About Vera Bradley
The company is founded by Barbara Baekgaard and Patricia Miller. They wanted to make functional bags for everyday use and travel at a price that would give them a broader audience.
They first needed to identify their target audience for which they needed market research. They made their first design and exhibit them in a trunk show. Performance was good and it was a sign that middle aged women liked their brand. They also wanted to see whether younger segment also liked their product and used their daughters in college to do so. The bags passed the test for college girls too. After seeing the potential of the products, they started to go on with their start-up idea.
Design products were usually demonstrated in trade shows and venues, but the owners decided not to attend such competitive fairs just yet. Instead, in 1982 they attended the Chicago Gift Show. The attendants of the show were gift shop owners or wholesalers, where bags were not sold frequently. Although they had an unfavorable place in the show, they managed to change to a more strategic place and made $10,000 revenue, which showed them they could and that they need to grow.
Barb and Pat were wise to assess their strengths and weaknesses and act upon them. They decided to focus on their strengths – design and sales. They thought that design was the locomotive of the company. They had built good brand perception and wanted to keep investing in it. They also wanted to extend their brand image to their business so that their peers recognized them as a good company too. They made business cards, catalogs and standard shipment boxes. They were aggressive in sales, utilizing a push method. They hired their close friends