Over the last couple years I've grown a bit bored of my Finance career and have interest in learning more about Product Managers at REI. What does this position look like? How would someone get started in this field of work? How is this position different than a Buyer position?
Like many REI customers I'm a bit of a product junkie and would be so excited to be a part of choosing the products that REI customers would be using for their next adventures.
Welcome to the community and thanks for reaching out!
Nearly every division at REI has a 'product manager' job title, so the answer to your question could vary greatly, depending on which position you are referencing. Because you mentioned the 'buyer position' and being a 'product junkie', we will speak to the product manager job as it relates to the products REI sells in its stores. Please bear in mind, however, that there are many 'product manager' jobs that focus on other REI offerings.
The product manager job at REI is a role within our Co-op Brands (REI branded product or our ‘house’ brand) team that helps plan out what products will be made by REI. They are strategizing, often years in advance, what the category (i.e., apparel, footwear, bikes, gear, etc.) assortment plan will look like for Co-op Brands. While the product manager does work closely with REI’s buying team, their job is to bring Co-op Brands product to life and integrate it with REI’s broader category assortment and strategic plan. The product manager job is equal parts planning for the future and looking at the current market trends in the outdoor industry.
Past experience with product strategy is helpful to getting a product manager position, however there are opportunities for entry level positions within that team at REI. If you set up a profile on REI.com/jobs you can receive alerts when one of these positions opens. Additionally, for more information about product manager jobs, you can visit the link above and search ‘product manager’. You can read through the job description to get more details there. Please remember that you'll want to look at which division the 'product manager' job is in to be sure it is what you are looking for.
Hopefully this helps, thanks!