Anita Crook’s entrepreneurial journey began at an age when most people are retiring. For most of her adult life, she was was a stay-at-home mom to her two sons, a volunteer worker, and a ministry leader. But on Christmas Eve in 2004, she received a gift that inspired her to start what is now a multimillion dollar business. That evening, her oldest son gave her a stylish shoulder bag that she loved but knew she would never use because it had no pockets. For Crook (and countless other women), compartments in bags are very important as they keep various personal belongings within easy reach and prevent them from bouncing around. Crook herself would spend days looking for the right purse with all the right pockets, and once she has organized her things she doesn’t switch purses even if it clashed with her outfit. In her own words, it was “just way too much trouble” to transfer and rearrange her stuff in another bag.
Crook thought there had to be a way to stay organized and change purses. She looked in stores and websites but came up empty, so she began sketching ideas and Pouchee was born. The ultimate purse organizer, Pouchee is specifically designed to fit inside purses and has compartments for cell phones, pens, sunglasses, credit cards, and more. A handy ring allows it to be lifted out of a bag and into a new one easily, so women can change bags for different outfits and occasions in mere seconds.
Now 66 years old, Crook is “still having a ball, organizing women one purse at a time.” Pouchees are currently sold in nearly 1,600 stores in the US and Canada. But the grandmother of four is not slowing down any time soon. “We have a number of new products in the works,” she says. “I love to solve problems.”