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Transcript and Notes from Design Tank featuring Melinda Peters Elliott's presentation of the MEbag










Transcript and Notes from Design Tank featuring Melinda Peters Elliott's presentation of the MEbag


Transcript and Notes from a LIVE Zoom Session

Date: 6/12/2024

Featuring: Melinda Peters Elliott

Company: The ME Bag

Website: mebagpro.com

Facebook: MEBag Pro


Watch the Zoom Video: Watch Now


 


Welcome to Design Tank, a unique platform dedicated to fostering innovation and collaboration within the design community. Founded by Joseph Haecker, Design Tank is inspired by the successful model of 1 Million Cups, a renowned tech/startup event series held in major cities across the United States. Joseph, a former high-end custom lighting designer, serial tech startup founder, design industry podcast host, and editor-in-chief, has a deep passion for building community, creating opportunities for engagement, and promoting critical thinking within the design industry.


Design Tank offers designers, manufacturers, and industry professionals a valuable space to present their ideas, gain real-time feedback, and connect with fellow creatives. Each biweekly event features one or two presenters who have six minutes to showcase their concept or product, followed by a 20-minute feedback session from the audience. This format not only provides presenters with diverse insights and perspectives but also encourages a collaborative environment where the design community can thrive together.



In this session, we are thrilled to have Melinda Peters Elliott as our featured presenter. Melinda, an interior designer with over 30 years of experience, is the inventor of the ME Bag, a revolutionary product designed to streamline and organize the tools and resources interior designers need during out-of-the-office appointments. The ME Bag, a brainchild that took Melinda over 15 years to perfect, addresses the common challenges designers face when trying to maintain professionalism and organization while on the go.


The ME Bag is a heavy-duty nylon bag with over 50 pockets, elastic compartments, and dedicated spaces for various design tools and samples. It is designed to be the ultimate solution for designers who often find themselves unprepared for client appointments, helping them stay organized and impress clients with their preparedness. Melinda's invention not only solves a significant problem for designers but also sets them apart from others in the industry by enhancing their professionalism and efficiency.


In this presentation, Melinda will share the journey of developing the ME Bag, its features, and the challenges she faces in marketing and promoting it. She seeks feedback and insights from the Design Tank community to help her navigate the next steps in bringing the ME Bag to a wider audience.


Now, let's dive into the session with Melinda Peters Elliott and discover how the ME Bag can revolutionize the way interior designers work.



 

Transcript

Watch the Zoom Video: Watch Now


Joseph Haecker (Design Tank Host): And then we'll have about 20 minutes for feedback and insights for Melinda. Melinda, thank you so much for joining us in the Design Tank.


Melinda Peters Elliott (Inventor of the ME Bag): Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here, and it's always fun to share. I have been working on this ME Bag for probably 15 years now. It's something that was kind of a brainchild to myself in the middle of the night, trying to figure out how to solve some problems for myself, which I'll get into during the presentation—how it happened and how this came to be. What kind of feedback am I looking for? I think that I need help figuring out how to market the bag and who I should present this to. I've been to the Design Influencers Conference and had a booth there. I did the Window Coverings Show in Cincinnati last year and had a booth there too. It’s very hard because it's a product, so it's not something that's very easy to figure out exactly where it needs to go, who needs to see it. I've done the Facebook page and a website, but I need some help getting the word out. That's basically where it comes down to.


Joseph Haecker (Host): Okay, so now we’ve got our thinking caps on. Feel free to share with us the details.


Melinda Peters Elliott: Okay, great. All right, guys. Hello, good afternoon, good morning, wherever you’re joining from. I'm Melinda Elliott. I'm a fellow interior designer and the proud inventor of the ME Bag, a game-changing product that is going to revolutionize your out-of-the-office appointments. Let's face it, we have unique challenges as interior designers, carrying around and lugging samples and tools to all of our appointments. How many times have you arrived at your appointment ready to impress, only to realize that you took your measuring tape out of your bag about a week ago and didn’t put it back in? You’re at the client's house and you need to measure for furniture. That’s the situation I kept finding myself in, and it’s very embarrassing. It’s embarrassing that I wouldn’t have my tools and my samples and be organized and ready to go for each appointment. So, that’s where the birth of this bag took place. I was trying to solve the situation for myself to make myself look more professional and more organized, and I have the ultimate solution. After years, like I said, 15 years of figuring out what I needed to take to each appointment and how those items were all going to be organized in a manner that I could find them very quickly, I designed the ultimate solution. It’s called the ME Bag. It is designed by me, Melinda Elliott—that’s what M.E. stands for—and it is truly a game-changer.


I have found that over the last five years when I've had my bag, I would go to a house and they would ask me for paint samples when I was there to measure for window treatments. I would go to an appointment and I would need to take a note about the size of the window or the size of the room for measuring for carpet, but I wouldn’t have my measuring tape. So, what I did was design a bag that would have specific pockets, sleeves, and places to put things that I would need, possibly, or maybe not, but I might need them. I took the bag, deconstructed it, and made it into what you might call a Mary Poppins bag for interior designers. It’s a magnificent creation, and it has had amazing reviews. People just love it because you can actually put your favorite resources inside the bag. In a minute, I will explain to you all of the different pieces of this and show you through the bag. It is functional, and it sets you apart from other designers who are not prepared for appointments. It really does impress the customers that you are truly organized. As a designer, we need ways to set us apart from others, and you need anything you can get to figure that out. If you come prepared to your appointment, you’re probably going to sell more because you have all the resources you need.


Basically, the advantages of my bag—this is the ME Bag. This is my own ME Bag. I have filled it and put all kinds of things in it. It is a heavy-duty nylon bag; you can beat this thing up, throw it in the car. I keep mine in the car all the time. It has over 50 pockets throughout this whole thing, but you would never know, would you? This is the perfect size for an airline carry-on as well. It’s the biggest size bag that you can carry on. I have heavy-duty rounded handles. I've got a zipper that is heavy-duty and goes all the way around, totally opening up the bag so you can have all of your tools ready to go for all appointments. It’s hard for me to show all of the details, but I have, like I said, filled this bag with things that I need when I go to my appointments. There are hidden pockets throughout, different places for measuring devices, pens, pencils. I have tools for going around corners. I have business cards in a sleeve here. I have paper clips, post-it notes, tape lining samples, zipper colors, a chart that tells me a snack bag for drape. Again, this is what I need at my appointment. The center section has straps where you can strap in as many paint decks as you can get. I’ve even got this for drapery hardware poles and finials.


This is the page that has elastic pockets, and inside these pockets, I have things like lining samples, drapery hardware catalogs, and all kinds of different things that a client might need. You have it pre-packed with all your favorite vendors. This is the last page, and it’s hard for me to show you, but I have tools in here: furniture sliders, hammers, nails, a grout chart because I always forget the grout chart. In the back, there is a place where you can put your iPad or a laptop computer, but in this one, I have rug pad samples and wallpaper swatches. Basically, all of this is in one bag that zips up and stays with you at all times. Keep it in your car. Like I said, it has a heavy-duty zipper that completely opens up on your client’s table. There are no wheels or anything on this, so it’s not dirty or disgusting. You can personalize your bag with your own logo, just put a patch over the top of this. I put this scarf on the handle for a more designer look. It’s nothing, just one of those things that I don’t know how people do without it because all the tote bags people have, they look like a mess inside. I’m sure over time, it is one of those things that will pay for itself probably in the first appointment. It’s a one-time investment. It’s $249, and we have them in stock. You are not going to have disappearing items and disorganization when you are in the field. This is going to set you apart, and you are really going to thank me because this is a one-of-a-kind product. There’s nothing else like it on the market, and I am very proud of it and excited to share it with the world. So, that’s the ME Bag.


Joseph Haecker (Host): That was a wonderful presentation.



Transcript and Notes from a LIVE Zoom Session

Date: 6/12/2024

Featuring: Melinda Peters Elliott

Company: The ME Bag

Website: mebagpro.com

Facebook: MEBag Pro


Watch the Zoom Video: Watch Now


 

Feedback and Insights: Embracing Innovation in Design


Melinda Peters Elliott's presentation of the ME Bag is a compelling example of how addressing a specific need within an industry can lead to the creation of innovative, game-changing products. The ME Bag, designed to streamline and organize the myriad tools and resources that interior designers need during out-of-the-office appointments, parallels the evolution of specialized backpacks in other industries, such as photography, camping, and travel.


Consider the development of photography backpacks, which are meticulously designed to protect and organize cameras, lenses, and accessories. These backpacks were born out of a clear need: photographers required a durable, accessible, and organized way to carry their expensive and delicate equipment. Brands like Lowepro and Peak Design recognized this need and crafted products that cater specifically to photographers, enhancing their efficiency and mobility.


Similarly, the camping and travel industry has seen the rise of specialized backpacks designed to meet the unique needs of adventurers. Cotopaxi, for example, creates backpacks that are not only functional and durable but also socially responsible. Their backpacks feature thoughtful designs that include compartments for gear, hydration systems, and easy accessibility, addressing the specific demands of outdoor enthusiasts. Cotopaxi's commitment to social impact, with each product supporting various humanitarian causes, further exemplifies how innovation can also drive positive change.


Santa Cruz backpacks also provide an excellent parallel. These backpacks, originally designed for surfers and skaters, evolved to meet the specific needs of their target audience. They are built to withstand harsh conditions, carry boards and wetsuits, and provide practical solutions for active lifestyles. By focusing on the unique requirements of their users, Santa Cruz created products that are both highly functional and beloved by their community.


Melinda's ME Bag is no different in its approach. By addressing the specific challenges that interior designers face—such as the need to carry samples, tools, and resources in an organized and professional manner—Melinda has created a product that can significantly enhance the efficiency and professionalism of designers. The ME Bag’s thoughtful design, with over 50 pockets, elastic compartments, and dedicated spaces for various tools, mirrors the specialized functionality seen in photography and adventure backpacks.


This innovation within the design community is critical. It not only solves immediate problems but also sets a precedent for further advancements and creativity within the industry. The design community and manufacturers of home goods and accessories should rally behind creatives and inventors like Melinda. Supporting such initiatives fosters a culture of innovation and problem-solving that can drive the entire industry forward.


Call to Action

The design industry thrives on creativity and innovation. By supporting products like the ME Bag, we can inspire more solutions tailored to the unique challenges faced by interior designers. Let’s come together as a community to back these inventive minds and promote an environment where new ideas can flourish. Manufacturers of home goods and accessories, in particular, have a vital role to play in championing these innovations.


Join us in supporting designers like Melinda Peters Elliott. Let’s encourage the development of products that enhance our professional lives and solve the unique problems we encounter daily. Together, we can create a more innovative, efficient, and collaborative design industry.


For more information on how you can get involved, present, or host a Design Tank event, visit www.josephhaecker.com/designtank.


Let’s continue to foster a culture of creativity and support within our community!






Joseph Haecker

Founder of Design Tank


For more information about presenting, being a guest, sponsorship or hosting local chapters at your showroom, retail space or event, click the link:





Transcript and Notes from a LIVE Zoom Session

Date: 6/12/2024

Featuring: Melinda Peters Elliott

Company: The ME Bag

Website: mebagpro.com

Facebook: MEBag Pro


Watch the Zoom Video: Watch Now



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