Design Thinking: Mess in a Bottle


(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle. Image depicts Founder Kalilah)


In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking into their market offerings. I had the opportunity to talk with Kalilah to learn more about Mess in a Bottle's mission and vision.



(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle)


1. How does Kalilah empower women, especially African American women?

Through our MESSages, we empower women, especially black women, to be unapologetic and authentic to themselves. It's important in a world that has a big filter over it, for black women to know, they are loved, doing amazing, and are valued.


(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle's instagram)


2. What is Mess In A Bottle?

Kalilah Wright, born in Jamaica W.I., migrated to the United States at the tender age of 4 and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is the Founder and CEO of expressive brand Mess in a Bottle. As an accomplished designer and trained architect, she used her Masters degree from Morgan State University and Bachelors of Arts from Penn State University to establish the brand in January 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Mess in a Bottle allows you to put messages on t-shirts and are packaged in reusable bottles. The Mess in a Bottle brand was established to evoke change, question Kalilah’s audience and allow individuals wearing their messages to be vocal without saying anything at all.

Each item is designed and printed at her Baltimore in-house studio space. Kalilah has participated in multiple pitch competitions and won the Wells Fargo Business Pitch competition in 2016 and the 2018 iFundWomen pitch competition in conjunction with the Baltimore Ravens. Mess in a Bottle has collaborated with numerous brands and created limited edition capsule collections with Warner Brothers Studios for their movie The Kitchen, YouTube, Roc Nation artist Rapsody and most recently Target for their Black History Month collection. Celebrities such as Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Luvvie Ajayi, Lena Waithe, Yvonne Orji and more are all proud supporters of Mess in a Bottle.



(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle's instagram)


3. Why did Kalilah founded MESS?

MESS in a Bottle was founded in 2016, shortly after a young black man, Freddie Gray died in police custody. This sparked riots in her Baltimore City community and she created MESS in a Bottle to give a voice to the voiceless. For people to stand in solidarity with one another and to say something without saying anything at all.



(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle's instagram)


4. How does Kalilah incorporate her mission and vision into the products?

Kalilah uses her MESSages to foster conversation around important subject matters. It is a 21st century form of the 310 B.C. concept of receiving a MESSage in a Bottle. Her mission to create MESSages that evoke change, give a voice to the voiceless and to create a community of unapologetic humans are core when creating new products and acquiring new customers.



(Image courtesy of Mess in a Bottle's instagram)



Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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