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Product Development Engineer role at Nugget in Durham

Nugget in Durham is hiring a Product Development Engineer


Nugget, a direct-to-consumer kids furniture brand, is looking for an experienced Product Development Engineer to support all phases of product development at Nugget – from initial brainstorming through production and beyond! As a member of the Product Development team, you will explore and refine designs through iterative conceptualization and prototyping, working alongside teammates from a variety of backgrounds. This role will be responsible for creating and testing clever and careful design solutions – understanding the big picture, as well as the details that make a difference. Our ideal candidate has a strong mechanical background in a variety of fields with soft goods expertise, excellent prototyping skills, 3D CAD capability, and experience in designing and manufacturing products in the kids product space. If you have experience as a Product Development Engineer, are looking for the next step in your career, are excited to roll up your sleeves, problem solve like there is no tomorrow and a lot of tomorrows at the same time, and create alongside a creative team - we’d love for you to apply! _What is Nugget? _We are an industry-leading, fun-loving, furniture company (est. 2014) that seeks to bring bold play and big imaginations into everyday life at home. We design, develop, market, manufacture, sell, and ship our part-toy, part-furniture, four-piece Nuggets all from one location, with a team of ~100 Nuggeteers, in Butner, North Carolina (just outside of Durham). And we’re just getting started — in both 2020 and 2021, Inc. Magazine named us the fastest-growing manufacturing company in the United States. We’re proud to continue the industrial legacy of North Carolina, and to make kids furniture for growing imaginations.


  • You’ll own engineering activities and collaborate with stakeholders throughout the entire product lifecycle, from definition and creation, through design, production, and next-gen improvements.
  • You’ll apply sound engineering processes and methodical approaches, while solving diverse design and product manufacturing challenges.
  • You’ll research, identify, create, and apply testing standards for new and existing products and materials. Tests will cover usability, quality/consistency, sustainability, durability, etc.
  • You’ll create, communicate, receive, and apply technical specifications and processes to be included in master specifications and to ensure those are implemented consistently.
  • You’ll work closely with external suppliers, Nugget Supply Chain/Quality, Nugget Manufacturing/Engineering, and Nugget Marketing/Customer/Creative teams to execute Product through development to production to consumer use.
  • You’ll creatively make rough prototypes to fail fast and learn quickly.
  • You’ll use sketches, refined prototypes, and digital 3D models to effectively test, refine, and communicate design intent of new and in-process ideas.
  • You’ll guide the Product Development team’s quantitative and qualitative research for product ideas and improvements to meet business goals and customer needs.
  • You’ll serve as a resident expert in supplier manufacturing processes and capabilities.
  • You’ll ensure and maintain Nugget product compliance with applicable product health/safety/consumer/environmental regulations and voluntary certifications.
  • You’ll document research findings, new product concepts, and product improvements/modifications with detailed reports and a database.
  • You’ll manage BOM’s in development efforts and advise on trade-offs between cost, complexity, timeline, feasibility, and quality.
  • You’ll travel domestically and internationally as needed to support projects, conduct research, etc.


  • You have 5-7 years of practicing mechanical design, of which includes both hard and soft goods. Experience in furniture, textiles and toy are beneficial, but not essential.
  • You have a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or similar educational background
    • Bonus: Experience and interest in defining and executing sustainability initiatives
    • Bonus: Experience in Industrial Design or working in a creative department
  • You have experience collaborating with foreign manufacturing and supply partners to bring products to market.
  • You have solid experience in working with textile manufacturing; ability to source highly preferred.
  • You approach product development and research work with a “no job is too small” attitude and have a curious mind - always willing to learn and grow your imagination.
  • You are an expert in 3D CAD modeling: solid, surface and assembly (SolidWorks) and have the ability to draw 2D technical documentation.
  • You have comprehensive knowledge of engineering fundamentals, including soft goods manufacturing processes (textiles, foam, adhesives, silicone, and others).
  • You have knowledge in mechanical design fundamentals for typical consumer product design (injection molding, stamping, casting, machining, electronics, etc.).
  • You are passionate about learning and ‘deep diving’ into relevant topics, and are excited to act as our in-house expert.
  • You have experience building and assembling prototypes in a shop or studio setting.
  • You have a nimble mind and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse team environment.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills, the ability to describe technical details in a relatable manner to a variety of audiences.
  • You are excited to build strong partnerships and work collaboratively to share, gather, and utilize others’ ideas and opinions throughout the product design process.
  • You can comfortably shift gears, make decisions, and take action when priorities and/or situations change.
  • You excel at planning, organization, and prioritization, and can assess the actions, time and resources required to achieve your goals.
  • You like to discover new opportunities and creative solutions for problems by looking beyond current practices or standards, and thinking outside the box.


  • Competitive Pay + Annual Company Bonus

  • Medical, Dental, and Vision covered at 100% for employees

  • PTO, Holidays, and Winter Break

  • 401k Employer Match

  • Paid parental leave

  • Free Nugget + Team Discount   *Our compensation philosophy: Here at Nugget we don't negotiate compensation. This comes from research that shows negotiations often result in arbitrary differences in pay – not based on differences in ability, but based on who is better at negotiating. For that reason, we like to offer the amount upfront that we believe is fair for the job, rather than offer a lower amount that builds in the expectation for negotiating. To add a bit more context, our process is centered in industry data, which factors in our stage/size of company, job classification, experience and skill, to make sure that we have fair and transparent numbers for our regional market. Equal opportunity: Nugget is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and will consider all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital or family status, disability, gender identity or expression, veteran status, actual or presumed belonging to an ethnic group, or any other legally protected status. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know.