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American Girl Sr. Director Product Design

Middleton, Wisconsin

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Posting Title American Girl Sr. Director Product Design Requisition Number 221313 Company American Girl Brands, LLC Location Middleton, Wisconsin Address 8400 Fairway Place Zip Code 53562 Job Category Marketing

CREATIVITY IS OUR SUPERPOWER. It’s our heritage and it’s also our future. Because we don’t just make toys. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. Mattel is at its best when every member of our team feels respected, included, and heard—when everyone can show up as themselves and do their best work every day. We value and share an infinite range of ideas and voices that evolve and broaden our perspectives with a reach that extends into all our brands, partners, and suppliers.

The Opportunity:  The Sr. Director Product Design leads the creative development of all AG product design for omni channel distribution in the U.S,. as well as, international markets.

This position:

  • Leads the design team to create and establish vision through product design, creative marketing, and licensing.
  • Researches and initiates new innovative concepts and ideas, works with Design Managers and Designers to innovate, coordinate, collaborate, and prepare product lines for approval.
  • Accountable for Product to Market Schedule and ensures all design, quality and cost targets/ deadlines are met.
  • Works closely with Content on product integration and character development, and with Brand Team on LAAG development, key initiatives, category expansion and overall marketing/business plan for the lines through all channels of distribution.
  • Supports content teams to translate those products and/or characters into new media such as: movies, television shows, games, and more.

What Your Impact Will Be:  

Creative Strategy Development:

  • Develop long range design strategy (BDO) in collaboration with brand team, to deliver thoughtful, design-led outline. Drive execution against strategy to deliver premium product that also delivers against financial constraints
  • Develop and deliver packaging that supports both proprietary needs as well as external needs. Costing and structural integrity focus with ability to capture consumer eye.

Licensing Strategy and Aesthetic:

  • Develop overall licensing strategy and aesthetic with focus on character branded opportunity as well as master branded. Manage the creation of licensing guides and drive vision and direction to licensing partners to ensure appropriate brand aesthetic and quality expectations. Responsible for developing and initiating processes for the purpose of ideation and creative development of new Product and Experiences for American Girl. Generate innovative ideas of how to extend and enhance the brand.
  • Manage team and develop a plan allocating resources for new projects and initiatives. This includes the creation of project timelines and staff assignments/utilization for internal development as well as new licensing deals and vendor agreements. Maximize resources across categories to define best approach for new initiatives. Collaborate with Content, Licensing, Digital, Brand, Retail, Development, Consumer Insights, and SBC to develop and execute against the creative corporate vision.

Creative Product Design Process:

  • Evaluate new business opportunities as they relate to product line expansion. Research and provide information regarding industry trends, popular culture and our girls' lifestyle, interests and needs. Collaborate with Content to develop unique characters (Historical and Contemporary GOTY, WW) with relevant messages and themes. Ensure that the highest detail quality and artistic standards are met.
  • Manage AG Product design development. Ensures communication of design vision is clear through concepts. Lead team to consider all aesthetic and brand objectives in their design projects. Lead team to evolve and develop assets as appropriate to new initiatives and new categories. Establish and maintain product development schedules that coordinate with all timelines; ensure deadlines are met. Ensure all development needs such as: costing, tooling, safety, and manufacturing limitations are met. Help establish and meet budget goals. Proactively pursue ways in which to reduce costs
  • Ensure that all concepts and initiatives are informed by consumer insight through the application of: Trend Services, Trade Journals, Market Research, Consumer Testing, In-home Consumer Observations, Play testing, Focus Groups, and comparative market review.

Lead Design Organization:

  • 4 Direct Reports
  • 11 Indirect Reports, plus additional temp designers, pattern makers, etc
  • Manage outside product design partners/ Mattel Consumer Product partners

Budget Management:

  • Develop and manage a ~$2.0MM design budget

What We’re Looking For: 


  • Minimum 15 years of product design experience, including successfully managing projects from concept through production; conceptualizing and planning new products; creating and overseeing schedules; negotiating with freelancers; supervisory experience. High taste level and experience with premium brands.
  • Strong working knowledge of: Garment development (pattern making, grading, garment construction); Fabric/textile properties and development (qualities appropriate to design function, dyeing and printing properties); Print and graphic design development (repeats, scale, printing techniques); Toy development (sculpting, tooling, materials appropriate to design function)
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience leading a design organization
  • Travel is required to attend professional meetings, focus groups, Trade Shows, and/or retail observations to conduct research.
  • Travel is by air or car and is Domestic and International.


  • Proficiency in developing strategic plans and managing large-scale product lines across multiple years and brands.
  • Ability to ideate and think creatively, conceptually and strategically and communicate those ideas visually
  • Experience with and knowledge of manufacturing processes
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong ability to collaborate and work well within a team
  • Knowledge of direct marketing and creative/catalog development
  • Strong people management skills including conflict resolution, negotiation and influence management.
  • Advanced verbal and written communication skills are needed. Strong presentation skills and ability to interact well with all levels of management and customer audiences.

What It’s Like to Work Here:

American Girl is subsidiary of Mattel, a purpose driven company aiming to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. We live up to our purpose employing the following behaviors:

  • We collaborate: Being a part of Mattel means being part of one team with shared values and common goals. Every person counts and working closely together always brings better results. Partnership is our process and our collective capabilities is our superpower.
  • We innovate: At Mattel we always aim to find new and better ways to create innovative products and experiences. No matter where you work in the organization, you can always make a difference and have real impact. We welcome new ideas and value new initiatives that challenge conventional thinking.
  • We execute: We are a performance driven company. We strive for excellence and are focused on pursuing best in class outcomes. We believe in accountability and ownership and know that our people are at their best when they are empowered to create and deliver results.

Our Approach to Hybrid Work

We embrace a hybrid work model to empower a culture of growth, optimism, and wellbeing, where everyone can deliver on our shared purpose and realize their full potential. Combining purposeful in-person collaboration with tech-enabled hybrid work, our focus is to provide flexibility while enabling collaboration for moments that matter.

Who We Are:

American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT,, a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, American Girl, Thomas & Friends, UNO and MEGA, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.

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Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer where we want you to bring your authentic self to work every day. We welcome all job seekers including minorities, females, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

AA/EEO and Accessibility Commitment

Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer where we want you to bring your authentic self to work every day. We welcome all job seekers including minorities, females, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Mattel aims to make its Careers website accessible. It is Mattel’s Policy to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities as required by law. If you’re interested in applying for employment with Mattel, and need assistance with this online system at any point during the application, screening or selection process, or if you believe you do not meet any of the required qualifications of a posted position due to a protected disability and would like to explore the possibility of an accommodation, please contact our Talent Acquisition team at: It is Mattel's Policy to consider all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, social origin, age, marital status, veteran and protected veteran status, disability, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, genetic information, gender, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by applicable law. Mattel has also developed an Affirmative Action Program in compliance with federal regulations and to enhance Mattel's objectives of equal access to opportunities at all levels of employment.