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, 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!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lions and tigers and bees--oh my!

My weekend: pulling a giant bee balloon through downtown Fort Wayne and hanging with the orangutans and a baby giraffe. It's not a typical scene in Indiana, but Fort Wayne definitely delivered in the adventure department this weekend!

Colors hits the Three Rivers Festival parade!

On Saturday, I was part of the "bee" colorful Vera Bradley group for the Three Rivers Festival parade. We had quite a lineup: a girls' dance team, people passing out Vera Bradley goodies, the Queen Bee balloon, Majic 95.1 FM, and the fabulous folks from the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Interns Tiffany, Megan, and Karen with Foundation Events Coordinator Lynda and her daughter, Tori.

The Queen Bee is in flight!
(For a full picture of the bee, check out this picture from a previous parade year--I couldn't get a good shot since I was always under it!)

Tethering was a lot harder than I thought it would be! We practiced our "elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist" wave beforehand, but once someone pulled out the gloves for those tethering, I knew my hopes of dazzling waves were gone. Downtown Fort Wayne has a lot of low wires and traffic lights that require special attention when maneuvering a giant balloon! The crowd was great--they warned us of our obstacles and cheered when we made it through.

Our bit of trouble, a tangle in a traffic light, left the crowd on the edge of their lawn chairs. Foundation intern Karen and I ended up getting our lines chopped and thought we were going to get to use our waves until we quickly had to re-grab our lines! Of course, we planned it all for the dramatic effect :)

Karen and Megan, already tethered on the balloon.

On Sunday, I left behind the urban jungle of Fort Wayne and entered the real jungle with my aunt and cousins. They drove up from Zionsville, Indiana, and were excited to check out the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo... and visit me!

Caroline and I are animals at heart!

I can't remember the last time I have been to any zoo, so it was definitely time for a visit. We packed a lunch and were able to catch an otter feeding and an animal show--featuring a goat with a craving for my cousin Michael's zoo map!

One of my favorites, the giraffes.

Bill the lion: taking a catnap in one of the few shaded areas in the African Journey.

It was a great visit and didn't start getting too hot until we hit the African area--which was Fort Wayne's answer to the Sahara Desert! It was the perfect setting for the zebras, wildebeasts, and leopards, but not for four sweaty visitors.

We decided to hightail it to some air conditioning and headed to Jefferson Pointe. My cousin Caroline is a huge fan and she couldn't wait to see the Vera Bradley store. I'm not one to pass up a trip to the Jefferson Pointe store so I was happy to lead the way! (it may or may not have been my 3rd visit to the store in 4 days...)

One very happy girl!

The weekend ended with a delicious trip to Zesto ice cream and a walk around the University of Saint Francis. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend: fun, family, and fro-yo!

Michael giving a thumbs up for candy--and color!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Forget ninety degree weather... fall is here!

Fort Wayne may still be hot, but my mind is on fall... fall colors, that is! Yesterday marked the launch of the new fall 2010 colors and styles, and the Vera Bradley offices were buzzing with excitement--and color!

The Customer Service desks welcomed color with open arms.

Some members of the web team came into the office at 11PM on Wednesday night to get the site ready to go with fall items. They updated and Vera Bradley on Facebook, youtube, and Twitter in the wee hours of the night so when Vera Bradley fans woke up on Thursday, it would be like Christmas fall!

As a treat for their hard work, Dave (of birthday fame) took us to Jefferson Pointe to see the Vera Bradley store and to have lunch. I have been to the store quite a few times this summer and loved seeing new products lining the shelves this time around. My mental wish list grew by the second--I know I will be going back to school in style!

I'd choose Very Berry Paisley any day!

Emily and Nissa enjoy a sweet treat at the candy station.

I loved being a part of the fall launch! The web team did a great job of transitioning the site and it was fun to hear about their late-night adventures (I heard Steak 'n Shake and a meat and cheese tray were involved...) And talk about dedication--they didn't leave until 3AM on Thursday!

The web team at Jefferson Pointe--looking good in our "be colorful" t-shirts (check out other employees sporting color on Facebook!)

Standing tall for Vera Bradley :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Live, Learn, & Intern!"

Was anyone able to catch the Jumbotron shout out to the interns ("Live, Learn, & Intern!") at Parkview Field last night? (Or hear our cheers after we saw the message?)

Vera Bradley definitely had an intern presence at the Tincaps game, the fifth event of the intern program with the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce. We braved the heat to enjoy burgers and mac-n-cheese...and good company, of course!

Thank goodness for the shade!

"Go Tincaps!" Megan was a fan :)

I have to admit--I have been to more baseball games this summer than in the last five years... combined! I think my urge to "root, root, root for the home team" and reconnect with America the Beautiful has definitely grown after being abroad last semester. All of that paella and flamenco dancing now has me wanting to be an all-American girl!

Cam (smiling big!) and his fiancé, Jamie

Brian: "We've gotta do thumbs up." Agreed--I like your enthusiasm!

Kyle, John, and Cam

Monday, July 5, 2010

A very colorful weekend: Southlake, Texas

This weekend, Nissa and I packed our bags and headed to Southlake, Texas for a be colorful event. Vera Bradley was one of the sponsors for the Stars & Stripes event in Southlake Town Square and had a tent full of random acts of color for the crowd!

When Nissa and I arrived, the weather was taking on a color we didn't quite want to see.... dark gray. Locals told us that the weather had been pretty volatile for the last couple of days, and we were probably going to be getting a bit wet!

Unfortunately, clouds were also coming to Southlake!

And then the rain came....

When the crazy weather started, Connie, the assistant store manager at the Vera Bradley store in Southlake, welcomed us to Texas!

Nissa and I frantically moved our boxes of goodies out of the rain--a hard task when you have more boxes than space and everything is WET!

Fortunately, the rain finally stopped. And not only did the rain stop, but the weather turned beautiful! The rain cooled the air temperature (good thing because it was HOT!) and the sun started shining. As the crowds of people started streaming in, we were finally able to set up our tent.

Southlake Town Square: rain or shine!

In addition to Connie, store team members, their friends and family, and friends of other employees volunteered to spread "Random Acts of Color" to the crowds. They were giving colorful lollipops with an offer of saving $10 off a purchase of $50 or more in the Southlake store in July--just in time for the new fall colors coming on Thursday, July 8th! In the tent we had mini bottles of water in Vera Bradley colors and new fall catalogs to get people excited about Vera Bradley.

Colorful ladies in our colorful tent!

Happy street team members (wearing Barcelona--new for fall!)

Spreading "Random Acts of Color" (wearing new fall colors Very Berry Paisley, left, and Hello Dahlia on right)

Despite the bad weather conditions earlier in the evening, tons of people still came to walk around and check out the tents. There were so many things to see, eat, and do: food booths (Chik-fil-A, Dippin' Dots, funnel cakes, and more!), inflatable games for the kids, and face-painting! There was also a live band that kept the tunes coming after the sun went down.

Live music--with dark clouds!

Vera Bradley loves Southlake! We thought we would try to recreate the teaser video... complete with lots of color!

My very tall friend! (with new fall color, Slate Blooms)

Nissa and I...being colorful!

It was really fun getting to talk to everyone who stopped by our booth. We met a woman who was visiting her family but is from Fort Wayne too--and works for Vera Bradley at the Adams Center Road location! I love listening to everyone's connections with Vera Bradley: favorite patterns, recent purchases, and future purchases. We had quite a few husbands and dads that came up to grab a catalog because they knew their mothers/wives/daughters were fans!

Nissa even gave the Chik-fil-A cow a random act of color!

Very cute color recipients

And now, for the main event.... fireworks!

We ended the day with a late dinner and many sighs of relief that the rain didn't ruin our plans! The next morning, we went back to the Vera Bradley store to say bye to Connie and do a little shopping. My purchases: a Ditty Bag in Calypso and Pocket Folders in Carnaby :)

The Vera Bradley store at Southlake Town Square

Then it was back to the airport to fly home to Fort Wayne. By the end of our trip, we had been through four flights in 48 hours, the Texan heat, a downpour in the midst of setting up our tent... and a fun event! Our random acts of color made a lot of people happy--kids got a sweet treat, moms got a sweet deal, and we got to hang out in Texas! It was a definite success for everyone!