What are the trend colors of the season? Which socks will make it into the next collection and who will produce them? These and numerous other important topics are on Luca Ahrens’ desk every day. As Product Manager at ONSKINERY, the 21-year-old is responsible for the camano and MUSTANG brands.
It’s a mild spring morning in Pleinfeld. The sun is shining through the large windows of the ONSKINERY headquarters and Luca Ahrens has already been sitting at her desk for two hours – engrossed in a story about colors, closeness to nature, country life and a picnic among friends.
The collection report for the spring-summer 2022 collection is due. And it requires not only know-how, but also a great deal of creativity. What should the collection look like, what should it express, what is the message behind it and which articles best convey this message?
Since April 1, 2021, Luca Ahrens has had primary responsibility for the camano and MUSTANG brands as Product Manager. Previously, the Hanover native completed a 3-year dual study program at the DHBW Heilbronn, which she graduated in September 2020 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Retail and Textile Management. She completed the practical part at ONSKINERY and during this time worked mainly in product management, but also got to know the areas of purchasing, sales and logistics intensively. After graduating, Luca was taken on by ONSKINERY as a Junior Product Manager. Together with a colleague, she was responsible for camano, camano fein and MUSTANG – and successfully so. At the beginning of April came the promotion to Product Manager camano and MUSTANG. “ONSKINERY invests a lot in young talent,” says Luca Ahrens. “If someone does their job really well and puts their heart and soul into it, they will be rewarded for it.”
The respective collection is developed a whole year in advance. To this end, the product managers carry out store checks and visit trade fairs to find inspiration for colors and pattern trends. They also analyze the sales figures once a month to determine the top sellers and adjust the range of articles to the sales. Once the concept for the collection has been drawn up, the next step is to design and develop it. This is where both the pencil and sophisticated design programs come into play. “We recently got a really great 3D design program that makes our work a lot easier,” Luca Ahrens tells us enthusiastically. “Digitization is also a big topic at our company. ONSKINERY is always investing in new hardware and software to keep us up to date.”
The supplier network also plays a major role in Luca’s day-to-day work. “Changing suppliers eats up an incredible amount of time – and nerves,” the product manager reports. “But it happens from time to time that we have to look for new suppliers because customer requirements have changed, quality has dropped or conditions have changed to our disadvantage. That’s where patience, perseverance and an eye for detail are needed. If necessary, you have to have a product produced for the 5th time until it is finally the way you want it.”
A good eye is just one of the many qualities a future product manager should have. “For our job, you should have a certain talent for communication, a sense for materials and colors, analytical skills and a basic interest in what’s going on in the market,” says Luca Ahrens. “Knowledge of business administration is also an advantage, since you do quite a bit of number juggling.”
A productive day comes to an end and Luca Ahrens looks contentedly at the stack of papers on her desk. The collection report has been written and sent out, and the presentation for the sales team is also ready. Soon the planning for the next winter collection can begin. But even product managers need their time off. For Luca, bouldering with friends and colleagues is on the agenda today. So have fun climbing – and we are already very excited about the spring-summer collection 2022!