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!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Last day... sigh...

Vera Bradley interns, summer 2010!

May 24, 2010 through August 13, 2010: my summer living the dream as a Vera Bradley intern. I honestly cannot believe it went by so fast--it seems like only yesterday I was walking through the doors at Industrial and staring with awe at the cubicles decked out in Vera Bradley stationary items.

Time really does fly when you are having fun!

Here's my "Internship by the Numbers":
  • 2: the number of my awesome supervisors, Shannon and Sarah, who went above and beyond to make my internship amazing
  • 4: the number of states I visited (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, and Ohio)
  • 13: the number of my unofficial mentors in Direct Sales
  • 17: the number of wonderful interns this summer
  • 29: the number of comments my brother Andy left on the blog
  • 853: the number of words in the article I wrote for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer's website
  • 2,305: the number of visitors to the blog on July 11th--my one-day record!!
  • ###: the number of Cookie Cottage cookies consumed this summer (the actual number would be too embarrassing to share)
But my most important numbers just can't be quantified. I have made countless memories this summer--new friends, new experiences, and new take-aways to carry into my professional and personal life. This summer has exceeded my wildest expectations--I never would have guessed I'd be on a Vera Bradley email, or be able to chat with co-founders Pat and Barb! Without a doubt, I would HIGHLY recommend a Vera Bradley internship. Amazing company, adorable bags, and awesome team? Sign me up all over again!

Just a few members of the talented Direct Sales team.

I am incredibly sad to have to leave (how important is year 4 of college anyway?), but I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here and to work for one of my favorite companies.

  • The wonderful people at Vera Bradley--I will never stop talking about my wonderful summer here!
  • Shannon, Sarah, and Emily--to quote Sarah, you guys are "jammin' like salmon"!
  • Web team--we'll definitely be keeping in touch (in tweets--140 characters or less)
  • Lovely blog fans and readers--I will definitely miss sharing my adventures, but stay up to date with more Vera Bradley news on Facebook, Twitter, and emails. I have loved reading your comments and you have made this blog very special!
Keep an eye out on the Vera Bradley Careers page. Around February, the summer 2011 internships will be posted... I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big day at Vera Bradley!

Today is a pretty big day here at Industrial Road. Why?

1. It is Web Operations Manager Jason's birthday! His desk turned into a party saloon--complete with cowboy boot confetti and saloon doors! The web team was decked out in western wear (bandanas, cowboy hats, and sheriff badges)... although I think I was the only one that wore it all day...?

Jason, birthday boy and sheriff of the web team.

2. It is the day of the intern presentations! On day one, we were told about our final intern presentations that recap our summer and share what we have been working on. Then we found out that co-founders Barb and Pat, the executive team, the supervisors, and all of the interns will be present... and it was attack of the nerve butterflies!

We spent the morning listening to the presentations. It was very interesting finding out what everyone else has been working on, and how much they enjoyed their summers.

Funny extras: Finance boys modeling their favorite bags, a Sales and Operations version of "The Brady Bunch" theme song, and Product Development skit about a new system.

I decided to present my summer in a blog format. Nissa, a web designer, created another blog just like this one and I posted pictures and captions to act as notes and visuals. I was very, very nervous--but survived! I definitely couldn't have done it without Sarah and Emily's happy faces in the audience and Shannon's scrolling during my presentation.

The web team boys came to watch and then tweeted this Twitpic of me presenting! (Between the blog and Twitter, I seem to be all over the web!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blast for the past--Vera Bradley-style!

Years and years of Vera Bradley goodness :)

I haven't spent much time at the Production Road office, but every time I go, I like to check out the "Shelves of Fame" corner of the lobby. It is a serious blast from the past--the Handbag in every Vera Bradley pattern! It is amazing to see the changes in design direction since the beginning. It seems everything has gotten brighter and bolder!

Vera Bradley has definitely gotten a makeover since the early days!

Bermuda Blue (my first color) and its mate, Bermuda Pink.

Favorite: Chanticleer (the chicken and the egg!)

Oh how I wish this was still in production--Zebra!

It can be pretty heartbreaking to see your favorite color retire, but now you know it will always be on display at a Vera Bradley HQ! To see the colors a bit more close-up, visit the Vera Bradley classic colors section on the site.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Vera's birthday: all-day event

The woman of the hour: happy birthday, Vera!

The party for Vera's birthday continued after Tuesday night's VIP event for Wednesday's all-day event. With mini cupcakes, an adorable gift with purchase, and great offers throughout the day, it was one of the best birthday celebrations I have been to! And as always, the Vera Bradley fans were highlights also: I loved working with the amazing Kenwood team, chatting with sweet guests, and I even had a few friends from Indiana come for the occasion!

An outline of the day's festivities!

10am to noon = All in One Wristlet mania!

The first offer of the day was a great discount on the All in One Wristlet--normally $32, but during those 2 hours, it was $20! Before the doors even opened, fans were waiting outside so they could have the first picks. The reasons for the All in One Wristlet mania were pretty varied: bridal party presents, back to campus, Christmas present, and just for every day!

One of the many Vera facts signs around the store--this one is talking about the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer's pledge of $10 million (and plans for another $10 million!)

And speaking of facts, my older brother Andy impressed me with his knowledge about Vera Bradley! His comment on the post about the VIP birthday event:

He is right: Vera Bradley's real name-- Veronica Bradley, and birthday-- August 9, 1909. Someone has been doing his homework!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A VIP birthday!

Private event for Vera's Birthday VIPs!

Last night I was part of a very special group of people to celebrate Vera's birthday---Kenwood's top customers. The VIPs were invited to celebrate Vera's 101st birthday with extra surprises like four amazing enter-to-win prizes. In addition to delicious birthday treats like mini cupcakes and "Very Berry Punch", everyone left with a Very Berry Paisley party favor!

The Kenwood team also gave presentations about the fall colors and styles, back to campus essentials, and two new collections, Crossroads and Vera Vera. Crossroads and Vera Vera are not out in stores yet, so the guests were able to have a sneak peak!

Are you on the list? Our "bouncer" at the door!

Making a wish list is serious business--everyone was very concentrated on noting all of their favorites!

Upon arriving, guests were invited to fill out a wish list of 3 Vera Bradley items and enter to win their wish list granted!

The enter-to-wins were the main event: 3 lucky winners received $150 of their wish lists, and 1 grand prize winner received $300 of their wish list and will be entered to win "A Colorful Day" trip to meet Vera Bradley stars and learn more about the amazing company! (Check out to learn more!)

Getting ready to announce the grand prize winner--everyone is hoping to hear their name called!

I loved being surrounded by such passionate Vera Bradley fans. One woman wistfully said how she'd love to work at Vera Bradley, and when I told her I am living the dream as an intern, she was so jealous!!

The festivities continue tomorrow--the store offers will change throughout the day, so be sure to come and stay for the whole day :) We have plenty of cupcakes and Very Berry Punch to keep your shopping energy up!

Monday, August 2, 2010

"For the frill of it"!

On Saturday I headed to the Vera Bradley Store in Kenwood Town Center for the Frill photo shoot. The shoot was for girls 13-18, and they posed with their favorite bag from the Frill collection while our photographer Jeff snapped their pictures.

Jeff and a model--in action!

The shoot was so much fun! I think we had the cutest girls in the tri-state area come and strike their best poses--many were naturals in front of the camera! Emily, a member of the photo team, set up a computer screen so everyone could see each picture as it happened.

Emily, working behind the scenes.

Adoring fans/managers/paparazzi of the models!

I think everyone had a blast! Any nerves that were there quickly disappeared under Jeff's expert guidance. I loved listening to the proud moms, friends, and sisters who were standing on the sidelines and watching the girls pose!

One girl definitely won the "Most Enthusiastic" Award--she was jumping in the air and lying on the ground to get the best shot. I think she took a few cues from Tyra's "America's Next Top Model" before coming!

Part of the Kenwood team, working it with their Frill!

In addition to the photo shoot, the store also had a spot where guests could enter to win Frill prizes, a contest for the favorite Frill color (Very Berry Paisley was in the lead the last time I looked!), and a refreshment stand with Frill cookies from a Fort Wayne institution, the Cookie Cottage. I also had a few special guests come: my grandma, aunts, and cousin! Jeff snapped a few Frill family portraits of us :)

The shoot was a success and I can't wait to check out the pictures on the Vera Bradley Facebook page. Next up: back to the store for Vera's Birthday festivities! Stop by on Wednesday!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Intern dinner + celebration + O-H-I-O

Intern Dinner: Wednesday marked the grand finale of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce's Live, Learn, Intern series this summer. It was a very nice reception at Sycamore Hills (the same site as the Classic dinners), complete with excellent food, special speakers, and door prizes (the VB interns cleaned up: I won a gift card to JK O'Donnell's, and Allegra and Megan each won a Starbucks gift card!).

Sycamore Hills Clubhouse--the venue for the final Live, Learn, Intern event.

I'm not biased or anything, but I think we had the best table! Alicia and Jill, our intern coordinators, entertained us with funny stories of their kids and gave us some inside scoop on Vera Bradley.

Alicia and Jill, human resources extraordinaires!

Celebration: Today marks Heidi Floyd's five year cancer free anniversary. The lovely folks at Production road (shout-out to Foundation intern, Karen!) organized a breakfast to celebrate. Special surprises: a visit from Heidi's adorable family and a new pair of pink shoes!

Congrats, Heidi--mom, survivor, blogger, Twitterer, and ambassador!

The celebration breakfast at Production--all decked out in Loves Me..., of course!

O-H-I-O: This weekend I will be hanging out in the buckeye state for the Frill Fashion Photo Shoot at the Vera Bradley store in Kenwood Town Center. Stop by and strike a pose!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My home away from home

Since I am not from the Fort Wayne area, I had to figure out where I was going to live... and since I was an ocean away up until a week before my first day--my mom had to figure it out! She came up for the outlet sale and visited a few schools that offered summer housing to out-of-towners. We decided university housing would be the easiest way to go: no utilities or rent to worry about and college campuses are nice!

The final pick? The University of St. Francis, a small school conveniently located just minutes away from the shopping land of Jefferson Pointe.

Don't let the dark hallways fool you: once the sun goes down, the floodlights come on...

The apartment is supposed to be for nine people, but right now I am solo! For about half of the summer, I had a very sweet roommate (hi Hannah!) but her internship ended and she returned home. After living in a sorority house (with 70 girls living in, someone is always bound to be around!) and then with a homebody senora (besides a run for fresh bread at noon, Esperanza was always "en casa"), it is a little strange coming home to no one!

My Large Duffels and Get Carried Away Tote are doing most of the heavy lifting!

This afternoon I am switching it up and moving out. The University needs to get the rooms ready for early arrivals, so they are shuffling the summer boarders around a bit. I don't know where I will be moving to... but I am very interested to find out!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

There's nothing like a good book

I'll admit it--I am a bookworm. I like to read, and would rather flip through magazine or book pages than turn on the TV...which I don't even have this summer!

I have read my fair share of classics (hello AP English!) so I don't feel so guilty when I turn to my favorite genre: chick lit. I read Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada, and In Her Shoes before they ever turned up on the big screen. I am not alone--the girls of Direct Sales have created a nice shelf of chick lit for sharing in the Inspiration Room!

One of the my first (non-work) tasks this summer was to find the nearest library. I had been library deprived in Spain (it would have taken me the whole semester to finish a chapter book!) and was happy to find an Allen County branch minutes from my apartment.

The newly renovated main branch

This weekend, I decided to check out the main branch in downtown Fort Wayne. I was a bit nervous to navigate the "One Way" maze of downtown, but the prospect of a few good reads convinced me to go for it.

What a beautiful library! It is huge--the size blows my local branch out of the water! There is a cafe, bookstore, auditorium, art gallery, computer center, and a parking garage. I definitely plan on heading back before the summer is over.

A room full of magazines... heaven!

Check out this happy Vera Bradley fan and blogger who received a surprise gift from blog fan and Vera Bradley employee Jennifer:

Her thank you post includes a video of "I think I love you..."--super cute!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Campus wishlist

My post mentioning back to campus emails got me thinking about my own trek to school...and more importantly, what I hope will be coming with me!

In the middle: the bulldog statue outside of the Butler University student center.

1. Ribbon Board. Luckily, I still have a few weeks to decide which color to choose. Poppy Fields is a front runner, with Very Berry Paisley close behind...

2. Sherry sunglasses in Tortoise. Because the sun shines extra bright on Butler!

3. Sharpies. I've been admiring Emily's collection when I stop by her desk and it is time to start my own collection. I have a few black ones, but I need some color in my life!

4. Keep Calm and Carry On water bottle. I couldn't believe it when I found this online! I recently lost my (not as cool) water bottle--not after a semester of lugging it on trips around Europe, but during a visit to the local Barnes & Noble! And now, a replacement in my mantra? I MUST get this.

5. Pocket Folders. I am very excited to use my Carnaby folders, and need a few more as well.

The ultimate wishlist item? A 32GB iPad™! I cannot get over how awesome this is: one lucky person wins an iPad™and Mini Laptop Bag, and 12 other people walk away with other Back to Campus bags. I think this contest represents the true meaning of "back to cool"!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One of my projects: Web Benchmarking

Cover slide for last week's Web Benchmarking PowerPoint

Checking email and looking at Facebook? Meet my Web Benchmarking project! Web Benchmarking is a review of what Vera Bradley and other brands are doing throughout the web each week. It's a way to keep tabs on other brands and make sure that Vera Bradley is staying strong with our online activities.

There are several aspects of my Web Benchmarking project: Facebook, emails, and a Hitwise chart. In Hitwise, I look at how many visits the Vera Bradley site has (a lot!) in comparison to other handbag companies like Coach, Dooney & Bourke, etc.

For Facebook, my mission was to "like" different brands and then weekly see what kind of content they publish on their pages. Checking up on Tory Burch and J.Crew? No problem!

Vera Bradley on Facebook was busy last week--be colorful events and the Fall 2010 launch!

For emails, I have a special Gmail account that I use to sign up for different brand emails. I have quite a list going, and can always count on a pretty full inbox!

There are several categories that I look for--sales messaging, limited time offers ("Free shipping on all beach towels!"), points of interest, etc. Points of interest emails are my favorite to see because I like seeing what brands are doing besides advertising their summer sales and free shipping deals. It is the wild card category!

Points of Interest: anything interesting!

Back to campus already??

Back to campus emails have been majorly popping up in my inbox since the 4th of July. Seeing school-related emails is a bit bittersweet--it means I'm headed back to Butler University again (yay!) but also that my internship is over (MAJOR boo!). I guess I will just have to ease my pain by buying lots of Vera Bradley school supplies....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend R&R

I could get used to this very quickly!

While my family was trekking in Gatlinburg (I've heard many bruises have been spotted...), I was hanging at Shannon's (my East Coast travel buddy) house for a little weekend fun. I'll take sunning, lounging, and floating over hard-core hiking any day!

Spotted pond-side: a colorful assortment of Vera Bradley towels and flip flops. Seeing Shannon's adorable kids wrapped up in their towels was a great advertisement...we began putting the towels on our wish lists!

Hope Garden Flip Flop and Poppy Fields + Sittin' in a Tree towels

All of the essentials of a summer Saturday were present: a pond, dock, noodles (of the floating variety), hot dogs, watermelon, and guacamole. I headed back to Fort Wayne happy and a little sunburnt... a sign of a great afternoon!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Step into my office...

I thought it was time to share my main Vera Bradley stomping grounds, the office on Industrial Road.

The logo welcomes everyone in!

The Direct Sales department moved to the second floor of Industrial Road right before I started in May, so I wasn't the only one new to the building. How do you know when you've entered web territory? Dim lights for the designers, records playing, and Twitter-speak... check, check, and check!

Steve, Web Creative Director

Emily, Ecommerce Analyst

(From L to R) web designers Mark, Tommy, Nissa, and copy writer Courtney--holding down the fort in the web area.

My desk--I have moved since my first desk picture to be closer to the web action!

One of the great parts of web area is the Inspiration Room. With just a few trips to the craft store, a little bit of organizing, and a touch of wall paper (with the roller thoughtfully regifted afterward), the web team turned a storage room into an inspiring spot.

The latest addition to the room is a giant TV that can hook up to a laptop and display on a larger screen so everyone can see. It has been great for our weekly "Creative Show & Tell" meetings--no more printing!

The decorating scheme: English cottage with a touch of web flair!

"My" boxes have arrived for Open the Box!

I'm currently taking up a small corner in the Inspiration Room with my boxes for the Open the Box project. It's very hard having to keep everything unopened!

Love: a bulletin board that covers the whole wall and this little blog was on an an email!

On another--more musical--note: here's a picture of fellow Industrial Road intern (for Finance) Bret competing in the Battle of the Bands competition last night with his band, Morose. He was great!

Bret on the right... taking a break from the office and hitting the stage!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Intern essentials: Round 2

After the first "Intern Essentials", I started noticing how frequently other things pop up during my week. I guess I really know what I like!

1. An eyelash curler. On some mornings, usually after I stay up trying to catch up on my list of must-read blogs, I am looking a little less than wide awake. This crazy looking contraption may scare off some people, but it's a lifesaver for me!

2. Life in Progress in Loves Me... I like to be prepared for each day's notes and meetings--in style!

3. Zip ID Case in Night Owl & an iPod shuffle. This dynamic duo accompanies me to the gym and on flights. I know my old-school shuffle would make the Apple-savvy web team cringe, but all I need are tunes and I am good to go! (Actually, I think my taste in music would make them cringe too. I haven't heard any Taylor Swift playing on the record player yet...)

4. Gap cardigans, in multiple colors. The office can be chilly--it is best to be prepared!

5. Old Navy Patent Bauble T-Strap sandals. You can find these on my feet probably 3 out of the 5 days at the office. One (minor) con: The baubles can be a bit noisy when I walk around.

6. Lean Cuisines. They are the perfect size for my Let's Do Lunch, and are the reason that I don't starve. It's a good day when these guys are on sale!