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!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So long Midwest... hello East Coast!

This past weekend, my mentor Shannon and I headed to the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area to visit a few stores and help with the opening festivities. It was a big weekend for Vera Bradley--a Vera Bradley store opened in Providence, Rhode Island and an outlet store opened in Wrentham, Massachusetts.

I had never been the northeastern part of the country before, so I was very excited! We flew into Boston and were able to walk around before heading to Providence for the main event, the store opening.

Swans in a row, all lined up and ready to go!

For the Providence store opening, we arrived early to meet the store team and check out the store. The store team was hard at work completing the final details (Loves Me... cupcakes, anyone?) so Shannon and I were able to get the lay of the land.

What a view--the Riverwalk from the store window!

The store was beautiful! Each of the Vera Bradley stores have a similar feel, but have different elements to match the location and the people. The wallpaper, chandeliers, and furniture were absolutely perfect and made the store feel more like a home than an actual store. The store is even able to please male guests: throughout the day, I spotted many guys enjoying the couches while waiting for their shoppers!

L: The calm before the storm. R: full of Vera Bradley fans!

Our first two Twitter winners!

One of the opening activities was a giveaway on Twitter. Vera Bradley (follow on Twitter!) "tweeted" a secret code for fans to repeat at the store opening, and the first five guests who said the code won a gift card. The woman on the right waited for an hour before the doors opened just so she was sure she was one of the first five--I love her dedication!

Shannon and I took a little break from the Providence store and decided to check out a "Coming Soon" Vera Bradley store in Burlington, Massachusetts. We scoped out the mall and met with the mall marketing manager to talk about future plans. She pointed us to the food court to check out ShotCakes, an ingenious family-run company that fills cupcakes with ice cream. We had to try one (for business purposes, of course) and were not disappointed... it was delicious!

Love the Loves Me... barricade!

We got in touch with our wild side at the Rainforest Cafe. Luckily Shannon wasn't phased by whooping monkeys and blinking elephants!

On Saturday, we headed to Newport, Rhode Island on the recommendation of store and opening manager Deb. Deb is pretty awesome and said Newport was one of her favorite places, so we wanted to check it out for ourselves.

At the start of the Cliff Walk--we walked all of the way past the point in the distance!

Our mission in Newport: find the big mansions. Newport is called "America's First Resort" and has the summer "houses" of American royalty such as the Vanderbilts, the Kennedys, and the Astors. We walked the Cliff Walk, a path along the water that showed the ocean-facing backs of the mansions. It was beautiful!

A few examples of the "humble abodes" along the Cliff Walk.

After plenty of oohing and aahing, we headed back to Providence to organize the street teams. Shannon had gathered a few local girls to pass out free gifts to mall visitors and invite them to the store. We gave our gifts in style, wearing Loves Me... shirts and carried enormous Loves Me... bags! It was really fun to see people get excited about receiving a gift and the store opening. Providence has great Vera Bradley fans!

Providence was having their Waterfire celebration on Saturday night so we planned on catching the crowds that were watching the bonfires being lit on the river. Unfortunately the weather had other plans... we venture outside for about thirty minutes and ended up soaked!

We didn't let a little water ruin our fun! (I am on the far right)

Our final destination was Wrentham, Massachusetts on Sunday to visit the new outlet store. I was very happy to see some of my favorite recently retired patterns. I stocked up on Night Owl for future sorority presents (owls are one of our symbols!) and to contribute to the good of the store :) The prices were great and the apron-ed staff looked very cute!

Vera Bradley has hit Wrentham!

So much Vera Bradley!

It was such an awesome weekend! Shannon was a blast to travel with and I was really lucky to see so many "behind the scenes" steps for the stores. The amount of work and detail everyone contributed definitely paid off in beautiful stores and very successful openings!

1 comment:

  1. VB should consider adding TVs with ESPN along with the couches for the men. The content men will allow for longer shopping time which will result in more VB purchases.