Vera Bradley in the House … Hobo, Duffle, Tote, Wristlet Bags and lots more chi-chi luxe show up in a Landmarked store in SoHo
How does a venerable and well-known Fort Wayne-based, handbag, luggage and accessories (matching clothes, too) company like Vera Bradley, long recognized for its unique, status printed and patterned, floral quilted cotton fabrics (a “Vera” 2.0-style tote sells for a mere $86; the fancier “Vivian” hobo bag retails for $268; the newly added Sycamore buttery-soft leather grouping hit the pricier $300 range) celebrate the grand opening of its very groovy (and very first) New York City SoHo flagship, right along with the launch of the brand’s new logo, store concept, exclusive product offering and #itsgoodtobeagirl social campaign? In grande style, mai oui, with a by-evite-only, tres prive, mid-Septemebr 2016, VIP cocktail soiree, showcasing an open, airy, easy, breezy, peezy, two-story, 6,000-square-foot, first-of-its-kind, flagship location, embracing a 2,700-square-foot showroom floor that will carry the retailer’s complete collection.
Everything... Just Everything in the Collection, Please!
Photos Credit M. McKenzie
A cheek-to-jowl crowd of requisite fashion and industry insiders; associates and friends of Vera Bradley; celebs such as actress and model, Olivia Culpo; comedian Noel Wells of SNL fame; TV personality Jill Martin, packed the store, entering via a sparkly bright pink carpet; through a customized butterfly garland arch, which was inspired by the custom hand painted butterfly wallpaper, found throughout the store.
Sharing good luck wishes and pink champagne toasts to Vera Bradley and the brand’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, guests mixed and mingled; oohing and aahing over the merchandise; munching on delectable, tiny bites, having lots of fun taking selfies (with hand-made crowns, wands, et al, given out at the party) in front of a photo booth, set against a super colorful butterfly backdrop; listening to music, spun by it girl DJ, Chelsea Leyland.
At the end of the evening, everyone was gifted with a totally cute, signature Vera Bradley pink and white shopping bag, filled with pink tissue paper, wrapped around a quilted leather wristlet/inside special print detail; New York City petite purse charm; sweet hand cream. Kudos, shout outs, merci pour tout to Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, Bridget Peters, Vera Bradley At Soho Store Director, Avrielle Gallipoli, Lividini & Co.
With a sharp eye cast on boosting global influence, the West Broadway store’s retail floor area is more than twice the size of Jefferson Pointe’s store, which opened 10 years ago this fall and has a 1,790-square-foot showroom. As of Jan. 30th, 2016, Vera Bradley operated 110 full-line stores averaging 1,900 square feet each and 40 factory outlet stores averaging 3,200 square feet.
A “flagship” is a retailer’s most prominent or well-known location. “Depending on the level of their uniqueness, individual flagship stores can actually become a tourist attraction in their own right,” states The Balance, a personal finance website.
Vera's Flagship - Accessorized to Sail!
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie
Obviously, the powers that be at Vera Bradley hand-selected Manhattan; in particular, the hip, cool, downtown, SoHo area for its flagship, because New York City in general is known as a shopping mecca with flagship stores for various retailers, including handbag makers. Vera Bradley executives hope to grab some of that glamour for their brand. A company spokesperson described the new flagship as unique with “an array of exclusive patterns, limited edition items and special store experiences.”“More than just a store, the SoHo location is a critical element of our comprehensive marketing strategy as it will help elevate our brand and showcase Vera Bradley to consumers all over the world”. Vera Bradley has extended its line – also showcased in the new store - into leather and microfiber handbags and more subdued patterns that transition more easily from the office to a dinner out or the theater.
Flagshipping Requires the Best Bags!
Photos Credit: M. McKenzie
As part of its effort to elevate the brand, Vera Bradley is celebrating the reasons “It’s Good to be a Girl.” Company officials launched the new marketing campaign at the end of August, positioning the brand as a socially conscious supporter of strong women. Many elements of the marketing effort are on social media. The campaign has also been incorporated in the Manhattan store’s design, according to Jefferies equities analyst Randal Konik.
It's Great to be a Girl with Vera Bradley!
Photo Credit: M. McKenzie
Birth of Vera Bradley … Company was launched in 1982 by founders (and neighbors) Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller. While traveling through the Atlanta, Georga airport, Bradley Baekgaard and Miller noticed the fact that there were no feminine looking luggage styles. They started the company, (whose name comes from Bradley Baekgaard's mother, Vera, who was a stylish inspiration, formerly a high-fashion model for Elizabeth Arden) with five hundred dollars, (each contributing $250). Today, Vera Bradley’s success is measured by its formidable brick-and-mortar and website revenues, along with a strong reputation for quality, upscale style; discerning, international clientele. Further to all of these accolades, Bradley Baekgaard and Miller were awarded the 1987 Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the state of Indiana from Arthur Young/VENTURE Magazine. -- ADWB for C&C