If you’re in the handbag industry, you don’t get much closer to your customer than working the sales floor in an airport store. Melissa Mash did just that, selling Coach bags at London’s Heathrow.
Then 24, she was already a veteran of the leather goods giant, having started out as an intern during her New York University days. In the U.K., she handled buying, visual merchandising, and operations, as well as running a 9-person international sales team.
Crucially, Mash also got to hear from women directly, learning about their “handbag problems,” as she calls them. Why were otherwise chic bags often blighted by logos and branding? Did totes have to turn into black holes, swallowing keys and sunglasses?
Now armed with a Wharton MBA and two female cofounders, Mash is the CEO of Dagne Dover, a investor-backed, direct-to-consumer handbag and accessories startup selling carryalls for working women. She’s competing not just with her former employer Coach, but the likes of Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Kate Spade .
The company’s stylish coated canvas totes each come equipped with a padded laptop sleeve that closes magnetically. There are compartments perfectly sized for wallets, tablets, smartphones, ID cards, lip glosses, and pens. A detachable key strap means you won’t be fishing at your front door.
“It’s not just about having a bunch of pockets on the inside, which some brands do,” Mash said. “It’s about making sure that the pockets are so intuitive to the consumer that she doesn’t have to think twice. Of course that’s the sunglasses pocket. Of course that’s the laptop sleeve.”
News and Image Source: forbes.com