Jypsea Leathergoods, LLC is a line of hand-crafted eco-friendly, luxury leather home decor accessories with an eclectic edge designed by me, leather artisan Meca McKinney, from my NJ-based design studio launching April 2013. Jypsea originally began as a leather handbag/fashion accessories brand.
I started Jypsea after years of working in NYC in the corporate design industry because I simply believed that luxurious, hand-made, well-designed accessories should be accessible to all.
As a child, my mom made all of my clothes as well as the curtains, pillows and accessories around the house. My grandma taught me to crochet and my school district placed me in the Art Magnet program, where I excelled. After high school, I earned a degree in accessory design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and art from Thomas Edison State College. I worked in the corporate fashion industry for a decade as a technical designer for footwear, costume and apparel companies. And now, I joyfully make beautiful pieces that courageously stylish individuals express their authentic personality.
When I’m not designing, I teach Handbag Design at Moore College of Art and freelance as a fashion/arts/culture writer for a few awesome publications such as EdgePhiladelphia.com, Examiner.com and Tyra Bank’s fashion/beauty website, TypeF.com. My design blog is called The Lifestyles of the Authentic & Creative (www.lota-n-c.blogspot.com) and it’s where I highlight all the cool, artsy people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my journey. I am also the author of a design book titled, “ENVISION: The Young Accessory Designer’s Guide to Collection Development” which was published in 2011. And, I have the honor and pleasure of being the mom to a super crafty grade school fashionista.
Jypsea has been featured in The Today Show, NBC Philadelphia’s The Ten! Spot, Clutch Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Trace Magazine, Computer Love: The Movie, numerous fashion blogs and in various art gallery exhibits including recent showcase with Raw NYC.
Creating a better world is a responsibility of us all and I choose to incorporate that consciousness into fashion.” – Meca McKinney
What does it mean to be an amazing woman and what makes you so amazing?
Being amazing is all of our birthright! God gave us all something that makes us awesome. I’m amazing simply because I know what my awesome qualities are, I respect that it is not ME but it is the God in me and I let my light shine wherever I go. I’m a natural born leader and thoroughly creative so I seek to find solutions for people. The solution may be a leather accessories class, a 2 hr workshop, a book, a design tutorial or a 21 pocket handbag!
Who and/or what inspired you to be what you are today?
My mom. She grew up in Newark, NJ in a middle-class family until one unfortunate event changed her family life forever. They lost everything and moved to the projects where a series of other traumatic experiences occurred. These tragedies could have been the end of her story, living in the ‘hood, struggling. But God had a plan for her life and with 3 children, she worked 3 jobs and put herself through college. Today she is the Director at a Regional Hospital and a Professor at a Nursing School. I’ve been through my own share of difficulties but I always remember what she endured, with very little help and 3 young children. I find the strength to push forward! My grandma and great-grandma are/were warrior goddesses too so I know it is in my the DNA to overcome and achieve!
If you could teach the aspiring women of the world one thing what would that be?
Stop being so filled with anxiety about things like relationships. Just live, love, laugh! And work your behind off at whatever it is that you are passionate about. The mate you seek will be the one who is not intimidated by your drive, and is instead totally turned on by it and adjusts his life to fit into YOUR schedule. Forget everyone else. Your BFFs will be the ones up at 3am grinding just like you, sending you funny motivational texts to keep you going and celebrating your victories with you. FORGET EVERYONE ELSE.
What is your favorite quote or a motto that you live by?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. It is not just in some of us it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Quoted by Nelson Mandela.
If you could how would you endeavor to change the world?
By providing opportunities to those who chose not to conform. The traditional 9-5 isn’t for everyone but there are motivated, ambitious, bright people ready to take on the world and the cubicle life just isn’t for them. I am trying to create change by creating job opportunities through my work. I want to see people reach their potential using their own God-giving abilities, not conforming to a cookie-cutter mold.