Head of Footwear Materials
We are seeking a highly skilled and experienced professional to join our brand as the Head of Footwear Materials. As the leader of the footwear materials team, you will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our brand by driving innovation, quality, and sustainability across our footwear product range. This position is a unique opportunity to leverage your expertise in materials science and manufacturing, market trends, scaling operations, and supply chain management to deliver exceptional footwear materials and drive the success of our brand.
- Leadership and Strategy:
- Develop and execute the strategic vision for footwear materials, aligning it with the overall brand and sourcing strategy.
- Lead and inspire a team of materials specialists, fostering a culture of innovation, operational excellence, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including design, development, product testing, sustainability, and sourcing, to ensure effective integration of materials in footwear products.
- Material Development and Innovation:
- Stay at the forefront of material science, emerging technologies, and market trends to identify and develop innovative materials that meet performance, durability, and sustainability requirements.
- Conduct research and collaborate with external partners to identify new material opportunities and drive material advancements.
- Manage material development projects from concept to commercialization, ensuring timelines, quality standards, and cost targets are met.
- Supplier Management and Collaboration:
- Build and maintain strong relationships with material suppliers, ensuring, in partnership with Head of Material Sourcing, a robust and reliable supply chain from development through production.
- Partner closely with suppliers to drive efficiencies and optimize costs, quality, innovation, and sustainability goals.
- Collaborate with suppliers to drive continuous improvement, resolve material-related issues, and ensure compliance with brand standards and regulations.
- Frequently evaluate and take action on supplier performance and portfolio in partnership with the Head of Material Sourcing
- Quality Assurance and Testing:
- Establish and enforce rigorous material testing and quality control protocols to ensure compliance with industry standards and brand requirements.
- Work closely with quality assurance teams to address any material-related issues, implement corrective actions, and prevent quality deviations.
- Stay informed about industry regulations and standards related to footwear materials, proactively ensuring compliance and guiding the brand's sustainability efforts.
- Sustainability and Circular Economy:
- Drive sustainability initiatives by identifying opportunities for eco-friendly materials, waste reduction, and circular economy practices.
- Collaborate with sustainability teams to set goals, track progress, and report on the brand's sustainability performance related to footwear materials.
- Engage with stakeholders, industry groups, and sustainability organizations to stay informed and contribute to industry-wide sustainability efforts.
- Proven experience (10+ years) in footwear material development, sourcing, and supply chain management within the sports industry.
- Strong knowledge of footwear materials, including synthetics, natural, thermoplastics, textiles, foams, rubbers, and manufacturing processes.
- Demonstrated leadership skills with the ability to manage and inspire cross-functional teams to achieve their full potential.
- Should be adaptable and able to navigate complex and rapidly changing environments
- Fosters collaboration and teamwork, and creates an environment where everyone feels valued and included
- Experience in driving sustainability and circular economy practices in footwear materials.
- Has a passion for innovation and the ability to identify new materials, technologies, and processes that could be used in footwear manufacturing to improve performance, sustainability, and cost effectiveness
- Deep understanding of material testing standards, quality control processes, and regulatory requirements.
- Excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to build and maintain strong relationships with suppliers and stakeholders.
- Strong project management abilities, with a track record of successfully delivering material development projects on time and within budget.
- Passion for sports and a keen eye for market trends, consumer preferences and functional requirements.