Leading Athleisure Brand Supports Rapid Business Growth Using Independent Experts to Augment Internal Product Operations Team

The Client: 

Enabling Healthy and Active Lifestyles

Committed to empowering people to reach their full potential via physical activity, this Global Fortune 500 omnichannel designer and retailer of athletic apparel for yoga, running, and cycling has grown rapidly to hundreds of company-owned or licensed retail stores in more than 20 countries.

The Situation:

Infuse Agility and Close Product Operations Gaps

During a period of strong company growth, the Product Operations team identified the need for two specialized roles for supporting multiple current and planned merchandise expansions.  In particular, specialized retail industry subject matter expertise was required to strengthen sample management programs and lead relabeling initiatives.

Simultaneously, the company sought to boost the agility of its product organization to assist with successfully weathering uncertain economic times. As the retailer needed to fill the sample and labeling roles rapidly and smoothly, the Director of Product Operations determined that the traditional full-time hiring model was too slow and inflexible.

The Solution: 

Augment Staff Using a Proven On-Demand Talent Solution

To address this challenge, the Director decided to adopt a staff augmentation model that could provide ongoing support for the sample and labeling functions. After investigating the options, she turned to Graphite’s proven on-demand talent acquisition platform to obtain independent consultants who could integrate smoothly with the company’s internal product operations organization. 

Upon contacting Graphite, the Director was matched with a dedicated account manager. The account manager explained how Graphite’s platform would seamlessly connect the corporation with a curated shortlist of experienced individuals drawn from its pool of over 10,000 independent experts for both of the needed staff augmentation roles. The experts would offer expertise gained at a range of Fortune 500 enterprises, including prominent athletic apparel brands.

Key roles identified

Eager to onboard individuals who could roll up their sleeves and dive in, the Director and their Graphite account manager partnered to determine the specifications for each role. They were:

  • Samples program lead: to lead project management and execution of for strengthening the company’s sample management program.
  • Labeling program lead: to create project charters and implementation plans based on merchandising data for labeling initiatives.
AI-driven, personalized assistance for rapid team creation

With the corporation’s needs established, the account manager used Graphite’s AI-driven platform to identify multiple candidates for each role. Next, the account manager filtered the lists and met personally with the most appropriate candidates to determine which independent experts offered the right expertise, pricing, and availability. After creating the curated list of the top two individuals for each role, the account manager presented it to the retailer.

The Director, along with a panel of key corporate stakeholders, conducted live virtual interviews with the candidates using Graphite’s in-app messaging and meeting room features.

MSA seamlessly established, and experts selected

In parallel, the Graphite account manager simultaneously collaborated with the corporation’s procurement and legal teams to get a managed services agreement (MSA) in place. This ensured the chosen independent experts could begin their assignments rapidly and compliantly.  

The Director and their colleagues selected an independent expert for each role, gaining a combined experience of more than 40 years at respected enterprises such as Columbia Sportswear, Nike, and VF Corporation.

The Result:

Fuel Rapid Product Line and Enterprise Growth

With the experts chosen, the account manager introduced the Director to their dedicated Graphite Customer Success Manager, who facilitated the onboarding and managing of both experts. This was completed within days of contacting Graphite.  

The independent experts quickly added significant value by tackling key projects, using their competencies in order to:

  • Build a Samples Workstream Roadmap in coordination with related internal teams and stakeholders.
  • Execute select sample management initiatives while project managing others, including designing key processes and assisting other product, supply chain, branding, and GTM teams with embedding the processes into their operations.
  • Update global pricing and labeling architectures based on an analysis of global historical merchandising data to enable consistent pricing rollouts going forward.
Smooth, professional, cost-effective experience end-to-end

Over the course of the project, the global retailer realized multiple benefits from partnering with Graphite for staff augmentation, including:

  • Acquire and onboard the right product operations experts in a matter of days.
  • Augment Product Operations team by engaging professionals with a combined experience of over 40 years.
  • Realize considerable product operations value quickly while increasing enterprise flexibility and agility.
  • Tap into a 10,000+ pool of fully-vetted independent experts to identify a resource for the immediate situation and potential future needs.
  • Receive detailed project tracking on the Graphite platform, including deliverables completed, tasks performed, and work hours submitted.