Getting the Most Out of Life: A Q&A with Dagne Dover's Co-Founders Melissa Mash, Jessy Dover, and Deepa Gandhi

Brands x Better is a coalition of like-minded companies fostering stability in a time of crisis. We asked 10 members of the Brands x Better family a few questions about what they do, why they were drawn to BxB, and what this pandemic has meant to their company. Dagne Dover makes bags for humans wanting to get the most of our life. We caught up with Co-Founders Melissa Mash, Deepa Gandhi, and Jessy Dover to learn more about what their company stands for, where the Dagne Dover came from and how they are giving back during this global pandemic. Here's what they had to say. 

 

Tell us how Dagne Dover came to be. What is your origin story? 

I had spent the early part of my career in handbags, and in my latest role at Coach, I was in charge of turning around their first store in Europe. The store was located at Heathrow Terminal 5, and in many ways, the terminal was a microcosm of the world. It had many of the long-standing European luxury brands like Prada, Gucci and Dior, while also showcasing affordable luxury brands like Michael Kors and Longchamp. People would come into the Coach store looking for a bag that could store and protect the thousands of dollars worth of tech they were carrying around. They also wanted a bag that looked great, was well-priced and made of performance materials since life is messy, and being stuck in the rain or spilling a glass of wine on a bag shouldn’t mean that it’s ruined forever. After hearing this feedback from customers, I wanted to create a brand that could speak to the on-the-go, multi-faceted lifestyle of people who are running to the gym, to work, and then to catch a flight with their family. 

  • Melissa Mash, CEO and cofounder

 

What are Dagne Dover’s core values? Do you have a mission statement? If so, what is it? 

Our core values: 

  • Confident

  • Performance-Focused + Problem Solving

  • Honest + Real

  • Organized + Thoughtful

Our Mission: 

We design bags for humans getting the most out of life. We’ve got real jobs, real problems, real budgets, real families, real friends, and real lives. We design performance products for people doing the same. 

  • Jessy Dover, Creative Director and cofounder 

 

At Rhone we talk a lot about our customer’s pursuit of progress. How do you feel like you as a company help your customer progress?  DEEPA

At Dagne, we believe in equipping our customers so that they feel like they’ve got this. Over the years, we have introduced collections that address the ever-evolving life of our customer. We hope that he or she can grow with us. In the end, we try to anticipate their needs so that we’re there when they need us.

  • Deepa Gandhi, COO and cofounder 

What motivated you to join Brands x Better? 

During a time like this, we believe that it is of utmost importance to prioritize supporting our community but to also facilitate a coalition of brands that believe in the same ethos in order to amplify the impact that each brand would have individually. This is a time for everyone to come together to help the greater good and do better.

  • Deepa Gandhi, COO and cofounder 

 

As a member of Brands x Better, you have pledged to donate a portion of your proceeds. What charity are you donating to and how and why did you choose that charity? 

We have a really wide customer base of people who stretch every age, profession, gender and stage of life. Because of that, we wanted to give our customers the option to choose one of three organizations their donation would support. We chose to offer Feeding America, The CDC Foundation, and Save The Children, as all three organizations do amazing work on the international, national and local levels. Covid-19 affects so many people in so many different ways, and these organizations reflect much of the impact that is being felt right now.

  • Melissa Mash, CEO and cofounder 

 

If you had one piece of advice to give to young entrepreneurs what would you say to them?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately considering the state of the world. I recommend considering what absolute integrity means for yourself and your company. What I mean by this is to identify your core beliefs in great detail, and clearly state what your vision is, no matter how silly you might feel or how obvious you think it is. After that, I think it is equally important to consider what your vision is NOT, and list out the things that you will never do, or don’t want to be a part of. As you grow and evolve, you will be faced with many questions, opportunities, and tough decisions. If you know what is best for yourself and your company, and do not compromise under any circumstance, it will make the journey more enjoyable, and ensure a destination that you can be proud of. Some might call this focus. Whatever you call it, we have always operated with a very specific vision, and clear belief system, and it has always steered us in the right direction. 

  • Jessy Dover, Creative Director and cofounder 

 

What’s one of the hardest obstacles you’ve overcome as a company and how did it shape what your company is today?

The hardest obstacle has been prioritizing quality over quantity. We believe that it is better to focus on long-term goals vs quick wins which means you have to find the right investors, team members and partners who believe in the same things. We are a lean, scrappy and resilient team so finding the right people to support us was tough but once we did, it was worth the wait.

  • Deepa Gandhi, COO and cofounder 

 

What’s one takeaway you’ve had as a company during this recent pandemic? What’s your favorite product you’ve ever made and why? 

The world will never cease to surprise us and shake us. We were getting ready to open our store in Soho, launch our SS20 season, and dive into the design of our lifestyle collections launching next year. With so much excitement in the air, hearing that the world was shutting down, fearing for the lives of our partners in China(and here), and learning of sick friends and family, stopped us in our tracks. It was devastating. Processing all of this on a personal level is challenging, and then having the business to think about on top of that was next level overwhelming. The mindset we take in times of crisis is to release our need to control the situation, see where we can make an impact, and just keep moving. I always tell people to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have been able to adjust gracefully through a lot of work, and a ton of flexibility, and acknowledging that there was a beautiful opportunity to help people in need by creating our Brands for Better campaign with Rhone. However, there is no denying that this has truly changed our lives, our world, and our company.

 

What is your favorite product you've ever made?

It’s hard to name a favorite product, but my most recent obsession is my Mara phone sling. It is the perfect hands-free bag that truly helped me transition to this new lifestyle we find ourselves in! It holds my phone, keys, airpods, and wallet while being super casual, which is great for this new wfh life we’re living. During this time of building new routines, and for some of us, being in new places, it is easy to get disoriented and find yourself looking all over the house for your phone and keys, and other things you once had a system for keeping track of. Having my essentials in the Mara has helped me stay organized, and have one less thing to worry about each day. :) 

  • Jessy Dover, Creative Director and cofounder 

 

What’s the origin of the name Dagne Dover?

Dagne means “new dawn” and Dover is Jessy Dover’s last name.

 

Instagram: @dagnedover

Website: www.dagnedover.com

 

 

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