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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

How I Landed My Dream Internship at Vera Bradley

It seems that everywhere I go these days, I find myself bragging about my fabulous summer internship at Vera Bradley. The question everyone seems to have, whether it’s my friends at Butler, my family or new acquaintances, is, “How did you get that job?” So, here are five helpful tips from Human Resources to help you land a wonderful internship or position at Vera Bradley, or anywhere really!

  • Research the internship program. Since you are reading my blog, you are already initiating this process! Our blogs (Inside Stitch and Behind the Seams) give some great information about the program. Research is such an important step, because not every internship program is made the same, so you need to know what kind of opportunities you will have. In the case of Vera Bradley, you are getting yourself into the best summer internship imaginable … but I’ll admit I’m slightly biased. My research also meant asking Libby (the 2010 Vera Bradley intern blogger) every question I could think of! (She was so sweet and helpful, of course!)

  • Research the company and the position. You want to be as knowledgeable going into the interview stage. By knowing what the job will entail, it will be much easier for you to apply your own skills and knowledge to that position. Also, it always looks good when you know what is happening in the industry, or what new products the company is introducing.

  • Dress for success. Make sure that you are comfortable yet professional, and keep in mind that it is always better to be dressier than casual. Also, remember that the better you feel about yourself, the better you will do in your interview! (I even dressed up for my phone interview with Vera Bradley).

  • Take the interview seriously. This also goes for how you act before and after the interview, from scheduling, to being prepared and bringing extra resumes, and following up with a “Thank You” email or note.

  • Be yourself! By being true to yourself, you will be doing a favor to both you and the company. They want to make sure that you will fit in with the company culture, and you should as well, because you don’t want to be somewhere that you won’t be happy in the long run.

By doing all of these things, who knows, you might be one of Vera Bradley’s next interns!

The 2011 Vera Bradley interns.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

College Life vs. Vera Bradley Life

No matter what I do, I can’t escape the thought that I only have three weeks left here at Vera Bradley, and then I go back to school. It is so bittersweet, because I love working here and living in Fort Wayne, but I am definitely looking forward to returning to Butler for my senior year and reuniting with my sorority sisters (shout out to the Alpha Phis!). As the time to transition grows nearer, I can’t help but draw some comparisons ...

  • At Vera Bradley, I'm at work every day by 8:30 am. At Butler, my earliest class is at 11 am. Factor in driving time and the time it takes to get ready for work compared to how long it takes to get ready for class (cute outfit vs. sweats), and I'm looking at 3 extra hours of sleep come fall.

  • At Vera Bradley, I have no homework, which is a beautiful thing. At Butler, I have lots of homework that I tend to work on until the wee hours of the morning, which is not a very beautiful thing (and negates the above bullet point).

  • At Vera Bradley, I am surrounded by beautiful bags, prints, and adorable office supplies all day every day. At Butler, I am surrounded by my own Vera Bradley collection (that has increased in size dramatically this summer), books, more books and not-so-cute office supplies.

  • At Vera Bradley, I love talking with my co-workers all day long, because they are tons of fun. At Butler, I love talking with my roommates all day long, because they are tons of fun. (I guess some things aren't so different!

  • At Vera Bradley, I love Fridays because they are nice enough to provide breakfast for us, and we never know what we are going to have, whether it's breakfast burritos, waffles or something as simple as granola bars. At Butler, the cook at my sorority house makes us breakfast every morning, but you have to wake up early enough to eat it (a rather difficult task for me - refer to the first bullet point).

I’m going to miss all of the little Vera Bradley special touches, like these Call Me Coral Napkins...

I could go on and on about the things I’ll miss about working here, but since I still have three weeks left, I am just going to spend my time enjoying every moment. And since free time is pretty hard to come by during the school year, I am going to do everything possible to appreciate my free nights and weekends … and all of the fun things that I get to do with that free time, like going to the Three Rivers Festival with my roommate, Kelley!

Downtown Fort Wayne during Three Rivers was so colorful!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Surfing the Web ... It's all in a day's work.

My main project for the summer is basically the dream of any soon-to-be job-seeking college student (like myself). I am working with Human Resources to research and develop a social media strategy for recruiting, observing what kind of cool new methods other companies are implementing. The best part of this job is that my research consists of looking at company websites, twitter accounts, LinkedIn profiles, facebook pages and YouTube accounts all day long. Lately, I’ve been too busy to keep up with my research, but now that our presentations are going to be here oh so soon (exactly two weeks from now) I have to make time so I can be fully prepared to explain what’s going on in the exciting world of recruitment.

Here is a little peek of what I’ve been working on …

twitter – Lots of companies are using their twitter feeds to publicize job openings in addition to sharing information about their culture or their employees, so I follow anyone and everyone from our main competitors to companies like Starbucks and Google. One thing I’ve learned: Recruiters love to tweet … all the time.

So many tweets, so little time ...

YouTube – Some companies are using YouTube to promote their company culture and the organization by posting videos of company events and employee profiles showcasing what they love about their jobs. (How cool is that?!)

Since I’m a marketing major, all of this research is showing me how many different ways social media can be used for one company. Also, I will begin looking for my first post-grad job rather soon, and I’m learning how to be as thorough as possible when preparing for an interview. Most people long for the time to invest in this kind of research, and I’m lucky enough to have it be my job!

I couldn’t end this post without a shameless plug for Vera’s company culture or our open jobs … so check out the official Vera Bradley blog, Inside Stitch, for some fabulous posts about life at Vera Bradley, and be sure to stop by our Careers page to see what openings we have at our home office and in our retail stores!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Back-to-School Wish List

Since my first day at Vera Bradley, I have been forming a mental Wish List with all the things I would like before I go back to Butler in the fall. Quite a few items have been added to this list in my frequent trips to our Signature store at Jefferson Pointe, and since the new items for Fall 2011 were released. Right now, however, it’s pretty solid. Care to take a peek?

  1. Umbrella in Happy Snails- I can't wait to walk around campus on rainy days with this cheery print, and splash in puddles with matching red rain boots (that I have yet to purchase).

  2. 2012 Agenda in Plum Petals– This will be my third Vera Bradley planner, and I can’t wait to start mapping out my schedule in it!

  3. Saddle Up in Twirly Birds Navy - I love crossbody bags, and this one is just big enough to carry my Agenda, water bottle and anything else with me as I’m running around campus. I chose Twirly Birds Navy so I can show off my Bulldog pride at every football and basketball game with my Vera Bradley!

  4. Under Cover Laptop Skin in Happy Snails– As if I don’t have enough Vera Bradley already, I obviously need to wrap my laptop in it. Hey, technology can be cute, too!

  5. Laptop Sleeve in Twirly Birds Navy – I have been hoping for one of these for months to match my main school bags, which are Happy Snails and Blue Rhapsody, respectfully.

  6. Zip ID Case in … – Each year I get a new ID case when I start school (it is my tradition), and this year I can’t decide which color I want. My instinct is Happy Snails, but part of me wants to branch out and get it in Safari Sunset. Oh the dilemma!

  7. Ribbon Board in Lemon Parfait – Almost everyone at Vera Bradley has a ribbon board at their desk, and I think that it would look great in Lemon Parfait in my room at school, or at my desk until my internship is over!

What is on your back-to-school Wish List? We would love to hear about what you’re taking to campus! (I might even have to borrow your ideas.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Potluck Dinner ... Intern Style

This week, our intern dinner was a huge success! We chose a Potluck theme and asked everyone to bring their favorite dish. We made it even more interesting by making it a competition (with the prize being a feature on Behind the Seams, of course). I wish we would have done this sooner, since it shaped up to be one of the best dinners I’ve had in awhile. Since we are, let’s face it, a bunch of college kids, we decided not to put the stipulation on the contest that it had to be homemade, hence the watermelon, or prepared by anyone specific, which led to a few entries by interns’ Moms.

The entries, including ice cream cake, meatball sandwiches and fettuccine alfredo.

My dish for the evening – a Make-Your-Own Macaroni and Cheese Bar – was actually inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman. I’ll admit it … I used a box to make the Mac n’ Cheese and used different toppings than she did, but it was still delicious.

My Make-Your-Own Macaroni and Cheese Bar with tomatoes, green onions and extra cheese toppings.

The day after our get-together, I had all of the interns who attended vote on their favorite dish. And the winner was … Abby, the E-Commerce intern (who you might recognize from our Communities page)! She made some delicious Black Bean Salsa that changed my life (and everyone else’s, I’m sure), and she was kind enough to share the recipe, so you all can try some too!

Abby’s Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • Juice of 1/2 lime

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can corn, drained

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Tortilla chips, to serve

  1. In a large bowl, combine the bell peppers, onion, corn, black beans, garlic and cilantro.

  2. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper.

  3. Toss and serve with chips.

I’m already planning to make this fabulous dish for a family get-together we are having the weekend of my sister’s wedding! It is the perfect complement to a hot summer day, and it tastes great either with chips … or even without, so give it a try!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happiness is Contagious at Vera Bradley

At Vera Bradley, there’s always something fun going on. This is, in large part, thanks to our Happy Committee, a group of people from across the different functional areas within the company who work together to plan activities that bring employees together. Since we span four different corporate buildings in Fort Wayne, the Happy Committee really does help add to our company culture, and exemplify several of our core values.

All of these events, several each month, are non-work related. A few weeks ago, we were surprised with ice cream sandwiches, followed by a drawing in each building for items from the new Fall collection. I have to admit, my favorite was definitely the ice cream. Not only were they my favorite ice cream sandwiches (Skinny Cow), but it also came right before Fourth of July weekend. Who doesn’t like to kick off a long weekend with a sweet treat?

Happy Committee member Amanda (pictured second from the left), with Human Resources’ Angela (pictured far left), Ryan and Jill.

Even though I did not attend the recent Happy Committee golf outing, four other interns did, and had a great time, despite winning the “Slowest Team” award. Held at the beginning of the summer, it was a great chance for them to meet more people. After they (finally) finished playing, the committee hosted a barbecue dinner with prizes, like Tote bags!

Michael, Kelley, Shelby and Taylor representing the interns at the golf outing.

Striking a pose.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why I Love Being an Intern at Vera Bradley

Each week, the Vera Bradley interns have the opportunity to meet with and learn from representatives from the various areas of the company. While I’ve enjoyed all of the presentations, the last two have definitely been my favorites.

Last week, we had lunch with our Co-founders, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller, two of the most classy and driven ladies that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Even though we’ve all heard the Vera Bradley story countless times, we asked that they tell us their own account of it, since they were the ones building this company from the ground up. It’s clear they have been so successful because they are first and foremost friends. They began their company by hiring more friends and eventually ended up with this amazing company culture.

A few weeks ago we had my favorite presentation yet, at the Vera Bradley Store at Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne. I am a frequent visitor, so I loved having an excuse to be there during work hours. Not only was it interesting to hear about how they create the customer experience, but we also got to shop around when it was all done (talk about a great day at the office)!

All of the interns, the Assistant Store Manager Julie (pictured second from the right), and the Store Manager Debora (pictured far right).

Debora, explaining the visual merchandising aspects of the store.

We had the chance to ask questions, so I had her explain new product releases.

It was a great day at Jefferson Pointe for all of us (note the beautiful bags)!

As we were leaving, the Vera Bradley truck was arriving. I wonder what beautiful things are in there ...

Thinking back to all of the presentations we have had, I realize my summer at Vera Bradley is more than halfway over. We only have three weeks of these presentations left, and then we give our own presentations about our summer projects. The group we will be presenting to includes the entire Human Resources team, Barb and Pat, the Executive Team and all of the mentors. It’s going to be a full house! It feels so bittersweet to be thinking of going back to school already, because I’m definitely missing all of my friends at Butler, but I’m not ready to leave my internship yet. It’s been entirely too much fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Living in Fort Wayne and Loving Every Minute!

Since moving to Fort Wayne almost two months ago, I've been having a great time finding my way around the city. I've been enjoying the "Hoosier hospitality" you hear so much about, and venturing out with college friends from the area and other interns. We've crammed in quite a bit of the city in a very short time.

On one of my first weekends in Fort Wayne, there was an art exhibit opening at ArtLink Contemporary Art Gallery including a piece by my sorority sister, Haley. As a unique twist, everything on display was related to Sharpies! There were paintings of Sharpies, paintings created with Sharpies, and my personal favorite, shoes decorated using Sharpies (Haley's exhibit). It was so inspiring.

Haley and her shoes – what a work of art!

Going to TinCaps games has become almost a weekly tradition for my roommate, Kelley, and me. In fact, this week we have already been to one game, and we are planning another tonight! We love getting together with the other interns and spending evenings at Parkview Field, where we can just relax and enjoy the beautiful summer nights. It takes me back to my days as the varsity baseball stats keeper in high school. Only now, I can make trips to the concession stand whenever I want!

What a beautiful night for baseball!

The Vera Bradley interns, all hanging out at the TinCaps game!

This weekend is one of my first weekends here with no plans, and I can't wait to see what we end up doing. My to-do list includes visiting Yo-Yos (a frozen yogurt hotspot), DeBrands Chocolates and Cookie Cottage - all Fort Wayne originals, and all so delicious!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

An All-American Intern Dinner

Every week, my roommate Kelley and I host a dinner for all of the Vera Bradley interns. To make the evenings festive, we always designate a theme. So far we've covered Taco Night, Lasanga Night and, this last week, we celebrated the Fourth of July a few days early with a traditional American cookout (if it is still considered a cookout when everything is prepared on a George Foreman grill ... inside). Our spread was rather impressive, with baked beans, fruit, pesto burgers and more. Everyone pitches in with a covered dish, which makes for variety and phenomenal leftovers.

Michael, the Continuous Improvement intern, showing off his skills in the kitchen making macaroni and cheese.

Kelley and I - the hostesses!

There are 17 summer interns, and at one time, we had 15 people in our apartment. While the space is plenty for just Kelley and me, it can get a little tight with so many guests. This issue, and the fresh air, certainly make our deck the most desirable destination.

Michael, enjoying his hamburger and our comfortable Adirondack chairs.

 After dinner the group lingers until someone remembers we all have to get up early for work in the morning. The time just goes so quickly; watching YouTube videos (which leads to countless inside jokes), talking about our departments and playing games. Last week, we played Spoons (though we substituted corks for the spoons, for safety and convenience purposes). The game became pretty intense. I guess this batch of interns is competitive!

Everyone listening intently to the rules of Spoons.

The calm before an intense round.

This new tradition has turned into the perfect way for us to bond outside of work and get to know the interns that work in other buildings or departments. Next up ... Appetizer Night or Chinese. My stomach is growling just thinking about it!