On my daughter’s first day at college, I went along to help her move in. There was alot of commotion and activity. Envision a thousand teenaged girls all lugging their belongings into the dorms. As I looked around I noticed one common accessory held in just about every girl’s hand or slung over a shoulder. There were large duffel bags, book bags, handbags, tote bags and more. All were made from colorful quilted fabric and all were beautiful. I had to have one, but first I had to know exactly what they were. My daughter informed me they were “Veras” and she wanted one for her birthday. Who was this Vera, why was she so popular and why did every young girl have to have one?
I’ve since discovered that Vera Bradley Designs, Inc. is a company started by two friends and neighbors, Barbara Baekgaard and Patricia Miller over 20 years ago. They both had a passion for fashion and decided to go into business together. With just $500.00 and using Barbara’s mother’s name they started Vera Bradley Designs. Their product was so successful that the company earned 1 million dollars in just 3 years. In 1987, these 2 talented ladies earned the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Vera Bradley Designs, Inc. carries 800 products each produced in their Fort Wayne, Indiana plant. The company is also a constant supporter in the fight against breast cancer with funding contributions and fund raising efforts totaling in the millions.
Why have Vera’s become so popular? They’ve become a sort of “status symbol” and a “must have” accessory, with many styles each having its own name. Styles are eventually “retired” making way for a new line of purses and other products. Spring and Fall designs are typically released in January and July.
Needless to say, I bought my daughter a Vera for her birthday and she uses it constantly. And, just a few days ago, she surprised me with a Vera of my own. I love it, not only because my daughter gave it to me or because it’s beautifully made, but it’s also nice to know that I own a well-made, American-made product that also supports an important women’s cause.