Director, Design Operations

Essense of Australia
Job Description
Essense Designs is an international bridal wholesaler with key offices based in Lenexa, Kansas. Our growing organization also operates in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and New Zealand. We have been a global leader in bridal fashion for over 19 years and our designs are currently sold in over 1,200 stores worldwide. With innovative designs and a strong customer service approach, Essense Designs is a dynamic and rapidly-expanding company that rewards excellence, drive, and collaboration.  
* This position is located in Lenexa, Kansas and our ideal candidate must be willing to relocate if you reside out of state*
The Role
We are currently seeking an experienced Director, Design Operations to join our team in Lenexa, Kansas. The successful candidate will be responsible for leading the US based Design support teams, by directly overseeing the Technical Design Operations and Design Administration functions. The individual in this role will work in close collaboration with the Vice President, Design Development and the Chief Creative Officer in the planning and execution of Design departmental processes, projects and timelines.   
The Director, Design Operations must be a highly organized and influential leader, and a strong collaborator with a service mentality towards partnering with other departments in both the U.S. and International locations.  This is a hands-on role and candidates must demonstrate the ability to operate and excel at the strategic as well as tactical levels. 
We are a company that believes in finding better ways. We are always working on continuous improvement projects when it comes to our process. Our goal is to be extremely efficient and thorough in our design process. We want someone that is not only always looking for better ways but is also open to new ideas from other team members and outside the company.  Most importantly, we are seeking a leader who is aligned with our culture who will create and support an inspiring environment that promotes productivity, innovation and fun!
What We Expect
  • Provide strong leadership to the US Technical Design and Design Administration Departments, working closely with department managers in the U.S. and AUS offices. 
  • Hire, train, and coach managers and team members to ensure that they are provided the resources required to achieve results. Provide mentorship to departmental managers, focused on development of business acumen, soft skills, and motivational leadership. 
  • Lead the project management, process planning and systems functions in an otherwise highly creative department.  Responsible for the management of design reporting and analytics, process building and refinement, planning and budgeting, resource tracking and allocation,  design systems and technology, governance and roadmap development, data management, best practices syndication, and skills development.
  • Facilitate the Design Leadership Team in meetings and discussions. Identify and proactively bring groups together for alignment and decision points.  Lead and create accountability for planning across global teams
  • Create visibility into what’s actually happening, in the form of metrics and project management approaches that work well for both creative teams and business groups.
  • Consistently monitor team productivity, performance, and workloads to insure timely and accurate completion of all tasks and projects. Rebalance work as needed and anticipate future workload needs to support continued company growth. Identify and introduce new planning and operational solutions (process, technology, tools) that continually improve team efficiency and effectiveness and increase the pace of innovation. 
  • Provide key leadership of the collection approval process, where global cross functional team collaboration is key, ensuring all timelines are well thought out in advance, communicated to all stakeholders, deadlines are meet, and calendar deviations are communicated effectively.
  • Manage assigned projects end to end, driving project management with respect to project planning, milestone tracking and status updates.
  • Provide leadership in defining, mapping and documenting key design and marketing processes.  Research on fact findings and data analysis to support improvement ideas. 
What We Are Looking For
  • Bachelor’s degree in Business or related degree required. 
  • Minimum 7-10 years’ management experience required, preferably within the apparel industry. Prefer prior leadership of multi-disciplined teams, with experience directly leading management level employees.  This role will directly lead 2-3 management employees and indirectly at team of approximately 20 individuals.   
  • Ability to provide leadership to team of professionals at all levels and cross-functionally in a matrix management environment; experience in leading by example, and aligning leadership style with corporate culture.
  • Strong leadership presence, business acumen, and soft skills, with the ability to influence and build credibility as a trusted resource.
  • Advanced interpersonal skills (written and verbal) interacting with leadership, and building solid and trusted working relationships horizontally across the organization, both locally and globally.
  • High level of emotional intelligence and organizational awareness to allow for effective individual and team leadership as well as collaboration and leverage of expertise across the company.
  • High level of sophistication and maturity in professional and social settings; ability to represent the Company to vendors, retail business partners, and other outside entities consistent with brand image and standards.
  • Decisiveness and excellent use of independent judgment as well as the ability to continuously prioritize among multiple obligations and/or deliverable
  • Having a background in agile concepts is very important to this role. 
  • Strong project management skills, with a track record of delivering projects on time, and to budgeted financials; aligning multiple stakeholders to achieve business goals.
  • Keen ability to ensure projects is on track for completion to plan; able to flag risks and anticipate needs in a proactive manner.
  • Analytical and intellectually curious by nature, with inherent problem-solving abilities.
  • Ability and willingness for occasional work outside normal business hours according to business needs.
  • Technology savvy, quick at picking up new systems, curious about discovering and leveraging new tools to create efficiencies, and strong working knowledge of MS Office programs.
What We Offer
We look forward to welcoming the successful candidate to our fast-growing global team! In return for your skills, we offer you the opportunity to join an international industry leader and be part of a creative and collaborative culture that empowers its people, promotes teamwork and embraces sustainability. We recognise and reward excellence, innovation, and loyalty. Our goal is to offer an inspirational and modern workplace that allows for talent individuals to thrive. As such, we provide competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package, with significant opportunity for exceptional team members to grow with us as we continue to expand. 
If you have the skills, spark and drive to help us further our growth, please go to and follow the prompts to submit a cover letter, resume, and online application.  Please note:  We believe cover letters are important to help us understand why you are interested in this position and your unique story and qualifications.  If you really want to work with us, then please take this into consideration when submitting your materials.  
Contact Information

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