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Celebrating 40 Years of Vera Bradley With Our Founders

Posted by Ava Kuhn on

It all started with two friends and one brilliant idea ...
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller were traveling together in 1982 when they found themselves at the airport lost in a sea of boring, basic luggage. Their life-changing concept?

On a basement ping-pong table, with cotton fabrics and function-focused designs, America's first travel brand for women was born. A sisterhood of optimistic dreamers and do-ers quickly followed. 

2022 marks 40 years of female-led ingenuity, innovative design and inspired community. We're so excited to celebrate this milestone all year! To kick things off, we hosted an absolutely beautiful beach party with some of our friends that follow the same mission as our founders: to pursue dreams and always share joy.

If you haven't already, be sure to meet the incredible women from our beach party and learn their stories! The entrepreneurial spirit that spans four decades of Vera Bradley is the most amazing encouragement to always follow our hearts and embrace our best selves. 

For even more inspiration, we sat down with our founders to learn a little more about what motivates them to make the world a brighter place.

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard

What is your favorite part of your day?
When I climb into my bathtub at night — no TV, no music or anything — it's my form of meditation. I tell myself, "The day's over, relax, turn everything off." Without a bath, I'm not sure I'd ever sleep!

What does recognizing achievement look like to you?
When I go over my day and reflect on what I've done and what blessings I have: wonderful family and friends!

What is your "why"?
I LOVE what I do. I think there's so much strength in having a purpose to get up in the morning. Any purpose, not even some major event going on ... just another good day with good people. My why is: "Keep going!"

What are you most excited for in 2022?
I'm really excited about a lot of Vera Bradley news! And seeing my little great-grandchild grow. 

Patricia R. Miller

What is your favorite part of your day?
I am a morning person! The first thing I do is read with a good cup of coffee. Then, I make lists of what the day is going to bring forward and try to get those things checked off.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing their path?
Work any kind of job you're able to get, because you're able to understand some things you might not if you didn't have that experience. I've had many, many different jobs and enjoyed always learning something from them. 

What is the most useful skill you've picked up since founding Vera Bradley?
Organization is very important in whatever you're doing! When you organize your schedule, it falls into place easier and you're more efficient.

What are you most excited for in 2022?
I really look forward to seeing family, visiting VB HQ, listening to live music, going to the library ... things that involve community coming together.