driving the process from briefing, over concepting, developing and finally, producing new products for a sports company. In the sport’s goods market, the position often just focuses on a certain product group of a brand. For example did Timberland (VF) look for a „Global Product Developer SMU Footwear“ in October who oversees the development of accurate prototypes. SMU Footwear stands for Special Make-Up, an edition of a shoe made of special material. Especially for experienced candidates who have worked in other industries before, this role is a lateral entrants magnet, as long as you have some product knowledge.

Even if it might seem so, the product developer does not design the product, but he oversees and manages the development. His/her responsibility of  is the translation of customer's needs  and afterwards putting it into the form of specific product requirements, communication between the different teams to produce molds, develop or find out new materials to use, the way to advertise the product, etc.

Which skills do you need

A product developer should always have great concepting and communication skills as they need to document and define the development. Writing specific spec’s for engineers and manufacturers, as well as reporting to stakeholders are a constant part of the job.

Furthermore, they should acquire great decision making skills and prioritize, rank, and/or reject features, enhancement requests, etc.

Also, an eye for detail great understanding of material, fabrics and technical aspects of a product come in handy.

Product Manager Conversion Specialists

There’s product managers that tasks mostly focus on improving the conversion of already existing products. In conclusion, this strategic role needs a good understanding of analytical tools and data, as well as key metrics. Instead of developing products or improving them, these product owners are working on optimizing the conversion across all channels, landing pages, funnels, customer’s experience and even pricing.

Further examples are Workflow Product Managers who track a customer’s workflow to improve the functions of a website or app and the interaction with the user.

Which skills do you need

This kind of product manager is very data-driven. They should bring an understanding for different monitoring tools, like Google Analytics or KissMetrics, depending on the tool the sports brand is using. A former knowledge of E-Commerce and Online Marketing can be a big plus.

Digital Product Manager

Instead of handling the management of analogue products, the digital counter part of this position handles digital products. In the sports business, these are mainly hired for online platforms. He or she evolves the online and/or mobile experience for the best user experience. In their recent job ads, VF looks for a Digital Product Owner who is developing innovative ways to deepen customer engagement and profitability through the use of digital channels. 

Their exact performance in the position depends and can be located in each of the described roles above, but often includes technical aspects.

Which skills do you need

In addition to the essentials of every product manager, the digital role requires an understanding of the digital landscape, as well as technical aspects of e-commerce.