Maptote: Unintentional Entrepreneurs


NO. 17


Unintentional Entrepreneurs


While some couples start planning their wedding within the first few weeks of dating, Rachel Rheingold and Michael Berick imagined a different kind of commitment: starting a business. And while Rheingold and Berick would also have marriage and children in their future, the former stylist and cartographer were inspired to start their company Maptote after a 2006 trip to Germany, where the tote bag craze that would later sweep Brooklyn had already established itself. Once back in Brooklyn, Rheingold and Berick designed their now iconic Brooklyn tote and sold it to local stores right before the holidays, figuring that even if the totes didn’t sell, they’d have holiday presents for friends and family. But sell they did, and even though Berick tells us, Maptote “wasn’t something we were strategically planning to do,” it soon became successful enough that it became possible for the two to leave their other jobs and work exclusively for themselves. And while Maptote has expanded well beyond the original Brooklyn tote to items like wine bottle totes, Dopp kits, T-shirts, and tea towels and to cities and neighborhoods all over the world, Rheingold and Berick still source all the fabric and produce everything here in Brooklyn. So, even though the couple describes themselves as “unintentional entrepreneurs,” the blend of functionality and good design in each of their products is the reason that their success—now and in the future—
is guaranteed.

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