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4:46 AM / Sunday January 29, 2023

13 Jan 2023

Sherrill Mosee makes organization beautiful  with Minkeeblue travel and work bags

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January 13, 2023 Category: Style Posted by:

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Many people carry a handbag, briefcase, or a series of bags with them daily. A frequent observation from those that carry handbags is that there often isn’t enough space in those bags to fit all of their belongings while also maintaining a chic aesthetic.

Sherrill Mosee has solved that dilemma with her beautifully crafted, travel and work bags, Minkeeblue. 

Mosee — the CEO, inventor and designer of Minkeeblue — was inspired to create the line of handbags to solve the problem of “overload bag syndrome.” She did that successfully while simultaneously offering her customers a well-crafted, easily organizable, fashionable bag. Her brilliant design caught the attention of the shoppable live competition TV show “America’s Big Deal” where she won the opportunity for Macy’s to put Minkeeblue on its shelves. 

Mosee spoke with the SUN about her inspiration for creating Minkeeblue bags, her experiences while becoming a designer and the importance of tenacity.

With no prior knowledge of fashion, Mosee’s introduction to the fashion world and manufacturing handbags was extremely unconventional. 

“My degree is in engineering. I used to work in the field for a number of years and I was laid off,” she said. “When I was laid off, I started a nonprofit organization where I raised money to help low-income single moms pay for childcare so they can stay in school. During that time, I would see moms struggling with their backpack and their diaper bag. I was taking the train in the city doing the same thing, carrying my purse, my shoes in a plastic grocery bag, putting that in a tote bag, and my lunch bag. I had a lot of stuff going on. You still want to look cute — you don’t want to be struggling with a lot of different bags. I said, ‘I wonder if there’s one bag on the market where I can organize and separate everything I need for the day without carrying multiple bags?’”

The unique name Minkeeblue was inspired by some of the women Mosee worked with in her nonprofit.

“Because I was working with student moms, I originally wanted to design diaper bags,” she said. “I wanted the name PinkyBlue. It just made sense — boy and girl — but the domain was taken. I really liked the sound of PinkyBlue, so I literally just went through the alphabet. I landed on Minkeeblue and it just stuck.” 

When Mosee began her bag designing journey, she was a novice. Minkeeblue began as an idea, but eventually evolved into what it is today.

“I didn’t know anything about designing a bag,” she said. “I can’t even sew, so I didn’t even know how to put one together. It was about those shoes and trying to figure out where to put the shoes without [them] touching all the other stuff in your bag. This idea of being able to separate my shoes from my purse essentials or if I have a piece of fruit in the bag. So, I came up with this idea of having a shelf right in the middle of the bag.” 

During Mosee’s research for handbags, she discovered there was no bag on the market that fulfilled her needs. She took a “MacGyver-like” approach to designing Minkeeblue by creating her own prototype.

“I was looking for something and I couldn’t find it,” she said. “Because I don’t know how to sew or anything like that,  I went to Target and bought a bag of the same shape and size that I had envisioned [for] this bag in my head. I started cutting it up. In the top, it had Velcro strips, that’s where I had my shelf made out of cardboard. That’s how I envisioned and came up with MinkeeBlue.”

Mosee continued to do research expanding her search to manufacturing and patents while connecting with other inventors. She now holds two patents for the Minkeeblue design.

“I knew that if I was going to go into the handbag industry, that I needed to differentiate the bag from everything else on the market,” Mosee said. “I wanted to figure out what I needed to do that. For the patent, it was really about the shelf. What differentiates Minkeeblue from everything else on the market is the shelf. My lunch bag can go in here and when I’m not using it, I can put my shoes here or a change of clothes. I have the shelf in the middle of the bag and if I wanted to, I could open it up, convert it and use it as a big tote bag like we normally carry.”

Mosee learned how to create a provisional patent, and then hired a patent attorney to help with the rest of the process. It took an additional three years for the patent for Minkeeblue to come back. After hitting the ground running, Minkeeblue caught the attention of the shoppable live competition TV show, “America’s Big Deal.” She won the competition, which resulted in a partnership between Minkeeblue and Macy’s.

“I really just happened to get an email one day,” Mosee said. “I saw the opportunity and said ‘This looks like a great fit for Minkeeblue.’ “America’s Big Deal” is a live competition in front of America. I had two minutes to pitch and demonstrate Minkeeblue. There were four people pitching their product. You had to sell $30,000 worth of product during that time. Whoever sold the most out of that went to the next step, which means you’re in front of three judges. The judges were QVC, HSN, Lowes and Macy’s. Since I went to the next step, now they’re vying for you saying, ‘We’ll give you a certain amount of money to be in our store or retailer. I chose Macy’s and I won a $100,000 purchase order to be in Macy’s.’”

That incredible win continues to open up amazing doors for Mosee and Minkeeblue. It is currently available in 10 Macy’s stores across the country and is also available for purchase online. Mosee continues to expand her clientele with her, “Can your bag do this?” videos, where she shows viewers why MinkeeBlue goes above and beyond to ensure that their bags offer adequate space. Although Mosee’s path to success came with its fair share of challenges, she encourages other inspiring entrepreneurs to stay the course.

“It’s been really challenging and there have been days where I just wanted to give up, but it’s about perseverance… keep pushing,” she said. “Learn from your mistakes, because had I stopped years ago, had I given up, I would’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities along the way. The opportunities only come after you keep pushing and persevering.”

Minkeeblue is available at select Macy’s stores and online at: www.macys.com. Minkeeblue bags are also available at www.minkeeblue.com. Also, be sure to follow Minkeeblue across social media platforms @minkeeblue.

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