Bellevue woman finds large totes make a perfect fit for new business

Kea Rensch of Bellevue needed a tote to hold everything and keep her kids’ things dry during swimming practice - so she invented one.  - Courtesy photo
Kea Rensch of Bellevue needed a tote to hold everything and keep her kids’ things dry during swimming practice - so she invented one.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

While many businesses are suffering because of the tough economy, others are taking advantage and are spring-boarding new ideas into the marketplace.

Kea Rensch of Bellevue took the leap in recent months, launching her new line of urban-hip functional totes called Merin Design Totes.

The mother of three was becoming increasingly frustrated with the number of bags she was carrying around during her day-to-day activities. She found it a constant struggle to not only fit everything into one bag, but also to keep her and her kids' things dry during activities such as swim practice.

"The idea for Merin Design Totes came from the need for an oversized bag that I just couldn't find anywhere," Rensch explained. "I began to envision the perfect tote and decided to create one that would be both trendy and functional."

The Merin Design Totes are available in five splashy custom-died colors, with a waterproof fabric bottom, waterproof interior pockets, a cell-phone slip and key clip. Each of the five colorful totes are named after a popular Seattle neighborhood.

Rensch's husband works in the manufacturing industry and has helped to guide Rensch through the product manufacturing process.

"My husband has been wonderful. He has really been a great sounding board as I launched this new product, but at the same time, he has stepped back and allowed me to explore this new venture on my own," she explained. "This has been a fun and very rewarding journey."

Rensch kept it in the family while deciding on a tagline and logo for her new product.

"My sister thought up the tag line, Keep Your Bottom Dry, which I think sums up exactly what the totes are all about and my father designed the logo," she said. "It is so important when launching a new business to be surrounded by friends and family who support you and what you're doing."

In July, Rensch was invited by Bellevue Nordstrom to feature her totes in a trunk show. The Merin Design Totes retail for $88 each and are currently available online at and at Via Lago in Kirkland.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

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