Mission: At Summer Infant, we strive to delight parents and babies, and walk beside them in their parenting journey by providing safe and innovative products that provide peace of mind.
I worked at Summer Infant full-time (More than 5 years)
You get to design products and see them put into production. It's pretty amazing to see your work be designed and manufactured. The designers on the team have a great community and it feels like a family.
Summer is structured by business unit and the designers are aligned to specific business units. They lost their head of design about 4 years and have struggled to find a new person to stay in that role. The reporting structure doesn't enable designers to be heard and prevents them from doing good work. Each business unit has a marketing person and a business unit leader, unfortunately across all teams these individuals have very little design experience yet they lead the product design for their groups. This is extremely frustrating and causes you to design a lot of products that already exist. Business unit leaders govern product design based on price and competition more than user needs and wants. Summer lacks any sort of design research they only bring users in at the end of the process to validate things already in production or to seed reviews. Although I think this is a great place for marketing and business roles, designers have little power in this organization. Some business Unit leaders act as dictators rather than partners and the result is poorly designed products which only sell due to cost and product placement.
Advice to Management
Give the designers more of a voice. A strong leader who can advocate for good work or a seat at the senior table. They should be partners with business unit leaders and marketing not subordinates. Marketing should have a say in marketing and packaging but their place is not in product design.
I applied online. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at Summer Infant (Woonsocket, RI) in August 2016.
Scheduled an in-person meeting with another product marketing manager and a senior product marketing manager. Interview took approximately 30 minutes and was conversational and some what laid back. Majority of the interview was asking about my past experience and then telling me about the long hours, weekends/holidays they work.
I had to email HR weeks after my interview on a status of my application to find out that they had taken a different route and decided to hire internally. Can't help but wonder if this was the plan all along - if that be the case, I commend you for not only wasting my time, but my efforts as well. Future applicants, BEWARE.