Outdoor recreation lover works with designers, product developers and materials expert to manage the outfitter's technical outwear products.
PRODUCT LINE MERCHANDISER
What do you do? I manage Eddie Bauer’s technical outerwear, including the First Ascent product series, which is designed and built in close coordination with our team of professional mountain guides and athletes. I work in a team with designers, product developers, materials experts and sourcing people. Collectively, we are responsible for creating product that works great for our customers, and makes the company money. I am responsible for deciding what we are going to build, and making sure that we actually build it.
How did you get started in that field? I’m a lifelong outerwear user. Outdoor recreation has always been a big part of my life, particularly skiing. I have always been interested in gear and apparel — how it works, how it could be better, trends around it. Before Eddie Bauer, I went to the UW for my MBA. My plan was to get into the outdoor apparel business after. Getting an MBA is not a standard track for the apparel business, but I was interested in the degree in its own right, too. I ended up getting a summer internship at Eddie Bauer by connecting with a recruiter over LinkedIn, then was hired full time a year later.
What’s a typical day like? Most days are busy. Our team is working on a lot of new products, and development is time consuming. As a result, I spend a lot of time reviewing designs, fabrics and cost data. This is all part of making sure we build what we planned to build. The rest of my time is spent working to define the next season’s product line, what we’re building next.
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What’s the best part of the job? It is really cool to see an idea go from concept to prototype to finished product to success in the market. There are so many steps along the way, and people involved, so to have something work is awesome. Also, it is great to work in a business that is rooted in the activities and lifestyle that I love. My job is about helping other people be in the mountains and be active. I really care about this stuff, so I really care that we succeed.
What surprises people about what you do? Some people are surprised about the trips that I go on. I travel some for marketing and product development, and we often go to really fun places. For example, I skied in Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia last year, just on work trips. This surprises even me.
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