Behind the Seams with summer intern Stephanie Flint

Hi! I'm Stephanie, a senior at Butler University and the Human Resources intern in the Fort Wayne office. As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed collecting Vera Bradley, and I am extremely excited about this summer. Check back to follow what's happening behind the seams at Vera Bradley!

Friday, August 12, 2011

This is it ... My last day.

There is only one way to describe today ... bittersweet. After 12 weeks as an intern at Vera Bradley, today is my last and final day, and next week I will be moving back to Butler University. I am definitely not ready to leave, but I am pretty excited to go back to Butler to see all of my friends and professors ... I’m not going to lie. As a way to bid adieu, I’ve decided to close out my summer as the intern blogger with a Top 10 list of the things that I will miss most about my internship. Here we go:

  • The HR Cave & all of HR - Unlike other departments at Production Road, HR has an entire room all to ourselves known as the HR Cave. While I'm sure it would be fun to work anywhere at Vera Bradley, I am definitely partial to our room. We don't have many traditional cubicles, which makes it seem more collaborative and conducive to discussion of various topics (from the most recent episode of Swamp People to things that actually pertain to work). And because we're in our own space, we also don't bother everyone else at Production with out chit chatting throughout the day.

  • The receptionists (specifically Kathleen) - Vera Bradley hands down has the most cheerful and sweetest receptionists that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Every day they do everything that they can to be helpful and kind to every person they meet, which just makes work that much more fun. My personal favorite has to be Kathleen, the receptionist at Production Road, simply because I get to walk past her several times a day, sometimes on official business, and somtimes just to visit her candy dish (the Tootsie Rolls are my faves).

  • The Cat Lamp - In the restroom closest to my desk, there is a cat lamp on a small side table, for decorative purposes. I love its uniqueness, and I just might have to find one for my sorority house as well ...

  • Friday breakfast at Production Road – Every Friday, breakfast is provided for us here at Production Road. Sometimes it’s fancy – like Belgian waffles and whipped topping and sometimes it’s basic like cereal and bananas – no matter what it ends up being, I always love getting ready for work on Fridays knowing that there is food waiting on me at work. Today, we had muffins and fruit, a simple yet solid last Friday breakfast (I had a Blueberry muffin and an apple, it was delish).

  • My email signature – I remember when I first accepted my internship, and I got my first email from Jill (one of the intern program coordinators). I loved the signature so much and thought it was so pretty that I forwarded the email to my sister, and I did the same thing when I got my very own on my first day, since it made me feel like an official part of the Vera Bradley team. I think it’s safe to say that I get excited very easily.

  • The other interns – No offense to the other intern groups from the past, but I think we are the best group that Vera Bradley has ever had. Not only did we all come together and bond like no other group has before with our intern dinners and outings, we all also did rather amazing things this summer (like coming up with a more efficient way to sew the toggles onto bags at ACR, revamping the Customer Service training manual, and developing a plan for some new and exciting events for the Foundation). A few days ago we had our final presentations in front of all of the mentors, the Executive Team, and the co-founders Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller, and it was unbelievable to see how much we all learned and accomplished during just 12 short weeks this summer.

My summer internship experience at Vera Bradley has been more amazing than I could have ever imagined, and I truly wish that today didn’t have to be my final day here. If you think that a summer full of learning, having fun, and being surrounded by the most Vera Bradley bags, stationery, and accessories humanly possible is something that you would be interested in, then definitely consider next summer’s internship program. While we won’t know what departments will be having interns until next spring (usually in late February), once the positions are posted online you can apply, and who knows, you might be a part of next year’s intern class!

    A Big Thanks Goes Out To:

  • Everyone at Vera Bradley – The best part about working here is being surrounded by so many amazing people, so thanks for being so welcoming and great, all day, every day!

  • Copywriters Courtney and Ana – I’m so fortunate to have had the chance to work with two fabulous ladies. I’ve learned so much from both of you, thanks for everything!

  • Everyone in Vera Bradley HR – I couldn’t have asked for a better department to work with, thank you all for being so much fun and so helpful. I’ll be back to visit sometime (Outlet Sale, possibly?) but until then we have to stay in touch!

  • And lastly, you! To all of the readers and fans of Behind the Seams – Thank you for all being so supportive, and for coming back to read each blog post! Thank you each for making this experience so much fun and worthwhile, I’ve loved every minute of it!

The 2011 Vera Bradley Interns

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Human Resources: Arguably the BEST department at Vera Bradley

Today is my next-to-last day at Vera Bradley, and I am definitely not ready to leave. This is for several reasons, but mainly, I just love the people that I work with in HR entirely too much. Since we have four buildings in Fort Wayne, and everyone in HR works in different buildings, I don’t get to see everyone every day, or even every week, but I have enjoyed every minute that I have had with each of them. Here are just a few of my favorite memories of my amazing summer here in HR ...


On Jill’s (one of the Recruiting Specialists) birthday, we decided to celebrate by decorating her desk … and the area above and around it. She was actually on vacation at the time, so the decorations were our response to not being able to party with her on her big day. She came back the following week to this beautiful and very festive scene ...

Jill’s desk – all ready for her birthday....


Only about a month into my internship, I had the opportunity to travel to a store opening – Vera Bradley at Beachwood Place – in Cleveland, OH with Ryan and Amy, two of my co-workers at Production Road. Not only was this really exciting because it was my first “business trip,” I also really enjoyed getting to travel with Ryan and Amy as we explored northern Ohio for the day. I’m sure they enjoyed our trip as well; during the eight hours of driving I told them all about my family’s farm and my days of showing cattle, so they learned a lot!

Ryan, Amy and I enjoying the beautiful new store.

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel with Amy, Ryan, and my mentor, Becky, to a recruiting fair in Indianapolis. This gave me the chance to see another side of the recruiting world, and it also allowed me to introduce the others to my favorite Indianapolis original cupcakes. It came just at the right time, because I was starting to have withdrawals from Indianapolis and Butler, my second home. We went to Patachou on the Park for brunch before the fair began (one of Amy, Ryan and I’s favorites), and we stopped for the famous Flying Cupcakes afterwards to reward ourselves for all of the recruiting that we did that day. It is safe to say that the day was a definite delicious success!

Our table at the recruiting fair complete with all things Happy Snails....


One thing that I have learned about HR is that we love to get together for lunches, whether it is for someone’s birthday, to welcome someone to the team, or just because. So, in honor of my last few days at Vera Bradley, everyone met at Production Road for lunch today. It was so nice just to get to see and talk to most of the team again before I leave, and of course I loved having Jimmy John’s for lunch as well! (I now officially feel like a college student again!)

Everyone from HR that was able to come to my farewell lunch … I’ll miss them all!...

Being an intern in HR this summer has really opened my eyes to so many things that will be useful in my future. From understanding the ins and outs of the hiring process to seeing how this company functions on a daily basis, I really can’t wait to tackle my senior year and my next steps – finding a real job after graduation. Most of all, all of my fabulous co-workers in HR have shown me the importance of enjoying going to work every day, and they have made my summer internship more amazing than I ever could have imagined. Now that I think about it, do I really need to finish college, or can I just stay here forever?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vera Bradley Intern Success Stories

Here at Vera Bradley, there are quite a few employees who actually started out as interns, like me. They are now working in departments ranging from IT to Visual Merchandising to Indirect Sales, and some even interned in a completely different area. One of my goals before I end my summer as a Vera Bradley Intern and the Intern Blogger has been to talk to two of these now full-time employees about their transition from one position to the other to see what their time at Vera Bradley has been like. I went straight to Caitlin and Samantha, two lovely ladies who were interns just last summer – I figured their intern days would be most fresh in their minds.

Meet Caitlin – Last year’s Product Development Intern turned Product Development Process Assistant

“I joined the Vera Bradley Product Development Team as their summer intern in June of 2010. My main responsibility was to assist in the implementation and adoption of the company’s new Product Line Management (PLM) system called Flex PLM. Other Product Development tasks I was exposed to during my internship included: creating trend and concept boards, participating in seasonal calendar meetings, assisting the Technical Design team in updating specifications and merchandising product for key PLM Meetings. At the conclusion of my internship, I returned to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where I as studying Advertising and Marketing Communications to complete my last semester of school, and in December of 2010, prior to graduating, I was asked to join the Vera Bradley family as a Product Development Process Assistant. Now, my main objective is to provide operational support to the Product Development team in all non-creative processes. The biggest challenge in the transition from my internship to a full-time position has been learning to work with such a creative bunch! (I actually worked with Liz from Liz on Location!) I am a very left-brain thinker and the Design Team really challenges me to constantly be thinking of new, innovative ways to assist them in their day-to-day roles. I can’t say enough positive things about the Vera Bradley Internship Program. My internship experience exceeded all of my expectations and truly has set me up for success by connecting me with so many great people. Vera Bradley is an amazing company and I am honored to say I am a part of such a wonderful organization.”

Meet Samantha – Last year’s Merchandise Management Intern turned Merchandise Planner

“I started as a Vera Bradley intern in May 2010, right after I graduated from Bowling Green State University where I majored in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development. I was the Merchandise Management intern for the summer and had an array of job responsibilities that included working with all the cross-functional departments discussing sales demand, future assortments, pricing and product life cycles, along with conducting research and making recommendations for ideal assortments. Upon the completion of my internship, I interviewed and was hired on (full time) to be a Merchandise Planner. I was so excited to join the team, whom I have grown to love, on a permanent basis! Overall, the transition from an intern to a full-time employee has been very smooth, as I was already accustomed to a majority of my job responsibilities. The main difference between the internship and my full-time role has been the gain in responsibilities and expectations to become more of a leader. Both of these differences have helped me grow as a young professional, and I am so grateful for that. Lastly, I am truly so lucky to be a part of the Vera Bradley team. I could not have picked a more perfect job to start my career off with, and it all started with my internship.”

As I think about going into my senior year of school, which will then lead into the land of the unknown in regards to where I will be living and working, it is so nice to hear about how these two ladies ended up staying at Vera Bradley. It just comforts me and makes me wonder… where will all of this year’s interns end up a year from now, or a couple years down the road? No matter where we may go, I do know that we will never forget this amazing summer that we spent together at Vera Bradley, and that we will always stay in touch. (Even though it won’t be the same without our Vera Bradley email addresses!)

All of us together – looking so professional.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grand Traveling

This summer, even though I have been technically been living and working in Fort Wayne, I have been so busy with other commitments at home or at Butler that I have done an awful lot of traveling as well. Throughout the summer I have been on eight mini trips including visiting friends at Butler, traveling to the new store opening in Cleveland, going to my sister’s wedding, and even attending a national convention in Nashville, TN. With all of this driving I have been doing, I have also had to do an awful lot of packing. Normally I do not enjoy picking out my clothes ahead of time or making sure that I have everything that I could possibly need, but being able to put to use all of my Vera Bradley has actually made this tedious task enjoyable. I have a couple of Large Duffels (in Poppy Fields and Caffè Latte), a Vera (in Pinwheel Pink) and a Garment Bag (in Cupcakes Green) that have come in handy this summer, however, my new favorite bag to travel with is my Grand Traveler in Happy Snails. Now that I am a Vera Bradley packing pro, I kept track of how I put all of my things together as I prepared for my Nashville trip to share a few tips with all of you!

My Grand Traveler and everything I placed inside – an All Wrapped Up in Boysenberry, a Mini-Hanging Organizer in Happy Snails, 3 Curling Iron Covers, a Travel Cosmetic in Happy Snails and a Ditty Bag in Caffè Latte.

My Curling Iron Covers are quite possibly my favorite travel items, especially since I have them in one of the newest patterns (Happy Snails) and a couple of classics (Peacock and Mesa Red)!

Previously, I used two different makeup bags to organize my makeup and brushes, which was confusing and made it easy to lose things. Since I got my Travel Cosmetic in Happy Snails, I have been able to keep everything in the same place tucked into the very convenient pockets on the inside.

The Mini-Hanging Organizer in Happy Snails is the perfect size for holding my hair accessories and contacts, while still being small and compact.

My Grand Traveler and Tote (both in Happy Snails) all packed and ready to make the trip to the Music City!

Even though I will always love my Large Duffels and other bags, I do believe that my Grand Traveler will be my new go-to bag for awhile. Not only is it in my new favorite color (Happy Snails), I also love that it has one long strap that makes it easy to wear crossbody style, plus a trolley sleeve that lets it sit conveniently on top of your rolling luggage. For my next trip, however, I will definitely be enlisting the help of all of my Vera Bradley. I will be moving all of my things from my apartment in Fort Wayne to my sorority house at Butler, and then going home to enjoy my last few days of freedom before I begin my senior year. What happened to the summer, and why is it time for school to start already?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Everyone has a Vera Bradley story to share

Throughout my summer as an intern with Vera Bradley, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet quite a few dedicated Vera Bradley fans. At my sister’s wedding, I bonded with a few ladies over the gorgeous new fall colors, and at the store opening in Cleveland at Beachwood Place Mall, some families shared their Outlet Sale stories with me. It seems that everywhere I go, I meet someone who has some connection to the brand, which has made for some very fun conversations. Many of the women whom I have met have shared their special memories or significance associated with their Vera Bradley, whether they carried the bag with them to work every day, or they received it as a birthday gift. To them, their Vera Bradley is more than a cotton-quilted bag in a fun, colorful print, it is representative of a cherished memory.

As I have been reflecting on my amazing summer here at Vera Bradley, I have started thinking about my own Vera Bradley story. I was first introduced to the brand when I went to college. Everyone, and I mean everyone, at Butler University carries Vera Bradley, which makes for a very colorful campus! It is so popular that they even sell it at our campus bookstore (making it even easier for us to always have something in one of the newest prints). I started off small, buying just a Zip ID Case and Wristlet in Kensington. Before I knew it, I was hooked. Next up … a Messenger Bag in Blue Rhapsody. I’ve carried it almost daily ever since, and it has been the perfect bag to take to class and to the library—it fits my laptop, binders and books. My collection has continued to grow, with Large Duffels, a Vera, a few Totes, and my newest favorite, the Clutch Wallet. I’m sure that having an internship here at Vera Bradley has nothing to do with how many new things I have gotten in the last few months …

This bag will always hold a special place in my heart ... and in my closet.

What’s your Vera Bradley story? Or what was your very first bag? Comment and share with us!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vera Bradley Wedding Must-Haves

This wedding season has been extra special and busy for me - my sister married her sweetheart just a week and a half ago. (Happy One Week Anniversary Natalie and John!) As her Maid of Honor, I’ve become an expert in extremely helpful Vera Bradley items necessary for the big day.

Tote My Tote in Happy Snails was the perfect bag to carry all of the essential Maid of Honor items. From the marriage license (that we lost the morning of the wedding, since it wasn’t in my bag), to the rings, a sewing kit and makeup to touch up right before the walk down the aisle, my tote held everything that I needed, and best of all—it matched the wedding theme colors of navy and light green.

Hanging Organizer – The night before the wedding, all of the bridesmaids stayed with Natalie in her room at the hotel where we were having the reception, so we didn’t have much room to spare while getting ready in the morning. Natalie’s Hanging Organizer in Purple Punch and my Mini-Hanging Organizer in Happy Snails saved us room, and made for easy access to makeup, hair supplies, and anything else we might need while hurrying to get ready!

The Hanging Organizer.

The Mini Hanging Organizer.

Umbrella – On Natalie’s big day, the forecast called for rain, even though it had been sunny and hot all week long. Just in case, however, we were ready for anything that came our way with Umbrellas, my favorite of which was in English Meadow.

Large Duffel – Not only was the Large Duffel one of my bags of choice for the wedding weekend (mine is in Poppy Fields), it is also what my sister packed all of her things in for her Honeymoon (hers is in Blue Rhapsody). One bag, so many great uses!

Mini Notebook with Pocket – This little notebook (in English Meadow) was our saving grace for the weekend of the wedding. We used it while jotting down reminders to ourselves for the reception and ceremony, and for keeping track of all of Natalie and John’s gifts while they were opening them the next day. And best of all, it fit perfectly in my Tote, along with all of the other Maid of Honor necessities.

Grand Traveler – For the weekend, I packed both a Large Duffel and a Grand Traveler, since I had so many different outfits and things to carry. When it was time to go to the wedding itself, I put all of my things in my Grand Traveler (in Happy Snails), and I ended up being so glad that I did! The long strap was perfect for carrying the bag crossbody style when I had my hands completely full of flowers, dresses … and my other Vera Bradley bags!

Natalie also gave Vera Bradley Note Cubes and Gel Pens in the new fall colors to anyone who helped at the wedding and reception, and those of us who helped organize and plan her bridal shower received the All Wrapped Up in Boysenberry. As you can see, Vera Bradley helped make Natalie’s wedding a successful and very colorful affair!

The entire wedding party.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I feel like a Sewing Superstar ...

Last week, the interns took a trip to Adams Center Road, our manufacturing facility, and we learned all about the manufacturing processes for our products. I have really enjoyed all our other intern programs so far, however, this one is my favorite one yet. This is because not only did we learn about things like lean manufacturing, 5S and product flow (my Operations Management professor would be so proud that I put my knowledge to use), we also had the opportunity to do some hands-on learning, by sewing our very own Coin Purse. I’m not the most experienced sewer (or experienced at all), but I still would like to think that I did a pretty decent job on my own coin purse…

Me, sewing the zipper onto the Coin Purse.

The finished product … a Riviera Blue Coin Purse.

Since we are not all experienced sewers, like my roommate Kelley (she was a fashion design major in school), this little project was rather challenging for most of us. We fortunately had someone with us to help us along every step of the way, because the process of completing each individual step is extremely detail-oriented, down to having parts measured to the 1/16th of an inch. Everyone tried their very best,, and in the end we had made 18 Coin Purses, some of which were high quality, and some that might not meet the quality standards that all of our products have to meet (don’t worry interns, I won’t call you out if this was you). Mine was pretty close to perfect, with only a few minor errors, so I’m sure that if I had the chance to do it again, I could make it absolutely flawless.

Alicia, one of the intern coordinators, also had the chance to make a Coin Purse!

A few of the male interns showing off their own sewing skills.

All of the interns with our Coin Purses.