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We are working with prAna in its search for a Director of Ecommerce based in Carlsbad, CA. PrAna is an ancient Sanskrit word for breath, life and vitality of the spirit. PrAna is borrows this name in order to achieve a positive vision for the future as a company and to use the company to make a difference. PrAna has been in existence for 18 years, and even though it continues to widen its reach, its roots are firmly planted in yoga and climbing.
PrAna has a unique opportunity for an experienced professional with a proven track record of executing a direct-to-consumer strategy, within a multichannel environment. This position will be a senior leader on the sales team, responsible for P&L performance and execution and leading the ecommerce strategic initiative.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: It’s so much easier to develop these writeups for companies who have a strong and healthy “sense of self.”
PrAna has been around for 18 years, and it’s an exceptionally values-based company. Essentially, the company is about sustainability and conscience, with the latter being a key differentiator in the company’s positioning. To prAna, conscience has to do with being present and living in the moment, two things common to climbing and yoga.
Traditionally a wholesale oriented company, prAna has evolved into a multichannel merchant with $60 million in sales. It’s one of REI’s top five vendors and markets through Amazon, Zappos, Title9, and independent specialty retailers. PrAna mails eight catalogs per year to stimulate demand, reinforce its brand, and drive customers into its retail stores. Interestingly, since prAna launched its DTC business, its wholesale business has grown considerably.
In the last two years, prAna has laid the foundations for a very successful direct to consumer ecommerce business. Now, in an effort to take its ecommerce business to the next level, prAna is adding a new Director of Ecommerce.
What’s the job?
This position will focus on growing prAna’s DTC ecommerce business while maintaining a best-in-class dealer-oriented site. Through both channels, prAna’s overriding focus will remain on pleasing its customers, primarily women in their early to mid 30s. PrAna’s management describes its customers as very progressive, high-end “cultural creatives” who are very discerning about sustainability and environmentalism.
“Helping men and women bring yoga into the outdoor world.”
The role has several functional adjacencies: It will have a great deal of interaction with the creative and sales teams, as well as the product team. The ideal candidate will have excellent people skills, as well as a strong affinity with prAna’s customers.
This issue of connecting with prAna’s customers is not a small one: Traditionally, prAna has a somewhat seasonal business, peaking in the spring and summer. In the future, prAna plans to augment its summer lines with middle layer and outerwear products that should make its business relevant year-round.
For prAna’s new Director of Ecommerce, there will be three initial priorities:
- User experience: There are a handful of things on prAna.com that would benefit from the implementation of best practices. For example, the site benefits from its simplicity, architecture, and appearance. But the company understands that a world-class Director of E-commerce might be able to identify changes, prioritize them, and help prAna get to the next level in terms of UI.
- Drive traffic: Every website needs qualified traffic, and prAna.com is no different. However, prAna’s traffic must be qualified and obtained in a brand friendly way. Additionally, the company seeks to improve the complementarity of its marketing efforts between the catalog and its website.
- Better channel and interdepartmental integration: This last point will involve making sure that the underlying processes around seasonal launches and the functioning of the site on a day-to-day basis is “dialed in” and fully integrated with inventory, marketing, merchandising, and sales. Beyond that, it is critical that the new Director make everyone clear on multichannel processes, roles, and responsibilities.
You will not have a gigantic staff.
Because this is a fairly new area for prAna, the ideal candidate must be able to get her hands dirty, as well as get things done through others. The team around this person will be fully built out over the next 24 to 36 months. However, for now it’s a relatively small team of go-getters who does whatever is necessary to build the business and a brand friendly way.
PrAna is all about balancing commerce with idealism. Is that you? If so, I would encourage you to apply below.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
- Drive net sales and gross margin for our fast pace online channel.
- Develop and execute eCommerce strategies and plans, and ensures that the online growth strategy aligns with the organization’s overall business strategy.
- Assertively manage key drivers behind sales and gross margin, including traffic, average order value and conversion, to ensure the team is on track to meet or exceed the plan.
- Leverage site analytics to monitor performance and guide action.
- Profitably grow eCommerce sales within the prAna’s multi-channel strategy, leveraging the channel to fuel both online and total enterprise sales.
- Manage the eCommerce team; supervising an Online Marketing Manager, Catalog Marketing Manager, Influencer Manager, and overseeing team of Customer Service representatives.
- Partner with the Creative Content team and IS/IT crew to make prAna.com a true competitive differentiator for the brand.
- Forge strong, highly collaborative relationships with IS, the Merchant organization.
- Apply superb analytic skills, digging deep into data to craft critical objectives, strategies and tactics, and then turn insight into action to drive results. Clearly understand our investment in customer acquisition and wisely guide our spending to meet our objectives.
- Utilize deep understanding of database management, catalog metrics, and the concepts that surround the customer lifecycle.
- Shepherd development of the marketing plan for the online channel, including web-only promotions and affiliate sales. This includes continuous testing and analysis.
- Partner with Operations to enhance our forecasting and reporting tools, introducing a new level of accountability and transparency.
- Be an inspirational, collaborative leader adept at leading through influence. Serve as a critical change agent, providing insights that drive new ideas. In partnership with the entire management team, develop a multi-year digital strategic roadmap to meaningfully enhance prAna.com’s role in driving transactions at wholesale, in our stores, and online.
- Diligently monitors competitive developments.
- Manage milestones, deadlines and scheduling for multiple simultaneous projects, keeping the team up to date with progress and decisions.
- Communicates to executives and other key stakeholders the strategies driving eCommerce, a vision and roadmap for future growth, and provides ongoing status updates across initiatives. Serve as subject matter expert for online commerce across the company.
- Ensure effective communication of all eCommerce initiatives, resulting in consistent understanding of the reasons for, direction of, and expected results of each project. Act as focal point for progress reporting on key initiatives, including timely updates/presentations to the Marketing, Design, IT and other key stakeholders.
- Business Leadership – Influence enterprise level strategies. Understand all aspects of the business, industry and competitive landscape. Distinguish between what is critical from what is important. Provide clear and compelling direction and ensures understanding. Help streamline processes to manage costs and achieve efficiencies. Act with a sense of urgency and builds and adjusts the plan to deliver results that meet or exceed expectations.
- Team Leadership – Optimize organizational capabilities and remove barriers through relationship building. Is inclusive, seek out varying perspectives and multiple alternatives, share information and find common ground. Understand and maximize business interdependencies. Flexible in revising plans to support changing business needs. Bring out the best in people through coaching, feedback, support and encouragement. Teach and mentor people beyond direct reports.
Position has significant interaction with virtually all areas of prAna, necessitating excellent communication and relationship-building skills. Primary interactions are working within the Sales Department, working side by side with the Directors of Wholesale and Retail. By overseeing our primary marketing vehicle (catalog) and our primary point of customer interaction (prAna.com), this position also has deep working relationships with the following constituencies:
- Strategy formulation: Board of Directors, CEO, Core Executive Team
- Tactical plans: CEO, CFO, Leadership Team, Marketing / Syndicate team, Merchandising Team
- Assimilation of tactical plans into budget/financial statements: CFO, Finance/Accounting Team
- Brand manifestation: Creative team
- Execution: Marketing Team; Product design / Merchandising Team •Performance monitoring / measurement: Board of Directors, CEO, Core Executive Team, Leadership Team
Minimum Job Qualifications:
- Extensive direct marketing background
- Extensive experience developing new digital and ecommerce initiatives within an established company.
- Proven track record of success scaling an existing global ecommerce business within a multi-channel environment
- Experience driving direct marketing innovation with clear results in customer acquisition, retention and sales – preferably utilizing catalogs
- Proven track record of success and the capacity to lead the development and implementation of strategic, creative and fiscally sound integrated programs that drive business results and align with company strategies
- Proven strategic ability and the ability to use analytics to drive business growth; ability to extend/refine a brand and its expression in the digital market
- Strong understanding of digital technology in order to leverage the technology to support business and marketing activities
- Passion for innovation; ability to advocate for multi-channel sales integration within an organization
- Ability to inspire others and build motivated, high-performing teams
- Ability to thrive in crises and be energized by tough challenges; not afraid to make tough or unpopular decisions, take tough action and challenge the status quo
- Ability to appreciate and understand the prAna culture and successfully integrate his/her management style and personal leadership into that culture
- Experience in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment
- Undergraduate degree in relevant field (e.g. Business)
- Ability to operate in the spirit of Seva in how we treat our customers and each other
- Employee Conduct: It is the responsibility of every employee to contribute to a positive work environment through cooperative and professional interactions with co-workers, customers and vendors
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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