Product Development Manager – Universal Companies
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October 28, 2019

Product Development Manager

Please direct responses to: Attn: Human Resources, 18260 Oak Park Drive, Abingdon, VA 24210, email: or Fax: 276-591-4491

Department: Product Development

Reports to: Director of Products & Training                        

Date: 10/7/2019



The Product Development Manager is responsible for leading the organization in research for new products, product line extensions, product enhancements, and product redesign. Evaluates the potential and practicality of products in development and relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. The Incumbent executes on strategic planning through sourcing of products to deliver to the customer. Examines trends, researches google and web analytics/buying trends to create a robust and sustainable pipeline of potential new vendor partners, products, and brands. Responsible for vetting and testing of products and vendors. The Product Development Manager will be involved in every aspect of the product development process, from brainstorming the next big product to tweaking copy right before launch. The incumbent will provide mentoring and leadership to the Product Development team. This position requires exercising independent judgment to perform the responsibilities described herein. This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required by the employee.




  • Originate new and innovative products in concert with customer needs and business model
  • Selects correct design concepts and fundamental technology used for new products or improvement for existing ones
  • Oversees key projects, processes and performance reports, data and analysis
  • Develops and implements methods and procedures for monitoring projects such as preparation of records of expenditures and research findings, progress reports, and meetings, in order to inform management of current status of each project
  • Review performance data obtained by Product Specialist on current products represented by company
  • Review product sales and data reports to monitor and ensure success of brands and products and monitor life cycle
  • Obtain copy/photography/ingredient/SDS/manuals, technical specifications
  • Work with Product Specialist and School Team to define contents of customer school kits and appropriate pricing
  • Review competitor price research/analysis prepared by Product Specialist
  • Direct and assist with sourcing and testing of substitute products when required
  • Approve product scripts for Sales teams when needed
  • Approve changes in kits, bundles, assemblies and changes to executive price confirmation process


  • Prepare and present potential new brands and products for approval to be added to Universal Companies’ sales channels
  • Complete First Filter Document for Vetting New Vendors and Products
  • Test and review product samples
  • When appropriate, present test results and comparison to current lines and those of competitors
  • Present web analytics to support consideration of new brands or products
  • Define product features, attributes and benefits
  • Exclusivity - negotiate and define level of exclusivity
  • Define market(s) appropriate to product (line) sales
  • Negotiate and define margin
  • Create preliminary sales forecast for potential new products



  • Review appropriate sales/purchasing reports to monitor product success
  • Assist with recommended adjustments for future marketing/promotions



  • Tradeshows
  • Gift markets
  • Trade journals
  • Input from sales
  • Customer visits
  • Social Media
  • Vendor Partners
  • Trend articles and agencies
  • Off-book quotes for special projects
  • Web Analytic Research


  • Keeps immediate supervisor promptly and fully informed of all problems or unusual matters of significance and takes prompt corrective action where necessary or suggests alternative courses of action which may be taken.
  • Conforms with and abides by all regulations, policies, work procedures, and instructions.



  • Conceptualize and communicate detailed product requirements to creative and copywriters.
  • Gain a deep understanding of our product and its uses: cast the vision, educate, and engage stakeholders
  • Understand what users want, and ensure they are happy with what they get.
  • Engage and evaluate partners and competitors
  • Help envision our next generation of products
  • Promote a positive and nurturing learning environment for peers
  • Lead, teach, and encourage behavior that is so exemplary that it is worth imitating.
  • Strive to develop leadership skills and become a strong leader for the PD Department and Universal Companies


  • Minimum of Associates Degree and experience in purchasing and/or product management preferred.
  • License preferred: Esthetics, Massage Therapy, Nail Technician, Cosmetology
  • Spa Experience preferred
  • Technical Marketing/Product Management/Product Development experience preferred


  • Understanding of spa and or salon products preferred
  • Strong computer skills to include MS Office Suite, RMS and JD Edwards or similar PLM system.
  • Problem solving/Analysis of business & technical considerations
  • Ability to link customer’s functional requirements to product technical requirements
  • Track record of using qualitative and quantitative data to prioritize and drive decision-making
  • Strong analytical and synthesis skills, including the ability to absorb and process data into actionable information
  • Ability to be creative, strategic, analytical and think outside the box to solve problems
  • Technical capacity
  • Communication proficiency
  • Personal effectiveness/credibility
  • Excellent people and management skills to interact with cross-functional teams and third parties
  • Time management
  • Presentation skills
  • Proficient in multi-tasking, prioritizing, and time management.
  • Excellent problem solving, basic judgment and keen decision making skills.
  • Must be well organized, accurate, detail oriented, efficient, and product quality work.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to deal with frequent change, delays, and unexpected events. Ability to work well in a fast-paced environment.
  • Must be available to work extended hours as business needs dictate. Work may require occasional weekend and/or evening work and travel.
  • Must have an understanding of the complete organizational structure of Universal Companies.

This position description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Incumbent will also perform other reasonably related job responsibilities as assigned by management as required. This organization reserves the right to revise or change job duties as the need arises. Moreover, management reserves the right to change job descriptions, job duties, or working schedules based on their duty to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This position description does not constitute a written or implied contract of employment.


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