Only product designer in a design team?

Blasting towards the running shoes scene as if it were shot in the cannon, Products Worldwide has already established round How to Turn On A Skateboard market having its branded line Airwalk.

The response apparently remains overwhelming. "We’re not able to fill all the orders,’ mentioned Bill Mann, president. "The needs have been too great.’

Likening the brand’s impact on the skateboard target Reebok’s early impact on aerobic fitness exercise, Mann mentioned Airwalk began to rapidly expand after 18 several days of operating.

Though declining to show sales figures, Mann did repeat the organization is selling "countless pairs’ everywhere.

The brand’s getting caught on inside the U.S., Airwalk’s next factor would have been to export them. Manufactured mainly in Columbia, the footwear now are increasingly being offered within the Eu, Japan, Australia and Canada the firm promises to increase off-shore distribution.

"Kids around the world desire to dress the identical,A Mann mentioned.

Products Worldwide, a 12-year-old import company, happen to be selling mainly volume footwear when Mann’s wife, Jeri, stood a break through. "I had been getting into whatever the customer wanted from Taiwan and Korea,’ Mann mentioned. "We produced some branded footwear for other lines.’

One evening, after you have just came during the China, Mann’s wife contacted him with the idea of a branded How to ride a skateboard for beginners techniques for beginners shoe line. Mann initially disregarded the suggestion. But finally, upon the promoting from his two sons, Chris, age 16, and Mac, age 12, he made a decision to possess idea an chance.

"I started relaxing at skate parks and watching the kids,A he mentioned. "My boy mentioned he was bored wearing the identical white-colored-colored leather footwear that his mother accustomed to her aerobic fitness exercise class. They wanted a new challenge.A

Mann, who studied art and it was a real buyer for women’s footwear and sports merchandise, made a decision to combine his background encounters and provide the Airwalk line. "Keeping clothing trends in your thoughts, we produced the footwear,’ he mentioned.

To help provide the name, additionally to include fun for the business, Airwalk announced numerous accessories, including sweatshirts, caps, socks, watches, stickers, bags and T-shirts. "We’re doing these products ourselves,’ Mann noted. "Because we spend a great deal time general market trends, we’d have loved to retain charge of these items.A

The Airwalk shoe line, which started getting a target ages of 14, has expanded over the past 18 several days to include a range of sizes from children’s 8 1/2 to men’s size 12. "Our market hasn’t altered,’ mentioned Mann. "We just recognized that the couple of from the boys are wearing bigger sizes, that your couple of from the kids have a go at the sport early or imitate the look.A

"The California lifestyle is not always at the lake any more,A mentioned Joe Dailey, of Airwalk, discussing The Most Effective craze. "It is also round the roads plus the parks.’

Carlsbad, the home base for Airwalk, could be the "casual fashion hub around the world,A Mann mentioned. "The surf craze is actually here, for your locals.’

Airwalk, which just recently moved from the 3 major,000-square-ft facility into the one that measures 48,000 square foot, can be found in the center of casual apparel companies plus a community that lives a California lifestyle.

"Fashion people come here to examine just what the youngsters are wearing,A he mentioned. "We’re here constantly, and i also have encircled myself with youthful those who are tuned straight into what’s happening.A

Mann claimed, really, he doesn’t produce a product or marketing move without speaking to his two sons. "It absolutely was their idea, and so they were right,’ he mentioned. "Individuals would be the flavor and essence of what is happening in skateboarding

Also, Mann stood a 45 8 16-ft skate ramp installed in their home.

Mann mentioned he believes very good of skateboarding grows with a lot. "There are more kids that are skaters than football and basketball players combined,’ he claimed. "We are feeling applying this sport, there’s a chance to become one of the main shoe companies.’

Airwalk’s footwear line, including over 100 skus, retails for $20-$30. "We’d have loved to keep the price low enough for him or her to buy multiple pairs,’ he described.

"We have a lot of letters from their website (kids),’ mentioned Mann. "They call the footwear "rad’ and appear at first sight "on.‘’

Are you the only industrial designer on the team and a recent graduate?

I was in a similar situation 3 years ago, except instead of engineers it was a couple of metal fab guys that I knew through a family connection.

I came in initially for a few days just to model up a really basic product in Solidworks, literally a simple tray with some ribs, and make an engineering drawing of it. They had some other fun ideas for products they wanted to make and made me a part time offer, which sounded great given that I was straight out of uni and wanted to get paid, and I accepted.

It turned out that they didn’t really know what industrial designers actually did, and had assumed that my sole skillset was making 3D models and drawings in Solidworks. I was working in a side bubble to their day-today business on R+D for products that they wanted to develop, which ended up being a fun role and I was actually there for just over 3 years in total.

While I learnt a lot about business processes and client interactions, I found that the design process itself was difficult to keep moving forwards without an experienced designer to bounce off and learn from, and that the general assumption was that 4 years of uni had taught me everything I needed to know to create a design masterpiece and to take it from brief to production.

This isn’t realistic, and from my personal experience I would stay away from soloing as a graduate as your design and communication skills will develop far better and more quickly with practised designers surrounding you.

I would ask:

-Have they had industrial designers in-house before? Do they know what an industrial designer does?
-Do they know that you won’t be able to push a product through development like someone with 10-20 years of working experience?
-Do they expect everything concept to be made completely within Solidworks/3D CAD for any kind of discussion? Or can they happily discuss a sketch (“pretty picture” as I’ve heard it called in the past) of a concept?

I am a sole designer at the company I work at, and I am also right out of College. Fortunately, the company I work for has a history of working with some really good designers, and all of the engineers I work with understand ID and are embracing it. I’ve also received a lot of support from upper management to implement things I feel are important and I am getting a ton of experience that I would have never been able to get in a well established roll. When I was still in college, I would tell my professors about what I was doing and they seemed really impressed about what I was learning at such a fast pace. It’s definitely not easy, and the biggest issue is not having an outlet to bounce ideas off of and receive real critique. I will say though that my experience seems to be different from AndyMc in that some of my design skills have actually gotten better (Sketching), and I believe my communication skills have actually excelled rapidly because I had to learn very quickly how to communicate heavily with non-designers. I used to be a little bit worried that I was “missing out” but fortunately we work with some companies and my friends work with some companies who are heavily designed focused, and it doesn’t seem like I’m missing much. I will say, I was in an internship though that I was the only designer (as an intern :laughing: ) and It was a constant uphill battle. I would say my situation is unique, but I think being a sole designer can be a positive thing. Oh! And also, I obtained a mentor early on that has a huge design background, that has helped immensely!

This is the really important part. The company you are at has embraced design and has a culture that follows it.

My comment is specific to places that haven’t had designers before and don’t have a design culture.

I was the only designer at my second full time design job. You can see what I think of that opportunity in my signature quote: “The key to success in this business is to find a boss who doesn’t care.” I learned way more by being on my own than I did being in the team at my first job. In my case, I made a ton of mistakes (that I quickly learned from), said ‘yes’ to every opportunity to touch the product development process and I pushed my design skills way further than I had ever been asked to do. It was an extremely positive experience for me.

On the other hand, the organization did not understand design and canned the best ideas from R&D and myself. You win some, you lose some.

I’m solo now, but have a newhire starting in May. I’ve been sole designer in past companies and there is good and bad to that situation. While there might not be internal mentors or an established process, it lends the position to be defined and developed. The opportunity is there to really make a difference with new product and establishing design language and guidelines. Another thing to consider is to pick a project or two for an outside consultancy so you can project manage as well as absorb a bit of their process.

My advice is to give it time. The bad side is they’ll work you to death and never get on board with design or your problem solving capabilities. If this happens, it might be time to start looking.

I should add that I’ve been out of school a LONG time, longer than I like to think about sometime :slight_smile: