In 1982, neighbors Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller were waiting for a flight at the Atlanta airport, when they noticed that there was a distinct lack of feminine-looking luggage styles. The two returned home to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and started their own company in Baekgaard's basement (investing $250 each). The friends designed and manufactured bags with unique, colorful fabrics, and they named their brand Vera Bradley after Baekgaard's mother. Within just a few years, business was booming and Vera Bradley had grown into a multi-million dollar company.
As the business continued to expand its reach, Vera Bradley's founders also began to focus on a number of charitable efforts. The company established the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, which has raised more than $10 million, and it began sponsoring the annual Vera Bradley Classic golf tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society. In 2004, the company opened the first Vera Bradley Signature Store in Carmel, IN, and it has continued to expand its retail presence across the country and around the world. Today, the company operates more than 100 Vera Bradley stores and outlets, and the brand's products are also sold by more than 3,500 specialty retailers. The founders proclaim that their brand is a testament to the American dream, and their company maintains a steadfast reputation for impeccable quality and excellent customer service.
Women can find Vera Bradley bags and accessories in a number of different styles. The brand's most iconic products are its quilted handbags that feature unique and colorful prints. Popular styles include crossbody bags, satchels, totes, shoulder bags, diaper bags, wristlets, mini bags, and more. You can also find a wide selection of backpacks and bookbags for school. New patterns and colors are released each season to keep the brand's products looking fresh. Beyond the classic quilted cotton, many of these products are available in leather, microfiber, and polyester versions that are a little more muted--though they also come in several different colors. The brand has also partnered with several big colleges and universities (mostly in the South and Midwest) to create bags that reflect the school's colors and/or insignias.
Beyond regular purses and handbags, you can also find Vera Bradley luggage in styles like duffel bags, weekend bags, and rolling suitcases. The brand's accessories include various personal and home décor items that feature Vera Bradley prints. Options include blankets, throws, wallets, tumblers, napkins, cosmetics cases, and laptop sleeves. Fashion accessories range from headbands to hair ties to jewelry like bracelets and necklaces.
The story behind Vera Bradley should be inspirational to anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, because the brand started with a relatively modest idea and grew into a major international company. The standard patterns featured on most of the bags and luggage the brand offers are certainly loud, but many women love carrying these fun and colorful accessories. Even if you prefer something a little more muted, Vera Bradley does have several options you might consider. In addition to its successful business model, the way the company has pursued various charitable efforts is also very impressive. We give Vera Bradley 5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1982
- Colorful handbags and accessories
- Sold at:
- Vera Bradley Signature Stores, specialty retailers, online
- Types of items:
- Purses, crossbody bags, totes, satchels, backpacks, wristlets, mini bags, diaper bags, duffel bags, suitcases, lunch bags, tech accessories, wallets, blankets, home décor, fashion accessories, jewelry