So my time at O'Neill as a Product Management intern has finally come to a close. What a crazy last week. Selection meetings, design comments, photoshoots… JEREMY JONES in the building, and even a film premiere to top it off!!
In the short months I spent with the team I learnt an insane amount, not only about product lifecycle but also brand management and how a huge company like O'Neill operates the machine without losing its heritage and integrity. Without sounding completely suck-ass I've really been overwhelmed by how involved and connected the team are to the brand and the sports that surround it. Skating through the office to a meeting.. like completely normal at O'Neill. How awesome is that!
Although I obviously can’t share any of the amazing work I did for the brand (top secret shhhh), I can tell you that in terms of product lifecycle, I saw it all! I helped create line plans of collections, had design input with designers from original silhouette inspiration to design and proto sample comments, and attended numerous meetings on all aspects of the snow and accessories product lines at O'Neill. One of the things I enjoyed most was created merchandising pyramids for the Snow Performance sales meeting, making suggestions on sale packs based on colour and story.
I really feel like I became a valuable part of the team and had a voice in team discussions on product and marketing strategies surrounding the product, which was very humbling for me. I’m not exactly shy of saying what I think, but it was nice to be listened to and have ideas bounced between all of us.
Over the months, it’s inevitable that you live and breathe the collection, knowing the styles inside out and the reason for them being there. Working for O'Neill’s snow business was especially insightful for me because i’m basically their prime consumer and it’s where my background is really helpful. I now see the importance of balancing “cool” product without pushing out the commercial products that still attract the numbers. But that’s not to say O'Neill aren’t moving in the right direction. With increasingly progressive athletes such as freeski gal Maude Raymond on their team, it’s sure the brand is taking the right steps in terms of brand identity and target audience. And hey, with Nike Snowboarding down and out (again, as so happily pointed out by Halldor Helgason this week!) it will be interesting to see whether O'Neill are capable of taking some of that market share. If anything of what I saw for Winter 15/16 is anything to go by, I’d bet they are!
Again, I'd like to thank the incredible team that made working at the office so god *dam* enjoyable. Such a creative environment of genuinely nice, talented people. One can only hope for a real life job at some place like that in the future!