How can product managers maximize the lifecycle of products? In this episode, Willow Innovations Product VP Melissa Pickering meets with Helpsy CMO Jessica Rennard for an insightful conversation on maximizing the product lifecycle. They discuss the necessity of bridging the gap between sustainability and product lifecycle extension, noting the monumental challenge of changing consumer behavior towards sustainability. They also mention the importance of networking and working with executive coaches while in the product space. Join us in this episode for a thought-provoking and informative journey at the intersection of sustainability, product management, and personal development.

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Show Notes

  1. The podcast discusses the relevance of the resale industry for product managers.
  2. It highlights the importance of rethinking the full lifecycle of products and finding ways to repurpose second-hand items.
  3. The average consumer wears an item of clothing only seven times before discarding it.
  4. The largest clothing recycler on the east coast is mentioned, diverting around 36 million pounds of clothing from landfills.
  5. An in-house app is used to remove human judgment in evaluating products, collecting attributes like brand, condition, and gender.
  6. Curated products are sold to resellers who further distribute them on platforms like Poshmark, eBay, and Mercari.
  7. Products are also sold to thrift stores and retail outlets.
  8. The podcast explores trends in the apparel consumer goods industry, particularly in extending the lifecycle of products.
  9. Most of their customers are in the US, and there is a need for consumers, leaders, and manufacturers to work on product lifecycle extension, especially for apparel.
  10. Many aren’t aware of secondhand and resale concepts.
  11. A significant challenge is changing consumer behavior towards sustainable practices.
  12. They discuss how product managers in the physical product space can extend the lifecycle of products.
  13. The discussion extends to product leaders within companies like Lego and how they can incorporate circular economy principles.
  14. They discuss the company’s involvement with shoe companies to downcycle products and past consulting work.
  15. Valuable leadership principles are transparency, authenticity, empathy, and inclusion.
  16. Maximizing the product lifecycle requires relevant leadership operating principles.
  17. The podcast offers advice on finding a coach and the impact of coaching on shifting thinking.
  18. They discuss the cost and accessibility of coaching opportunities.
  19. They highlight time management challenges in seeking coaching.
  20. The episode concludes with insights on what makes a great product and a good product manager, along with recommendations for podcasts, books, and influencers by Jessica.

About the speaker
Helpsy, CMO Member

Resale industry business expert. High performing revenue driver & leader with start up experience. Jessica is a result driven retail professional with 15+ years experience in monetizing discarded apparel and strategic growth. Jessica has previously built a e-commerce wholesale company where she then transferred her skill set and knowledge to the largest clothing recycling company on the East Coast, Helpsy. At her current role of Chief Merchandising Office, Jessica has core P&L responsibility and oversees multiple business channels to drive the greater mission of diverting clothing from landfill while being profitable.

About the host
Melissa Pickering Willow Innovations, VP of Product Management

I'm a purpose-driven change agent with a track record of building & leading cross-functional teams to develop & launch products for kids. From Disney Imagineering, to EdTech startup founder, to product innovation at The LEGO Group, I have spent over a decade building and leading product teams to innovate kids' play and learning experiences. Most recently, I have joined another purpose-driven mission at Willow Innovations to bring more joy to motherhood, building products to make moms' lives easier.

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