Head of Research & Development – toys and hardlines

About The Company

The company designs and develops licensed toys which kids love and parents want to buy. Due to an ambitious growth plan, the appointment of the Head of R&D will play a pivotal role in helping to achieve objectives. Working alongside the directors and other heads of department, the successful applicant will be key to continued success of the business.

The company is proud of its established heritage and fosters a very collegiate and collaborative work culture where people enjoy their jobs and working together. This is an exciting time to be coming on board and being part of the next phase of growth; a blank canvas opportunity. Stamping your own mark and creating the role will require a flexible working approach and willingness to find a way to make things work.

The role will be home-based; however, you will be required to attend the office three days a week once Covid restrictions are lifted. Therefore, you must be able to drive and willing to spend three days a week away from home.


The Head of R&D will play a key role in defining the product roadmap over the next five years. The successful applicant will be strategically responsible for bringing through innovative ideas and concepts which are sustainable and affordable. Liaising with the directors and other heads of department, they will be responsible for delivering product solutions which maximise ROI. This is a truly exciting time to be joining the business as its growth accelerates, where ideas and input will be crucial steps towards overall success. Ultimately the Head of R&D must champion best practice, and be passionate about innovative and quality led products with a focus on demand for sustainability.

The successful applicant will identify and maintain a network of external suppliers, inventors and contractors to fuel the innovation pipeline. They will also create and implement KPI’s ensuring products and packaging are delivered in a transparent and responsible way.

Having a commercial, analytical and creative mind is imperative, as are great relationship, people and communication skills with ability to lead, mentor and manage a small team; the new Head of R&D will have excellent planning skills and work effectively across stakeholder groups, internal/external teams. A strong track record of building and managing creative teams in a commercial business with hardlines goods is imperative. Deep insight for the whole product life cycle is expected.

In return, the successful applicant will enjoy working in a collaborative business culture, be able to work autonomously and have an innate eye for product and placement.

Role Responsibilities

The Head of R&D will lead the product development team and work closely with marketing and sales to identify where gaps exist in the market to bring through commercially viable, affordable products. The successful applicant will have experience of working with colour and injection moulding, and will understand Far East manufacturing and tooling processes. They will be someone who can influence and motivate others uniting teams to achieve objectives.

The successful applicant will:

  • Direct, lead and mentor the Product Development team, conveying company and department goals and objectives clearly.
  • Provide focus to individual team members, report results and risks to management, and respond to team needs.
  • Design and implement research and development protocols or projects.
  • Provide required current feedback to the company directors about current and future path of R&D organisation’s roadmap.
  • Work with the directors to create and implement the R&D business plan and budget.
  • Develop and monitor metrics and KPI’s as required to manage R&D function.
  • Drive the design vision and thinking across the product development department.
  • Identify trends and put forward and execute new opportunities.
  • Develop an understanding of and an affinity with the company’s customer base.
  • Work in partnership with sales, marketing and production to ensure delivery of a commercially viable products which maximise sales and uphold brand integrity.
  • Work closely with the supply base to understand and develop capacity and negotiate best rates.
  • Communicate with suppliers on design developments and requirements, materials and specification of products.
  • Deliver accurate, global, technical specifications for all products and component parts.
  • Represent the brand at appropriate trade shows and events.
  • Ensure the company’s brand values are reflected in all areas of work, from design development to production.
  • Inspire and work collaboratively to ensure a clear and authentic design message and vision are translated and communicated.
  • Manage the Buying and Designing relationship to ensure the balance between creativity and commerciality.
  • Coach and develop through feedback, progress discussions and appraisals to ensure all team members have clear and stretching development goals and are delivering their best work.
  • Build a strong team and motivate them to collaborate and support each other.

Key Skills and Experience

  • Drive and a willingness to learn.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • A proven network of suppliers and creative resources.
  • A proven track record of product development process with consumer goods and Far East manufacturing process.
  • Ability to work to deadlines, work effectively under pressure and manage multi-projects.
  • Able to create and nurture strong relationships across stakeholder groups, internal/external teams.
  • Strong attention to detail and highly organised.
  • IT Literate with advanced skills in Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • An inspiring leader who is motivating and empathic.
  • Proactive, engaging and confident.
  • A genuine passion for sustainable products.
  • Able to work autonomously but as a tight knit business team.
  • Willingness to keep learning and improving your existing skills.
  • Ability to create rapid change and impact through strategic thinking and a self-starter approach.
  • Taking responsibility and ownership for the product development team and willingness to find a way to make things happen.
  • Being flexible with work hours to ensure goals and deadlines are met and delivered.
  • A degree in product development/product design/engineering will be advantageous.

Desirable qualities

  • Experience of working with plastic products.
  • Experience of working with toys or similar related products.

To Apply

Please send a recent copy of your CV, set out on two pages plus a covering letter, highlighting why you believe you would be a suitable candidate for this role.  Applications to be submitted to rowena@shoreyconsulting.co.uk.