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We are working with YLighting in their search for a Director of Product Data and Merchandising Management, in Walnut Creek, CA. Founded in 2001, YLighting is the leading online led retailer of modern lighting, furniture, and accessories serving discerning consumers and trade professionals.
The company’s flagship brand is YLighting, the leading modern lighting retailer in the USA. YLiving, launched in early 2008, is fast becoming an authoritative source for modern furniture and accessories. The company is about creating lasting brands, delivering an incomparable customer experience and having fun doing it.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: We’ve done quite a bit of business with YLighting, and they’re a blast to work with. Not your average online retailer, the company sells extremely high-end modern and contemporary lighting, furniture and accessories to design savvy consumers and interior design professionals. The interior design professionals are working with a mix of residential, hotel, restaurant and commercial clients. These people love what they do.
YLighting has several modern furnishings brands, and they’re all growing rapidly. The company started out in lighting in 2000, but they are aggressively expanding their presence into a broad range of furnishings categories. This role is fundamental to driving this category extension strategy consistent with YLighting’s brand promise of bringing customers the best in modern furnishings – the best selection of design driven furnishings, superbly merchandised.
The company’s near-term objective is to develop and maintain a world-class product data and merchandising management team who can identify the best lines, the best designers, and the best manufacturers with whom to partner. High-end lighting is incredibly “information intensive” because there’s a lot to know about it, such as the product’s design story, the manufacturing process, the materials, and how other people are using it.
YLighting’s customers rely on this information, and it’s the Product and Merchandising Team’s challenge to not only increase YLighting’s assortment across all categories, but also to find innovative ways to bring its products to life in an engaging, brand-friendly, multi-media way.
According to YLighting’s CEO, Sean Callahan, “It’s all about the brand promise. If we want to be a category leader, then we have to offer the best assortment and present it in a compelling way. It’s not about merchandising in a traditional sense. We market other peoples’ products. We don’t typically design, source, and inventory large volumes like a traditional retailer. Our model is about knowing exactly what our customers want, partnering with the right manufacturers, and marketing those products in a way that connects with customers. That’s what makes us a trusted partner to buy design driven furnishings from.”
As the Director of Product Data and Merchandising Management, a typical project might be implementing and scaling a consistent assortment strategy/vendor recruitment initiative. Or, during your first 90 days, you may find yourself codifying and accelerating the application of consistent category merchandising across the site.
For example, if you visit YLighting.com, you’ll notice there are categories by brand, by designer, by functions, and so on. The Director would decide which categories should be on the homepage and which should be featured. This process would be quantified and documented to improve consistency in how YLighting merchandises. Currently, this process is more art than science. YLighting treasures the art – but they’d like to consistently replicate it and scale it.
To drive such projects, the right candidate must be intellectually curious, self-motivated, results oriented, have excellent communication skills, and lead by example.
“Success in this role is about building the best team,” says Callahan. “Obviously, we want someone who has a great level of understanding around products and merchandising. But beyond that, you can’t just be great at that. We want someone who’s a good leader and a strong manager, because your team is going to be doing the work. It’s all about having better methods and processes to work more efficiently…
You need to be able to interface with product partners to get them to provide us with information so that we can do a better job for them. Sometimes they’re not as responsive as they should be. We want someone who can work through our team members to work with suppliers in a way that motivates them and solves problems in a way that’s hard on the issues and soft on the people.”
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As the leading online retailer of modern lighting and furnishings, YLighting seeks a passionate leader for its product data management and merchandising team. The product data team works with YLighting’s renowned modern lighting, furniture and accessories manufacturers as well as its internal web development team to create thorough, accurate, and compelling information about its products, manufacturer’s brands and their designers. Beyond this core work, the team is instrumental in creating the content that delivers on our brand promise of the best in modern furnishings.
As a member of the company’s leadership team, the Director of Product Data and Merchandising Management role is focused on building and leading a scalable and highly effective team. This role will work with the YLighting and YLiving product leads to define and manage assortment priorities and delivery expectations.
As a player-coach, this person will 1.) lead the creation of best-in-class product content, 2.) manage site merchandising, and 3.) optimize site presentation. As part of a rapidly growing company, this team lead will be charged with driving significant process change/improvement to keep YLighting on pace to meet challenging goals.
YLighting distinguishes itself by having the best product assortment and site design in our space. So the ideal candidate is someone who is a proven leader that can establish himself with the current team of strong individual performers. This ideal candidate will have a proven track record of designing and implementing world class product data management and merchandising processes and tools that deliver a superior online user experience.
- Develop and manage the Product Data and Merchandising Team
- Drive creation of best in class product data/content, merchandising
- and site presentation
- Lead continued innovation of content management and merchandising
- Support planned product assortment growth across all Y Company brands
- Maintain existing product data/content at the highest quality level
- Optimize merchandising/site presentation of products
- 5+ Years Experience Managing Product Data/Merchandising Teams
- Experience Building and Managing Product Information for Online Retailers
- Retailer Buyer and Merchandising Experience
- Experience With Project Management and Priority Planning Methodologies
- Modern Furnishings Experience and Passion
- Experience with Product Information Management Systems
- Excellent PC Skills (Web browsers, MS Office, exceptional at Excel)
- Outstanding Analytical and Problem Solving abilities
Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERE. Candidates, please be sure to email Harry Joiner for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.
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