Vera Bradley Co-Founder Looking Forward to Retirement
For nearly 30 years Vera Bradley, a Fort Wayne, Indiana based company has been making handbags and designer luggage for women across the globe. This month, one of the company's co-founders, Patricia Miller, is stepping down.
Miller spoke with Terri Stacy recently on First Day, and explained how the company got started. Miller says While on vacation in March of 1982, She and Barbara Bradley were awaiting a flight in Atlanta when they noticed a definite lack of feminine-looking luggage. The longtime friends wasted no time in correcting this situation. Within weeks, the women had created a company, named after Barbara's mother. The demand for their unique handbags and luggage items has grown and so has Vera Bradley, which is now nationally and internationally recognized and employees nearly 2,200 people.
Miller says she focused on the business side of things, while her partner handled the design and construction. "You wouldn't want anything I sewed. I think my mother made every home-ec project I ever turned in," Miller said. "But I was a business major and Barb certainly could sew."
Miller says she's proud of Vera Bradley's commercial success, but she may be most proud of the work of the Vera Bradley Foundation, which has raised nearly $15 million for breast cancer awareness and research over the years.
Miller says she's looking forward to retirement and moving on to the next stage of her life. "I will miss the people, whether they're employees, our customers, our vendors. I will definitely miss the people and the excitement of the business. I am ready to do whatever it is I am going to do. I certainly won't be sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, but there are so many things I have not had time to do and that I will enjoy doing."
Miller says she'll continue to serve on the company's Board of Directors and work with the Vera Bradley Foundation. She will officially retire on Halloween.
* Photo Courtesy VeraBradley.com