On two dates next week, VF Corporation gives students the option to participate in 5 webinars with business professionals from various departments of their different brands. Enabling a sneak-peek in what its like to work at VF.
„Students have the great opportunity to actually get to know different functions in very short and straight to the point webinars of half an hour each. If they are looking for some guidance on what field to focus on it is a great “orientation” opportunity as they can do one webinars or all of them! If they are already focusing on one function/career (ie. sales or digital) they can interact with a VF business leader!“
If the sports and lifestyle industry does interest you, this is a great chance to find out more about the work behind the scenes of various roles in an international successful company. VF Corporation is a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories (to give you some facts: with 50,000 associates and $11.2 billion in revenue) and the company behind iconic lifestyle & outdoor brands, like The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Napapijri, Eastpak and many more.
While VF is highly diversified across brands, products, distribution channels and geographies, their One VF culture and approach to doing business provides a unique and powerful competitive advantage.
For a student or recent graduate this means they can start a career in a company that can allow them to move across different brands, functions and countries; this really enhances their learning opportunities! Finally, and most importantly, we are teams of inclusive and friendly people; who are ambitious and eager to keep learning.
On the 3rd and 5th of December, you can join VF in their webinars online. Especially for students and graduates who consider a career at VF or one of its brands, it allows a first contact with the work and people behind VF - similar to a digital open-door-event.
Below we noted the schedule of both days including the times in CET (=UTC+1) for each speaker.
13.00-13.30 CET: Digital, with Andreas Olsson, Group Digital Accounts Director
13.45-14.15 CET: Finance, with Elena Frattini, Business Analysis Manager Napapijri
14.30-15.00 CET: Supply Chain & Operations, with Martijn Van Paradijs, Senior Manager Operations Vans
If there’s a webinar that catches your interest, you can easily register for it online. Under this link, you’ll find a registration form where you fill in your details and choose the webinars you’d like to participate in. The VF event team will then send you an e-mail with an invitation to join.
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!
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.
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.
Editor's Note: Napapijiri is part of VF, the the global company behind around 30 of the world’s leading sports, outdoor and lifestyle brands. With a finnish name, the norwegian flag as a logo and found in Italy, Napapijri represents a global mindset through the intersection of boundaries, culture, nature and art. The brand portfolio includes Menswear, Womenswear and Childrenswear.
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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 anddedication, as well as a vision andtalent. 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:
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"] 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.
Whether you are about to get promoted or think about applying for the position of a Sales Manager in the sports industry, it's good to know beforehand what the role includes. Because, even though, the title indicates "Sales", its requirements are very different from an actual salesman or vendor. Since the position is one often found in our job board - as the sport's good's market is one of the biggest hiring branches - it's time for an overview of the position.
The Sales Manager job profile
So, what exactly does a Sales Manager in a sports company do? Like we said, direct selling is, in most times, not a part of this position anymore. However, knowledge or former experience as a Vendor is a big plus. Why? Because a Sales Manager coordinates, guides and leads the Sales team of a company. Together with the HR department, they hire and train new team members, giving them the necessary base to succeed in their jobs. Furthermore, the Sales Manager defines the different Sales territories for each team member, defines the sales goals in smaller companies and supervises their team to make sure that the quota is reached. Further typical tasks and projects of a Sales Manager include:
Building a Sales Plan
Taking care of customer's relations
Management of external distributors
Expanding the Sales Territories and developing new channels
According to job level (junior, senior), company size and business organisation, the job description and the tasks that come along with it may vary. A quota at big corporate players, for example, is often defined by management executives, while the Sales Manager is responsible that the set goal is met. Normally, all tasks can be found in the job description or else inform yourself actively by contacting the HR department of the company.
Which qualities and skills do you need as a Sales Manager?
In general, it's great if you bring former experiences as a salesman. It's often successful and experienced salespeople that get promoted to Sales Managers during their career in one company. Understanding how distribution works and which instruments to use to push Sales will be a great base to direct your team. For external applicants though, the sales experience is not always necessary. Sports companies especially look for management experience, since leadership skills are absolutely necessary in this position.
A Sales Manager is an achiever. He is performance driven and has strong analytical skills which helps him and his team define tactics and strategies to develop sales within or beyond market potential. Natural leader, he is capable of creating favourable environment, processes and organization for his sales teams to perform at their best.
Stephane Janssoone, Managing Partner of Sportyjob
Instead of going forward and working alone, like talented salesmen often tend to do, you need to be a teamplayer. As a guide and mentor for your Sales team, you need to take care of each member, listen and support them in reaching their tasks. Furthermore, a Sales Manager needs to motivate its team on a daily base. Good communication skills are also essential for this role. You need to be able to explain the tasks, sales plan, budget and distribution channels to your team, so that they understand what exactly they need to fulfill. In combination with patience and enthusiasm, they will be the perfect foundation for training your team. They also come in handy in case of upcoming problems with customers or between team members. Your analytical skills are crucial for the managing part of the role. You should be able to set up a realistic budget and goals, reading quota and being able to foresee the development of your sales on a monthly, quarterly or yearly base. Also, if you are able to keep calm and think through different steps, this will help you make success-driven decisions - which will come up often in a leadership position. As you see, the role definitely requires former experience, so the job is not suited for a career enterer who just finished his studies or apprenticeship. Whether it's other management positions or Sales, to be considered for the position, you should have been working in a suitable field for at least 3-5 years.
Two examples for Sales Manager positions in the sports business
If the profile fits yours and the career as a Sales Manager seems attractive to you, you can find different job opportunities throughout europe in our job board. However, there's two sports jobs that we would like to highlight. One being a great possibility to enter the career as a Sales Manager when you've only got little experience in this position. Keep in mind though that the role in general is not an entry position! The second position is a great challenge for experienced Sales Managers who are willing to conquer a new market and set up quotas, goals and strategically plan the distribution for a brand in a new region. These two are exceptionnel examples to see in detail what the requirements for the position are and how much the tasks can vary, straight from the view of two well-known sports companies.
Sales Manager at Black Roll, Switzerland
If you'd look for the classic profile of a Sales Manager, this position is perfect. You'll be the connection to the important clients, taking care of communication, ordering and delivery processes. Find out more.
Sales Manager at Bollé, Hong Kong
For experienced Sales Managers, this position is a great way to expand their career to a more challenging level. The position will be responsible for the overall strategic direction to review, plan, manage sales and margin achievement and initiatives across Asia region. This position is also responsible for the day-to-day managing of Asia distributors and related Sales forces, while maintaining existing and developing new channels of distribution. Find out more.
Today the change of location within Europe is easily performed and even enjoyable, so how about realigning yourself with a new sport job abroad ? It doesn't matter whether you are looking for a change yourself or got offered a new position in another country by a Headhunter, we would definitely recommend you to at least consider moving. To sum this blog up before we even start: A sport job abroad will benefit your hard and soft skills, your personality, your professional network and might even bring the step forward in your career that you've been longing for. Do you feel something tickle in the back of your mind? That's probably your wanderlust that tells you to get up and just go for it. Here's 5 reasons why you should look for a new job in a different country:
Some sport jobs can only be found in a particular region
Sport companies often settle in regions where you can also perform the sports that they're specialised on. To concretize: You'll find companies concerning Ski, Snowboard and Mountain activites in alpine regions, see Blue Tomato in Schladming (Austria). Water sports like surfing or wakeboarding on the other hand build up their headquarters close to the ocean or a lake, see Quiksilver in St. Jean de Luz (France). Then, there's sport jobs in sport clubs or leagues which are often based in the cities their team plays for. If you want to work in these companies, a move is almost always necessary. Even if it means relocating to a small mountain village when you used to live in the city. As a plus, outdoor enthuasiasts normally benefit a lot from this as they can finally perform their favourite activity all-year-round and outside of holiday times.
A fresh start: Let's go on an adventure
Sometimes moving isn't the result of a job search, but the desire for excitement and a refreshment of your life. Especially if you've been stuck in a city that you could never warm up to or just got a little bored of. If you have the advantage of being flexible and without (too much) obligations, how about trying something new? Finding yourself in an unknown place might make you feel a little uncomfortable at first, but the experience will support you develop yourself, your mind's strength and your personality in a way that you probably didn't expect. In the end, this will also affect your career.
Get an international insight on the sports industry
The sports industry is a worldwide business. A lot of companies, especially the big players like adidas, Intersport or VF, act internationally, with hubs and shops all over Europe. Furthermore, they expand their sales on other continents with the help of e-commerce. As you might know, different cultures are accompanied by different market conditions and customer's needs, which results in specialised Marketing strategies, product management & design, and so on. Working abroad gains you a better understanding of the culture and market of a country - which will come in handy if you work in an internationally operating company.
... and improve your CV
Hands down: If you've worked in another country, learned about a different culture, this experience will stand out in your CV and will increase your chances to get hired. Also, it represents openness, self-confidence and flexibility - and normally goes hand in hand with great language skills.
Kick up your salary
Even though, I'd personally always choose a good team and a job that I love over better payment, for others the value of work is measured in money. (Which is absolutely ok!). Getting promoted isn't the only chance to increase your salary, sometimes moving to a different country brings the desired effect. As a Marketing Manager in the sports business for example, you'll earn more in Switzerland than in Germany or in Austria. However, higher payments are often accompanied by higher costs of living (especially with an increased lifestyle). You might earn double in Switzerland compared to Austria, but in the end, the rents and even groceries are more expensive, too.
You love the mountains, the sea, the snow, adventures, adrenalin, nature and challenges? Then you are the perfect candidate for one of our outdoor jobs at great companies like Napajari, The North Face and Mammut!
Outdoor & Adventure Jobs at Sports Companies
Of course, the sports- and outdoor business go hand in hand. That's why Sportyjob is cooperating with plenty of companies that match your passion. We'd like to introduce you to a few possible employers! A fantastic outdoor organisation is the Freeride World Tour. Being part of the FTW means living the dream! In their sports jobs you organize exciting events all around the globe. Also, you get to meet the pro-riders and watch them rip. The best part: the FTW encourages their employees to actively shred daily (freeski or snowboard). If your heart beats for wintersports, you should take the chance when it comes up. At the moment they might not actively search for someone, but are hiring regularly throughout the year. Potential candidates should be willing to put their heart in their career and travel a lot. -> All jobs at the Freeride World Tour Looking for a new professional adventure? Then Mammut Sports Group might be a good shot. Jobs at Mammut require a lot of passion for mountaineering - since the people behind this company love mountain climbing, trekking and hiking themselves and expect their employees to do the same. Something you'll find in the quality and progress of their outdoor collections. If you are passionate about developing the products you use yourself and make them even better, you'll find the right position here. Use your active experience in internships and full time positions in patern apparel and design - together with a team that sticks together and climbs together. -> Free positions at Mammut Have you heard of the VF Corporation? In fact, they are one of the leading companies of the sports business, uniting various well-known active lifestyle brands. What's interesting: A big part of VF is their action & outdoor branch with outdoor wear and backpack producers like Napajari, Smartwool, Eagle Creek, The North Face and Timberland. Discover their various job offers in their stores, hubs and even swiss headquarter: -> All recent outdoor jobs at VF and their action brands.
Needless to say, these three just represent the outdoor sports employers. Further brands like Bergfreunde, Blue Ice and outdoorer can be found in our hiring company overview. The number next to a logo tells you the number of available jobs. Is there none, you can still scan the employer's profile for useful information and contacts for a initial application. Salute the Mountains!
Retail Outdoor Jobs
You're willing to share your experience with advice on the best gear for hiking, trekking, camping and co? A job at an outdoor store would fit your perfectly! Choose your right career path depending on your level of experience and your degree: Sales Consultant or Assistant is the closest way to work with customers and consult them about products without having to study or futher experience. (That is, if you're actively mountaineering yourself). Often outdoor shops have different contract solutions: Whether it's a full-time position or a part-time one next to family or your studies, see which schedule fits you best. With a business degree or long-time experience in retail, you might want to apply as a Shop or Store Manager instead. The tasks around this position include decisions on product range, shop design, team leading, setting up social media channels, ... - everything around the strategic work of a store. Two popular distribitors for outdoor and action gear are, for example, Decathlon or Intersport.Hint: If you're passionate about outdoor sports yourself, it's important to work for a company that you can trust with clear conscience. Especially at an all-round distributor, you might find yourself in a situation when you have to sell a product that you'd never use yourself. In the end, this results in frustration for either your client, your employer or you (or all together). Just imagine the satisfaction working for an outdoor brand that you love - feels great, doesn't it?
Adventurous jobs outside
Standing behind the counter or sitting in front of a computer is not what you're thinking of as "outdoor jobs"? Then it's time for a little action in your profession. Being outside is what makes a lot of these jobs so appealing. Depending on your own passion and sportiness, the outdoor branch presents plenty of career opportunities. Tour guides in the mountains during summer or winter, snowboard-, ski- or surf instructor or even as a park ranger. Your interests decide. Well, let's face it. There's not much job openings in our outdoor and sports job board that fit the requirements above. The reason is simply that tour operators, wintersport- and surfschools are most of the times very small teams or even independent people who aren't looking for staff outside of their personal reach. We recommend contacting them directly, online or through phone, if there's an outdoor player that you'd love to work with.
How dramatically we can change our own career paths is largely a question of motivation. Merely 20 years ago, the steps you took as an adolescent decided your future career. However, nowadays your study or apprenticeship can be seen as an orientation at most. This is a plea for all the freethinkers out there: Follow your passion and get a job outside of your college major. Let us tell you why - and how.
Should I be brave? The advantages of lateral entrants
A study in 2010 found out that only one quarter of college graduates worked in a job that was related to their field of studies. As a conclusion, 75% of all majors end up using their learned skills in completely different sectors - for example in the sports business: „There have been more lateral entrants, especially in departments like E-Commerce, Digital, Sales and Marketing. Something which has been impossible in the past. Times are changing.“, says Andy Gugenheimer, professional Headhunter and Sportyjob founder. A look at our our own Candidate database proves the variety of experience. Of course, there’s graduates who studied sports, who studied business, but also engineers, biologists, teachers, psychologists, .. What we see in it, is a colorful mix of abilities and experience - a big advantage for every company. Lateral entrants provide great talents: They introduce techniques to solve tasks outside of the regular scheme, by bringing in methods from other fields or just a completely different way to look at given challenges. Furthermore, they contribute motivation and passion , because they CHOOSE what they want to be, something which can energize a whole team. Just hiring the most experienced in a related field might cost many companies fantastic employees. Diversity holds the key to a team complementing each other with their different skills.
How to get a job outside of your former experience
Can I get hired without the right degree or former experience in the job? Of course! It will be a challenge to convince a recruiter that you are the perfect candidate. But with a combination of passion, organisation, effort and endurance, you will work it out. It’s up to you.
1. It all starts with your own will
You’re not forced to continue working in a job that you don’t like and which doesn’t yield the advantages you’re looking for. Choose a new destination and start your way. It needs a lot of willpower, but it will change your life for the better.
2. Define your goals
What’s your passion or what are you interested in? Is there a specific company, department, position, … that you’re dreaming of? Set your goals and see what it takes. If you lack the skills, you know what’s up next: Invest in yourself.
3. Earn the necessary skills
Even without studying a field or working in it before, you can achieve the knowledge to work some magic in a job. You will have to invest some time (and money) and face a lot of additional work. See which skills are required and acquire them. You want to program websites? Teach yourself HTML. Online Marketing? Learn about SEO straight from Google. A good way to do so is with online courses - here’s some platforms that offer paid and free courses: Free courses to advance your career - some of them even by elite universities. Just remember: You can try any discipline - and make it your own.
4. Believe in yourself: Present your own skills
„Anything that brushes up your CV is helpful - and you might end up with interviews that you weren’t expecting.“ The best advice Andy can give you. If you’re lacking experience, give personnel managers something else instead that they can work with. Like we said before, lateral entrants carry a variety of abilities from other fields. Whether it’s additional language skills, analytical techniques, communication skills - you definitely have a lot of talents. Believe in them. For example, Baristas and Waiters bring along extraordinary stress resistance and social skills. They are very service orientated, are able to figure out their client’s needs and solve problems if something doesn’t work according to plan. Magic for every Sales department.
5. Show your passion
Nothing flatters a personnel manager like someone who’s passionate about working with them. Since you decided on changing your life and setting a new course to fit their needs, make it count. In your application letter or an interview, let them know what you learned and achieved. A great way to do so, is by handing in a Video CV. Not only will it stand out, but it’s also your chance to present your soft skills and your motivation instead of relying on experience and abilities on paper. If you want to give it a try, read our guide „How to do a video resume“.
Where will your degree or apprenticeship take you? The Sport Job Day is your chance to define your next steps. Take part on the 13th of June in Paris and present yourself to recruiters from the french sports business.
Introducing the Sport Job Day
The Sport Job Day is a recruitment event for young adults, graduates and apprentices, with an active lifestyle and the desire to start a career in sports. On the 13th of June 2018, companies & young career interested come together in Stade Jean Bouin in Paris to connect and get to know each other. For the last decade, the sports sector has been one of the biggest growing employers in Europe, offering more than 200.000 jobs in France alone. A development resulting in the creation of entry positions for school & university graduates - and enough reason to dedicate a whole recruitment event to the sports sector alone. Not only will interested graduates have the chance to inform themselves about employment possibilities and professions, but directly participate in workshops & interviews with recruiters.
Similar to a job ferry, sports brands present themselves in set-up booths, giving insights into their work environment, as well as employment and training opportunities. Team members from Human Recources will be there to answer all your questions - and for you to gain valuable contacts. In 10 minute Speed Dating Interviews, applicants and companies immerse in an straight-to-the-point dialogue to learn more about each others character & qualities - a short, but effective way to figure out if it's a match. It's a place to learn: In conferences, professionals lecture about related topics, for example new professions in the sports sector or give advice on how to conquer the international sports job market. Participate actively in workshops with headhunters and recruiters to improve your future applications and interviews.
The Sport Job Day at a glance:
Time: 10:00 - 17:00 h
Where: Stade Jean Bouin – Paris
An event for french-speaking
young & active entry level candidates
Speed Job Dating: present yourself in 10 minutes
Workshops: Learn how to apply through recruiters from the sports industry
Exploration: of the sports business, employment and training possibilities
How to take part
All you need is a CV and self-confidence on the day of the event! If you'd like to participate in the Speed Dating, please apply in advance: Register for the Sport Job Day After registering, you'll be able to fill in your CV - we will look through the data to pick companies which fit your profile. In the next weeks, you will get updates on the schedule of the Sport Job Day, more infos to participating companies and about your interview slot. The participation is, of course, completely free.
For sports companies interested in being a part of the Sport Job Day, please find the possible ways to participate on our event website. Find out more about the Sport Job Day on the website by the two organisers Union Sport Cycle & Sportyjob: Sportjobday.com