The Perfect Work Tote Designed By Dagne Dover

Melissa Mash, Co-founder and CEO of Dagne Dover, a luxury handbag company based in New York, struggled with finding a tote bag that fit her lifestyle. As a professional mid-twenties, on-the-go metropolitan woman, she needed something that held all the essentials in a smart way. A Longchamp bag was too unprofessional looking, and the typical Prada and Louis Vuitton purses were too flashy for professional use. Out of her long struggle came Dagne Dover, a luxury handbag line designed for the modern working woman. Its signature tote has a design so smart, it’s practically intuitive.


Melissa’s unique background helped shape her decision to start her own company. She went to NYU for undergrad and always knew she wanted to work in fashion. To make sure she was exposed to all the different sub-fields of fashion, Melissa took lots of types of internships. After college, she was hired at COACH as an Account Associate, working on their wholesale businesses at Macy’s and Bloomgdale’s. She was then recruited to move to London and worked with COACH as they were opening their first UK/EU location. She managed everything in that location – from the team, to the buy of the products, to the visual merchandising and operations.

Some of her inspiration behind Dagne Dover’s products came from seeing what type of products sold best through her work experience at COACH. Bags with a lot of pockets or bags that had components for organization were always the most popular.

After working on her idea, she brought on two partners, Deepa Gandhi (Co-founder and COO) and Jessy Dover (Co-founder and Creative Director) to help head her ambitious company. All three young entrepreneurs have complementing backgrounds. Deepa was a year behind Melissa in business school and had operational experience from Club Monaco. Jessy had won design competitions at COACH and while she was studying at Parson’s School of Design. Melissa’s advice for young entrepreneurs was to make sure you have a great team. It’s expensive in time and money to start a business, so it helps to have help!

Other advice Melissa had was to make sure you know the industry and make sure you have an expertise in the product/service you are creating. Dagne Dover has yet to do any formal advertising, outside of social media, and the products are so superior that they are having trouble keeping inventory in stock. Finding an area where there was a need for a product, and having expertise in the area helped Dagne Dover’s founders create an amazingly successful brand.


Being a young company, and not having the budget or manpower to invest into formal marketing through ads in magazines, social media has been a huge part of the marketing plan. Dagne Dover remains extremely active on and and allows users to use hashtags that are then uploaded onto the website. Being a social media and tech friendly company has help the consumers spread the word.

Dagne Dover started on day one for the people by the people. The girls were just looking for a solution, pretty average needs in terms of asking for what they needed out of a handbag, and they created an intuitive product. The new line has launched and is available for order through the website.


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