Trading numbers for passion and creativity, Rosanna left her accounting job for a gig in marketing and product management and ended up working with greeting cards. As the seasonal product manager for John Sands, Rosanna immerses herself throughout the year in all the seasons – from Valentine’s Day to Easter and through the year to Christmas – to find out what people want to express to their loved ones and the best way to get the message across.
What do you do in your job?
I am the seasonal product manager for John Sands Australia, which is
one of Australia’s largest suppliers of greeting cards and social expression products. My job involves the selection and strategic planning of all of the seasonal product lines including all seasonal cards and our calendar line.
After starting out as an accountant, I soon realised that numbers and
I weren’t well suited. I went back to uni to study marketing at RMIT and found that I really enjoyed the product development side of marketing. I got a job as a marketing assistant in a manufacturing firm developing products for the balloon and party product market. After a couple of years there, I moved to John Sands as an assistant product manager in the ‘everyday’ team looking after all the everyday occasions such as birthdays and weddings. When the position for the seasonal product manager role became available I was lucky enough to get it!
There are career opportunities in graphic design, sales, merchandising and marketing, production, supply chain management and many, many more. Our company functions like most other companies in the sense that we have numerous departments all working towards delivering our products to our consumers from start to finish.
The card seasons that John Sands participates in are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. As part of my role I look after all of these seasons for the entire year.
We start the selection of each season as soon as the event has passed, for example we start working on Valentine’s Day 2009 on the 15th of February 2008. It takes close to an entire year to select or design, sell to store and manufacture a season in order for it to be ready for customers to purchase. For Christmas (our largest season) it takes nearly a year and a half to organise.
Just before Christmas we send out all of our Valentine’s Day orders to our customers so that retailers can pull their Christmas displays down and put Valentine’s Day in its place. After the 14th of February, we collect all of our sales history for each individual card we have sold to see what designs worked or didn’t work within the market. Then the process of selecting cards for the next Valentine’s Day season starts!
For the seasonal team – a love of all the seasons is essential! We really get into the spirit by decorating our workspaces for each season. Other traits that suit the greeting card industry in general are creativity and the ability to understand the different target markets. Also – organisation is critical! Sometimes you may be working on over 500 different cards at once and you need to know at what stage in the process you are at for every single one. Most importantly – a sense of fun is needed as we are working within an industry that is fun, vibrant and exciting.
What I really enjoy about my job is the fact that it is so dynamic and fast-paced. There is something new happening every day. The job is very challenging as it involves keeping track of all the stages of the season from development to implementation and then all the way through to sales in store.
I also really like the great people I work with and the creative atmosphere that we work in. There are new ideas nearly every day!
I guess my advice to anyone wanting to get into any product development role is to really get to know what kind of products you want to get involved with and understand the markets you want to operate in. It all really depends on your interests. There are millions of products out there and it really comes down to choosing the one that will keep you stimulated and motivated enough to work with it every day.
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