By Graziella DiNuzzo
Sherrill Mosee’s mother was a young teenage mom with a desire to go to college. “She was accepted to the University of Penn but my grandmother said she couldn’t go. She said she couldn’t afford to keep the baby and go to school,” explains Mosee. The reality of her mother’s lost life opportunity would become the catalyst for Sherrill’s life journey.
When Sherrill was laid off from her engineering job at Lockheed Martin, she decided it was time to follow her desire to help women succeed by finding solutions to life obstacles.
In 1998, Sherrill formed Family Care Solutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting higher education among low-income women with children. More specifically, Sherrill’s organization awarded over $3 million in childcare scholarships to help women stay in school while earning a college degree. “We supported over 500 student parents and had a ninety percent graduation rate,” boasts Sherrill. “Today, these moms are accountants, teachers, business owners and more. I get invited to their children’s weddings and graduations.”
“Unfortunately, when the economy crashed in 2008, I lost a lot of government funding and had to close my doors to the nonprofit,” explains Sherrill. “However, I was committed to supporting those students who were already in the program until they all graduated. It was during my time working with the moms that I noticed them struggling with their book bag and diaper bag. I was also doing the same thing, commuting to work while carrying my purse, laptop, lunch bag, and shoes in a plastic grocery bag.”
Photo credit: Tracy Glover
Plato is credited for the famous proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” No doubt, MinkeeBlue’s birth in 2014 filled a great need.
“I originally started designing diaper bags because of my work with student moms and I wanted the name Pinky Blue but the domain was taken. I liked the sound of Pinky Blue so I literally went through the alphabet and landed on M for MinkeeBlue,” laughs Sherrill.
MinkeeBlue bags are designed to fit everything a woman will need to get through her busy life - from morning through night, and all in style.
Visit the MinkeeBlue website and you will see several videos of Sherrill demonstrating how easily everything fits into one stylish tote or backpack. You name it and it all fits neatly and accessibly - laptop, small purse, shoes, lunch bag, and a jacket, with seemingly room to spare. See Video.
“My engineering degree provided the training to guide my critical and analytical thinking. It also helped me to design the structural folding shelf in the middle of the bag to withstand the weight of objects without collapsing. I’ve been issued two patents for the functionality,” says Sherrill.
\MinkeeBlue was nurtured at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator giving Sherrill access to Wharton business experts and fashion business luminaries.
Elissa Bloom is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s. “Every year we select designers who are interested in taking their product to the next level by offering a year-long designers-in-residence program. We connect designers with education, resources and business strategies to grow their brands. Sherrill had a very unique product – we are always looking for designers that have a unique value proposition.”
Over the course of a year, the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator helped facilitate the connections Sherrill needed to move to the next level. “We connected her to The Workshop at Macy’s in NYC, which teaches women and Minority Owned Businesses how to sell to retail,” explains Bloom. “Sherrill was also given office space at String Theory Charter School.”
“It’s so great working out of String Theory,” says Sherrill. I get to work with High School students, teaching them about entrepreneurship and sharing my experience as a business owner in exchange for the office space. The students apply for social media internship opportunities with MinkeeBlue. It’s a great opportunity to work with students again.”
Sherrill took advantage of every opportunity to grow, including entering the reality TV show, America’s Big Deal.
“I got an email about a new show created by Joy Mangano, the founder of the Miracle Mop. The show highlighted small business owners who had an opportunity to make a two-minute pitch. There were four contestants and whoever sold the most products during the show advanced to the next level. I won!” exclaims Sherrill.
Sherrill’s winnings amounted to a $100,000 purchase order from Macy’s. “I was on the premier show in October 2021 and won the first pitch competition. Things just lined up,” says Sherrill.
MinkeeBlue is now available for purchase in ten Macy’s stores and online. Sherrill was on hand at Macy’s Herald Square on December 2, 2022 to greet her new customers and answer questions.
MinkeeBlue has been featured on the Today Show, the Katie Couric Show and QVC. “She has the drive and perseverance to succeed in the fashion industry,” adds Bloom.
In August 2022, Sherrill received an email and a survey inviting her to participate in the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia’s signature event, “Bringing the World 2 PA.” Every year, the WTCGP arranges meetings with export ready Southeastern PA companies and Authorized Trade Representatives who work and live in various markets around the globe.
“Sherrill was great at following-up. I received her survey and she requested to meet with several representatives,” says Dale Foote, WTCGP Trade Specialist. “On September 12th, Sherrill spent the day in several meetings, and we now have work orders in process with Canada, Mexico, Australia, the UK, Czech Republic and India.”
“I first learned about the services offered by the WTCGP while attending a workshop offered by Small Business Development Center at Temple University,” says Sherrill. “While I sell direct to consumers online and have customers from all around the world, I am looking forward to securing a distributor in a global market.”
Sherrill admits that her road to entrepreneurial success hasn’t always been easy, “but nothing beats a failure but a try," her mother would always say.
BASSETT'S ICE CREAM PRESS RELEASE
Bassett’s Ice Cream Company, a fifth-generation family business since 1861, has successfully opened its first store in Seoul, South Korea and is now looking for opening 30 additional stores within this year. Bassett’s Ice Cream, located in Philadelphia, is a full-service frozen dessert distributor, offering over 100 flavors.
OIBD’s Korea Office has been working together with Bassetts’ Ice Cream-Korea Office since 2016 to meet with the local rules and regulations in Korea, including its manufacturing facility registration at the Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. On June 7th, the delegation from Pennsylvania DCED, City of Philadelphia, Team Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Orchestra attended the grand opening of the first store of Bassett Ice Cream.
Bassett’s Ice Cream Korea targets for opening additional 15 stores nationwide by the end of August to fulfill the demands of Korean consumers’ premium ice cream, which will certainly increase the shipments from Philadelphia, PA to South Korea. Read More
*Picture: Grand Opening ceremony on June 7th, there are several recognizable people attended to celebrate a new journey for Bassett’s Korea. Michael Strange (President of Bassett’s Ice Cream), the City of Philadelphia (Harold Epps – Deputy Mayor for Commerce and Sylvie Howard), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania OIBD (Ken Yang and Mike O’Rourke), Team Pennsylvania Foundation (Lindsay Helsel), the Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S Embassy in Seoul (Lynn Larrabe – Director)
Photo: Seated: Gary Biehn, Chairman, WTCGP and Dai Sheng Guo, Vice Chairman, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Tianjin Sub-Council China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), signing MOU on June 1, 2017
Standing from L to R: Samuel Chueh, Manager, International Business Investment, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; Haibo Li, Winners; Lauren Swartz, Senior Director, International Business Investment, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia; Steven Bradley, President and CE0, Bradley and Bradley Associates; Fengling Wu, Director, CCPIT; Zhang Peng, Secretary General, WTC Tianjin; Liu Shanshan (Elsa), International Liaison Director, CCPIT, WTC Tianjin
It’s official! The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia has signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with World Trade Center of Tianjin China. Chairman, Gary Biehn traveled to Tianjin, China to sign the agreement on our behalf.
This is the power of the World Trade Center network!
We look forward to reporting many success stories!
Graziella DiNuzzo, WTCGP Director of Marketing and Communications, sat down with Chairman Gary Biehn to ask a few questions.
Why Tianjin, China?
Philadelphia and Tianjin share a long-standing tradition of business and cultural exchange dating back to the Sister City Agreement signed between Philadelphia and Tianjin in 1979. In June 2016, a delegation from Tianjin visited with WTCGP China Club members to explore opportunities for cooperation to expand trade and investment between Tianjin and the Binhai New Area and Greater Philadelphia. With the growing need for advanced medical care in China and the interest of Chinese students to attend U.S. colleges and universities, promising sectors identified included health (including medical tourism) and higher education, both strengths of the Greater Philadelphia Region. In addition, Tianjin delegation officials agreed to assist WTCGP member companies in accessing and facilitating business connections and opportunities in Tianjin. Vice Chairman of WTC Tianjin, Zhang Tiejun concluded the meeting by extending a personal invitation to the City and Greater Philadelphia Region to visit Tianjin and the Binhai New Area. This included the possibility of a 2017 trade mission to Sister City, Tianjin, organized by the City of Philadelphia.
Which members of the City of Philadelphia Trade Mission to Tianjin accompanied you to the signing?
The City of Philadelphia Commerce Department: Lauren Swartz, Senior Director of International Investment and
Samuel Chueh, Director of International Investment
Citizens Diplomacy International: Siobhan Lyons, President and CEO
Bradley and Bradley Insurance: Steven Bradley, President and CEO and WTCGP Board Member
What does the MOU represent for WTCGP members and clients?
The World Trade Center, Tianjin (WTCT) will serve as a gateway to the Tianjin and China marketplace for WTCGP members and client companies by connecting its member companies with WTCGP clients and members. Particular focus for business to business collaboration will be in the fields of: healthcare, higher education, legal services, food industry, aviation, petrochemicals, automobiles, metalworking and medical device sector.
What does the business landscape look like in Tianjin?
Located in the Northern Coast of China, Tianjin is the fourth largest municipality with a total population of more than 15 million people. Tianjin is a hub city for international shipping and logistics, manufacturing and research and development. Created in 2009, Tianjin Binhai New Area was designated by the Chinese government as a special Free Trade Zone. Binhai has an international seaport, and an international airport and is a 33-minute high-speed train ride from Beijing. There are 141 Global 500 companies with operations in the Binhai New Area.
As Partner and Chair of China Business Group and International Group for White and Williams, LLP, how do you view the potential for Greater Philadelphia businesses in the Chinese market?
Over the past fifteen years, I have traveled to China on a regular basis, and have visited Tianjin on many occasions dating back to 2002. The economic development in Tianjin is extraordinary. Through the assistance of CDI and our Sister City program, White and Williams maintains a strong strategic alliance with Tianjin-based Winners Law Firm, now dating back seven years. This is the type of cooperation we envision between member companies of the WTCGP and Tianjin WTC. We had very productive conversations with the leadership of the Tianjin WTC during our June 1st meetings and we are working on several pilot business opportunities between our respective members. With the strong Sister City relationship between Philadelphia and Tianjin, it is quite fitting that the WTCGP is moving forward in strengthening the business relationship with Tianjin WTC. We are optimistic that this will lead to further commercial opportunities for the Greater Philadelphia region.
In early June, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, represented by board chairman Gary Biehn, signed into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with WTC Tianjin. The MOU will create a framework of cooperation which will seek to expand trade and investment in targeted sectors of opportunity, including healthcare, higher education, legal services, aviation, petrochemicals, metalworking, and the medical device sector.
As reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal:
Biehn said the agreement is the culmination of a visit from Tianjin officials last June and a reciprocal visit in January in which the two sides talked about synergies among membership companies in areas such as health care, education, and legal and financial services. The deal will put Philadelphia on the map when the roughly 2,000 Tianjin WTA member companies that are looking for U.S. business opportunities.
Trade mission yields reciprocal visit from Chinese firm considering Phila. for U.S. HQ
News from VideoRay
VideoRay has just completed the delivery and training of the largest fleet of Mission Specialist Systems (MSS) to the Indian Navy. This system, built to custom and exacting specifications, was a prime example of the flexibility inherent in the implementation of Mission Specialist vehicles. Final delivery acceptance and training occurred in March.
Read More / VideoRay News Feed (via videoray.com)
WTC REVIEW | PHILADELPHIA SUMMER 2017
Follow WTCGP updates, member highlights, trade and event announcements, special reports, and more with the latest WTC Review.
On May 18th, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported that the Philadelphia Department of Commerce will be participating in a three week trade and investment mission to Asia beginning May 23rd.
On June 2, 2016, the WTCGP hosted a meeting at White and Williams, for a delegation of 7 officials from World Trade Center Tianjin, China. Eric Cao, WTC Tianjin Executive Director and Deputy Division Chief, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and Zhang Tiejun, Deputy Director, People’s Government of Tianjin Binhai New Area, set in place the initial steps to explore expanded trade and investment opportunities between Tianjin, the Binhai New Area and Greater Philadelphia. Participants included WTCGP members and leaders of Philadelphia’s international business organizations. Located in northern coastal China, Tianjin is the fourth largest municipality with a total population of more than 15 million people. Tianjin is a hub city for international shipping and logistics, manufacturing and research, and development. Created in 2009, Tianjin Binhai New Area is located in the coastal region of the Tianjin municipality. Designated by the Chinese government as a special Free Trade Zone, Binhai has an international seaport, and an international airport and is a 33-minute high-speed train ride from Beijing. There are 141 Global 500 companies with operations in Binhai New Area.
Our hats are off not only to Dan Fitzpatrick and our honorees, DFT Inc. and Destination Maternity, but also to all of you who supported us! Thank you!
Now how do we top this?
After September 11, 2001, the World Trade Centers Association, in cooperation with the United Nations, chartered a day to be recognized around the world as "World Trade Centers Day." Each year, the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia organizes an evening to celebrate the global achievements of regional companies and the contribution to economic growth and prosperity made by World Trade Centers throughout the globe. Past Honorees and Celebrations
THANK YOU TO OUR WORLD TRADE CENTERS DAY 2017 SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS!
Wine & Spirits
Member Company Sunhillo Corporation, of West Berlin, Camden County, was rated #11 in NJBIZ's 2017 ranking of the best small to medium sized companies to work at in NJ. As a global leader in surveillance data distribution and conversion products, Sunhillo Corporation has also been successful in keeping its employees happy since opening for business in 1991. Having grown to a team of just over fifty staff members, the firm recognizes that the best way to reward loyalty and performance is through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Plus, the company offers flexible work hours, holiday bonuses, recognition programs and community initiatives. View Rankings (njbiz.com)