Custom Projects Manager


Position Title: Manager - Custom Projects

Company: Wild Republic
Reports To: 
Department: Product Development
Employment Type: 
Full-Time, Exempt
Twinsburg, Ohio
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday

Position Summary:

We are seeking a Manager - Custom Projects to join our product development team.

The Manager-Custom Projects is responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating the custom projects for the company. This is a project management role that will require process development and implementation to ensure efficient handling of product development for custom projects in a timely, cost-effective manner.

The Manager-Custom Projects role requires a self-motivated individual willing to work in a fast-paced environment with strong project management skills and a thorough understanding of the design industry and have design capabilities. The Manager-Custom Projects should have strong  collaboration and communication skills to effectively work with departments within the U.S., as well as with our offices and vendors overseas.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Design Analysis
    Evaluates feasibility of custom design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
  • Project Management
    Reviews custom project proposals to determine time frame, funding limitations, procedures for accomplishing project, staffing requirements/allotment of available resources to various phases of project (including freelancers, where appropriate). Establishes processes and regular communication with customers and among departments, including overseas office and factories, to ensure timely communication and project completion.
  • Project Tracking
    Oversees tracking of custom projects by ensuring spreadsheets are maintained and status is available to be presented during weekly meetings to management, sales, PD, marketing, and planning.
  • Reporting
    Prepares project reports for management, customers, and sales force and ensures at least weekly communication of status of pending projects. Oversees communication of custom information for the company globally by ensuring the Configuration Management Specialist is provided up-to-date information for the database.
  • Inventory Planning
    Ensures regular communication occurs with sales reps so custom products are shipped to customers in a timely manner.
  • Mock-ups
    Prepares presentations and sales mock-ups for custom projects.
  • Presentations
    Presents custom project designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval, and discusses need for modification.
  • Process Improvement
    Evaluates current processes for continous improvement opportunities and works with relevant departments to implement process improvements.
  • Supervising
    Oversees direct reports to ensure performance objectives are met and department efficiency expectations are attained. Meets with direct report(s) to provide regular feedback on performance, changes to procedures, address and resolve issues, etc. Provides coaching and counseling to employees as needed. Ensures employees are following company policies and safety rules. Manages employee payroll and attendance by entering PTO days and verifying attendance and exceptions.
  • Assist Other Departments
    Assists other departments as needed and completes other duties as may be assigned to contribute to the efforts of the team.
  • Confidentiality
    Maintains confidentiality of all corporate, personnel and research matters and uses good judgment regarding disclosure to appropriate parties.
  • Competition Analysis
    Researches competition, consumers and target internal business landscape for identifying trends and insights regarding custom projects.
  • Coordinate samples
    Directs and coordinates the construction of models or samples for custom projects and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
  • Creative Oversight
    Supervises creative processes for custom projects.
  • Customer Service
    Ensures overall client satisfaction by maintaining active knowledge of customer needs and communicating those needs to the appropriate departments.
  • Design
    Prepares sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork using Pencils, Markers and Paints/Brushes, or computer-aided design equipment. Modifies and refines designs, using working models, to conform with specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Global Communication
    Maintains daily communications with overseas vendors and subsidiaries.
  • Interdepartmental Communication
    Partners with cross-functional departments and teams to ensure customer needs are met, issues are resolved promptly, and to contribute to overall success for the business.
  • International communication
    Interfaces with offices in China, India, Denmark, Australia, and Canada. Communicates with sales force globally in the creation of new custom items.
  • Product Knowledge
    Develops strong knowledge of current products and keeps knowledge up-to-date.
  • Travel
    Travels nationally and internationally for meetings and research.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Brainstorming
    Skilled at idea generation, brainstorming and ideation.
  • Creative Abilities
    Strong aesthetic sensitivities and functional creativity.
  • Artistic Skills
    Demonstrated drawing, painting, and sculpting talent.
  • Graphic Software
    Proficient in graphic design software, including Photoshop, InDesign, and Publisher, as well as various Microsoft Office and Mac software programs.
  • Sketching skills
    Good sketching skills with the ability to communicate ideas quickly, efficiently and effectively.
  • Decision-Making
    Investigates all viable options, along with the potential consequences of each, and then makes timely decisions. Can direct a group through this process and does not hesitate to make difficult decisions.
  • Leadership
    Provides daily direction and communication to direct reports and performance feedback and coaching on a regular basis to direct reports. Provides continual evaluation of processes and procedures and suggests methods for improving efficiency and service to internal and external customers.
  • Organization
    Strong organizational skills to manage own workload while also maintaining department efficiency and records.
  • Accountability
    Demonstrates ownership of responsibilities necessary to achieve desired results and considers additional ways to help the company beyond assigned tasks.
  • Analytical Skills
    Strong analytical abilities, including the ability to collect and research data, and effectively analyze data to make decisions, while also retaining the ability to be a creative thinker.
  • Attention to detail
    High attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Communication
    Ability to effectively communicate with all levels of the organization.
  • Integrity
    Gains trust by demonstrating ethics and integrity in actions, maintaining confidentiality, and exercising appropriate discretion and judgment.
  • Interpersonal Skills
    Strong interpersonal and relationship skills to effectively work with people at all levels in a multicultural environment, including both internal and external customers. Ability to identify the needs of others and handle and manage challenging people effectively.
  • Listening
    Ability to build relationships with employees by listening to and considering the opinions of others in choosing a course of action, keeping an open mind, and gaining respect.
  • Multitasking
    Ability to effectively manage multiple competing priorities. Handles multiple assignments and priorities yet still fulfills all commitments. Able to handle high volume and multiple projects simultaneously while maintaining quality and attention to detail. Readily accepts new responsibilities and adapts well to changes in procedures. Gives appropriate priorities to various work demands.
  • Negotiation
    Ability to effectively negotiate prices and other needs to achieve company objectives.
  • Organization
    Able to organize and plan tasks out according to the demands of the day.
  • Persuasion Skills
    Effective persuasion skills and solid communication skills with strong, goal-driven orientation.
  • Policy Knowledge
    Understands and follows company policies and procedures.
  • Positive attitude.
    Maintains a positive attitude.
  • Problem-Solving
    Ability to problem solve and think outside the norm in some situations; in order to get the tasks at hand accomplished. Speaks clearly, calmly and persuasively in positive or negative situations.
  • Presentation Skills
    Experience presenting in front of internal and external customers from a variety of levels within an organization. Ability to speak in front of large groups and explain new products and features, as well as engage audiences from a consulting perspective to understand their goals and requirements.
  • Prioritizing
    Demonstrated ability to prioritize work appropriately and use time efficiently.
  • Problem-Solving
    Ability to problem solve and think outside the norm in some situations; in order to get the tasks at hand accomplished. Speaks clearly, calmly and persuasively in positive or negative situations.
  • Teamwork
    Balances team and individual responsibilities and contributes to building a positive team spirit. Develops and maintains a strong working relationship with internal and external individuals and groups.
  • Time Management
    Prioritizes tasks and manages time to ensure that deadlines are met. Plans his or her time and sticks to those plans. Prevents or manages interruptions until the highest priority tasks are accomplished.

Required Education / Experience / Specific Job-related Skills

Years of Experience:

3+ years of experience in design with project management experience, in the toy/product development field preferred. Knowledge off materials and molding process also desired.


BA/BS college degree in design or its equivalent.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

This position oversees two direct reports: the custom projects coordinator and the configuration management specialist.

Physical Requirements:

This position requires frequently sitting, occasionally standing and walking, and rare lifting. The position also requires manual dexterity and normal or corrected vision to operate a computer in the course of work, visual requirements to safely maneuver throughout the warehouse environment as needed, and travel overseas to work with China and/or India as needed.

This position requires the ability to complete work during normal office hours and maintain communication with vendors in China and India beyond normal office hours.

About the Company:

Everyday millions of children around the world are inspired to learn and play through Wild Republic. Founded in 1979 as the family-owned and operated K&M International, Inc., the Wild Republic brand has grown into an internationally-recognized company, distributing nature-inspired stuffed animals and toys throughout the world. Based in Twinsburg, Ohio, Wild Republic has operations globally in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America, with retail distribution in mass, grocery, drug and specialty retailers. And, with over four decades bringing innovative marketing and IT technology service solutions to the tourism channel, Wild Republic is the leading vendor partner with North America’s most prominent Zoos, Museums and Aquarium attractions.‚Äč

This privately-owned company is committed to nature and conservation, producing the highest quality toys for children, and creating a world filled with compassion, responsibility and understanding. We are committed to serving our customers in a timely and productive manner, which requires that we all work together as a team. To achieve our goals, we are committed to building and maintaining an organization that aligns with our Core Values.

Core Values:

  •     Express Empathy and Humility toward Others
  •     Foster Relationships with Honest and Considerate Communications
  •     Honor Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profit
  •     Deliver Excellence with Customer Service
  •     Accept Responsibility and Authority
  •     Demonstrate Respect and Cooperation

EEO Statement:

Wild Republic is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate in hiring or employment against any individual on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, citizenship, or any other factor protected by anti-discrimination laws.  Furthermore, we comply with the laws and regulations set forth in the following EEO is the Law Poster: EEO IS THE LAW

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities.  If you require assistance to apply for this job, please contact us at

Disclaimer Statement:

The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees in this role. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job and other duties and responsibilities may be assigned as determined necessary by management. This job listing is not intended to, and does not, construe either a contract of employment or an offer of such a contract. Offers of employment with Wild Republic are contingent upon successful completion of a pre-employment background check and drug/alcohol screening.

To Apply, Visit our Applicant Center here


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