Studio artist/machinist needing a career change

I hold an MFA in studio arts and have 7 years of experience as a machinist (both manual and CNC, very comfortable in Autodesk/HSMworks). I’ve been running a small business for the past two years, and while it’s profitable, it’s not profitable enough. I’m at the point in my life where I desire job security, health insurance, a steady source of income, and career growth opportunities. You know, just a few things, right?

I’m looking to find a job in ID, ideally one where I can move between design, engineering, and manufacturing. I see this as maybe a ‘product manager’ type job description? ← Yes, that’s a question, I’m not really sure where I fit in. I’m really open to anything in the spectrum that involves making a physical product, as long as there is opportunity for growth!

I feel very much an outsider looking in on the Industrial Design world. I have a very unique skill set and work experience and know that it’s going to be a challenge to get through the first layer of HR review.

A friend of mine is pretty active here, and thought this might be a good place to post for some feedback. Where can someone like me fit in within the pantheon of ID related jobs? Sorry, if that’s too broad of a question, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

for reference here is what I’m doing right now:

Very nice work, I followed you on instagram :slight_smile:

I’m not really sure where you can start to break in. Definitely not as a product manager. That is typically more in product marketing and involves lots of excel spread sheets, making business cases, and dealing with sales guys and retailers. Have you thought about showing your portfolio to Harry’s or Art of Shaving? it seems like a natural way to make a case to transition to a design role.

Yo, Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I realized pretty quickly after reviewing listings on Coroflot that ‘product manager’ is neither a job that I’m interested in nor qualified for. The job roles within the product design & development process are perhaps a bit more murky than I had thought. I very much want to be part of the creative team in some way.

What has helped me the most, has been reviewing portfolios like yours and others on the site and realizing that I have vastly undervalued the importance of documenting my sketches! I have a machine shop on-site so I go from sketching, to CAD/CAM, to prototype in hand pretty quickly. As I start to put together my portfolio I have a lot of product, a lot of models, and almost no sketches. That will need to change.

I agree, that Art of Shaving seems like a natural fit. I’d also like to find employers similar to 555 where design, development, and fabrication are done in-house.

Thanks again for the feedback.

I’d like to note that the hot sketch is not valuable in all situations.

I have seen that when NPD is done in-house, there is very little reason to spend the time on a sketch that takes more than 5 minutes to complete. Getting prototypes into the hands of the users is much more valuable for evaluation of an idea than a drawing. Interaction will always trump imagining interaction.

There is a fit for you in NPD, no doubt. My guess is a consultancy would want to pigeon-hole you into the shop. Corporate NPD would view you in a better light. Your best bet is to find a fit with your current skill set to get a foot in the door (don’t try, for example, a cut and sew manufacturer as they need little machining).