When it comes to office chatter, everyone knows the best conversation takes place at the lunch table. It’s a great excuse to step away from your desk and dish on weekend plans, pop culture shockers and all the happenings of the day. It’s the place where coworkers become friends.
With this in mind, we invited a handful of lovely ladies from Vera Bradley to grab their favorite lunch bag style and gather around a midday meal to chitchat about their jobs, their interests and aspirations, and anything else that happened to be on their mind.
On the guest list:
Q. So, who’s been here the longest?
JR: I think that would be Kim!
KM: Could be; It will be six years in November.
CL: Today is my one year and six month anniversary!
JR: I’ll be at six years in December.
Q. What’s been your favorite part about working at Vera Bradley?
JR: Gosh, seeing the growth of the line. When I started here, they introduced four new colors, twice a year. To see us now … it’s very cool.
KM: Yeah, we didn’t have any retail stores. So, for me, watching the excitement of our customers coming in and experiencing the lifestyle side of the brand is awesome. I’ve been able to see that unfold from the beginning.
Q. Are you originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana?
CL: I’m from Bowling Green, Ohio, a semi-small college town, so I’m not too far from home. I was a summer intern with Libby two summers ago (2010) and then I moved back to Fort Wayne after I graduated college.
LB: I’m from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, about four hours south of Fort Wayne.
NH: I grew up right outside of Atlanta in a suburb called Roswell.
LB: And you lived in Paris! I think that’s the coolest thing ever.
NH: I did! I lived in France for two years and Paris for a year right before I moved here. It was an interesting transition, but I love it.
JR: Do you speak French?
NH: I still have so much to learn, but I can speak it somewhat fluently. I can definitely read or eavesdrop and understand. My Dad’s whole family lives in the south of France.
JR: Did you study French in school?
NH: Yeah. You think you know a lot until you’re there. You have to learn very quickly.
Q. Any good concerts on your summer agenda?
NH: I’m going to see Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney in Indianapolis. We’re actually going to do The Color Run that morning and then go.
NH: I hear you’re not thinking about running; you’re just thinking about getting colorful!
JR: Have you guys heard of the zombie run (Run For Your Lives)? People chase you. Monsters … zombies … they dress up and chase you. How freaky would that be? We actually went into a real haunted house on a shoot a few years ago. It was this old plantation, and a family member still lives there. It was the weirdest thing ever. No, thank you!
Q. What’s your favorite new Back to Campus item?
JR: The Throw Blanket.
LB and NH: I was just going to say that!
KM: That thing is so soft.
NH: The Bath Wrap is really cute. I’d wear it as a beach cover up, too.
CL: I’m excited for the new Student Agenda. I could be the spokesperson for that thing! I have to write everything down, put the stickers on there, everyone’s got a sticker for their birthday … Now my life can continue.
JR: Now, do you need to be a student?
CL: It’s more fun and whimsical. I love the layout of it.
LB: The new Mini Hipster with the adjustable strap. That’s going to be a good one.
Q. What does a night out look like for you?
NH: Grabbing a bite at a new restaurant and then going to a concert, probably carrying an All in One Wristlet. I can fit everything in there and still dance.
CL: I like the Lizzy for a night out. I’m a crossbody fan.
KM: I love being outside. And I always carry a wristlet, especially on the weekends.
JR: Oh, I just love the Clutch Wallet.
CL: That’s my go-to wedding style!
Q. If you could bring back one color …
Q. What are your favorite creative outlets?
NH: Pinterest or Tumblr.
JR: Yeah, Pinterest and We Heart It, this great site with beautiful images.
KM: I love party stuff, so I always look at Style Me Pretty.
CL: I go to two blogs every day. It’s my ritual. Cupcakes and Cashmere and Atlantic Pacific. My creativity is fueled when I bake, too.
LB: I feel like I know these bloggers. Cupcakes and Cashmere’s wedding …
CL: Oh, forget about it! And the book; the book ships early.
KM: Wait, what is this?
CL: Her name’s Emily Schuman, she’s gorgeous, she bakes … you’ll love it.
Q. What was your first piece of Vera Bradley?
LB: A Hipster in Bermuda Blue. It was a high school graduation present.
NH: I got a Large Duffel. I bought it in this little shop in Roswell when I was 14. I had to have it.
JR: My Grandmother gave me a Handbag in Nantucket Navy. I still have it.
KM: I got a Garment Bag for graduation.
CL: I received a piece of turquoise microfiber. I can’t even remember the style, but I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread!
Q. If you could try one other role at Vera Bradley for a day, what would it be?
NH: Either the blog or a Liz on Location.
CL: We’ll see ya soon!
JR: Go ahead, Natalie, practice it.
NH: I’m coming to you from Fort Wayne, Indiana!
JR: Well, you’d be Natalie on Location, NOL.
LB: Something in Merchandising, like what Kim does. Setting up the stores.
CL: I just want to shadow [CEO] Mike Ray for a day. That would be so fun to see his daily interactions with all the parts of the business.
KM: Picking the actual colors for the stores. I set them up, but I feel so inspired by how our people put the whole thing together. It’s always perfect.
JR: Something with pattern design. I’m so inspired by color and I’d love to see the process of how it evolves; all the tweaking. It could be so interesting.
LB: I just want to go on a trend trip to Paris!
Q. What TV program are you loving?
NH: Mad Men.
JR: I love The Pitch on AMC!
KM: Mine was the Bachelorette …
LB: Are you Arie, Jef or mourning Sean?
KM: Mourning Sean.
LB: Me, too. He broke my heart with his goodbye.
JR: So You Think You Can Dance, too.
NH: Oh, my childhood dream was to be a backup dancer. I took hip hop for a year when I was 12. I always thought, I should have started earlier!
JR: I started young, and it still wasn’t going to happen. We actually got to watch some auditions at the Fox Theatre once when our flight got delayed.
CL: I love the news, the weather. My second calling was to be a meteorologist. I’ve always had a knack for the weather.
A special thank you to all of the ladies who joined us for Table Talk at the Vera Bradley Design Center.