FOF Anita Crook is giving away three of her Pouchees–a purse organizer that allows you to switch bags without ever forgetting anything! Enter to win by answering this question in the comments below: What item do you always lose in your purse?
On Christmas Day in 2004, Anita Crook received a gift that would change her life. “My son gave me a really good looking designer purse for Christmas,” says Anita. “It was wonderful, except that it had no pockets, and I knew I would never wear it.” But instead of returning her Christmas gift, Anita searched high and low for a bag organizer that she could put inside her fabulous new bag, but came up empty-handed. “I couldn’t find anything that I felt was a good design to organize bags,” says Anita, “and I thought, why not just design one?”
Anita and her entrepreneurial husband, brainstormed a name for the new invention. “I still think I have the napkin where I scribbled names,” says Anita. “We were thinking about was how the product would be like a ‘pouch’ just with pockets! We both felt that Pouchee perfectly expressed the fun aspect of the product we had designed.” Anita got in touch with someone that designed purses and had them manufactured overseas. She helped Anita create the first 200 Pouchee prototypes.
“I was so scared,” says Anita, “The closer it got to the day that those Pouchees were supposed arrive I just didn’t know what I was going to do with them.” Anita thought long and hard about where the Pouchee would best be received, and decided on smaller gift boutiques. “I started calling [boutiques] and going to local ones, showing them my Pouchees. It was a success,” says Anita. “Everywhere I went, they bought them, and would call me back within days to reorder.”
Despite her success, Anita was hesitant about keeping her inventory stocked. “The first sales meeting we had was with the group the Wolf Company, which had been in the gift industry for quite some time. They were quite sure that we had a great product, and when they discovered that I only had 5,000 pouchees coming in they knew that wouldn’t be enough, and they were right!” says Anita. “That’s been a big challenge — keeping my inventory, but now we have about a hundred thousand stocked.”
Since that first business meeting in 2005, Anita has sold thousands of Pouchees. They’re in over 2,000 retail stores around the country, and sold overseas. Pouchees have been featured on the set of hit shows like The Doctors, and major magazines like Good Housekeeping and InStyle. They come in five different styles, each are available in 4-12 different colors and patterns, and Anita still has plans to expand the Pouchee line. “We have a posh line thats made out of printed fabric I’ve designed myself launching soon,” says Anita.
“It just makes it a lot easier [to find everything],” says Anita. “You don’t have to waste time looking for all your stuff, and I think people over fifty really appreciate that. Their time is valuable and they like being able to find what they want when they want it.”
Enter to win an “Outback Pouchee” in black by answering this question in the comments below: What item do you always lose in your purse?