Monday, April 16, 2012

Indiana Girl Experience: Vera Bradley Outlet Sale

So, if you're a girl of a certain age (college), especially in Indiana, you know all about Vera Bradley.  Brightly colored bags, purses, wallets and every kind of accessory under the sun.

Vera Bradley is designed and headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN, which is a couple of hours from my house.  Yearly, the company holds a massive warehouse sale with lots of stuff at closeout prices.  Women line up for hours to get the brightly-colored bags are closeout prices.

Vera Bradley is popular all over the country, but it's really an Indiana Thing.  And if you tell me it's not popular all over the country - go to an international airport and look for American tourists.  You'll find them holding the Vera Bradley totes.

And with good reason - the totes are amazing.  They are thick and durable and hold up even in the worst conditions.  Not only that, but after you get tired of them, they are so collectible that you can turn around and sell them on eBay later.  Win win.

So when my friends told me they wanted to go to the outlet sale... I was scared.  I had heard stories of waiting in hour-long lines for massive discounts, and I was scared.

We made the drive to Fort Wayne (my first time ever in this lovely city) and popped out into a line wrapping around the War Memorial Coliseum.   As in, the building that will hold an Elton John concert this Saturday.  This place is massive.

We had tickets for the 11 o'clock session and it was 11 on the dot.  We stood... and stood.  And stood.  I'm not entirely sure what happened.... but we entered the building at noon.  We had until 1:30 pm to shop, so we knew we were at a slight disadvantage.

I walked into the building and the wranglers (and multiple police officers) pointed us in the right direction.  They offered us pink garbage bags to shop with and a map.  My friends declined the map and jumped right in... and I panicked.

There were bags and bags and bags and bags.  And this picture shows what must be the end of a session... when you walk in, it is WALL TO WALL people.  EVERYWHERE.  I couldn't really see anything, or where I was going.

Amateur hour, I should have grabbed a map.  Anyways, I took a quick lap of the building to see where the major swarms were... and then I dove in.  Grabbed a bag for Mr. RH's younger older sister.

I had requests from a couple friends so I went in search of those next.  I finished my shopping within an hour, but I missed a LOT of tables because I got so disoriented.

I grabbed a couple of items for myself, but most of it was for gifts.

One of the big requests was a large duffle (not to be confused for the XL duffle) for Mr. RH's oldest sister.  I have seen my friends tote these duffles for YEARS and YEARS so I grabbed one for myself.  The question is... which one for me and which one for her?  I can't decide.  Tell me which one.  The top one is Folkloric and the bottom one is Tea Garden.  (Original retail price $85, sale price $64, I paid $50.)

Tea Garden is much prettier in person.... but of course I left it at Mr. RH's apartment so I can't snap a pictures for you right now.  Of course.

For Mr. RH's younger sister, I got the Vera bag.  I have one of these totes and it's seriously THE BEST BAG.  I've used it as a school bag, as an overnight bag, a work bag, whatever.  It has pockets and a sturdy bottom and it is the best tote bag I've ever used.  TRUTH.  Only place I'd never take it is the beach... the sand might be too much.  (Original retail $80, sale price $60, I paid $50)

I had an impulse moment and grabbed a wristlet for myself that would hold all kinds of phones and plenty of cards and cash.  It was a rather dumb purchase, since I don't see myself hanging at any football games or dirty bars soon... but you never know.  (Original $42, sale $31.50, I paid $27)

I got Mr. RH's sister and I a large cosmetic bag in this pattern... I just thought it was too cute.

 And then I scooped up an e-reader cover for Mr. RH's mom.  Who has an iPad.  Big, fat, fail.

You win some, you lose some, right??

 I guess my kindle has a new cover??

All-in-all, it was a good experience.  The worst part of the day was waiting over an hour to go inside to a ticketed-session.  As in, I had tickets to enter at 11 am... so I'm not sure why I had to wait outside for an hour.  I realize that buildings have capacities and such... but it seems like that would be factored into the equation.  If a 3 hour session can only hold 700 people... why sell 1000 tickets, ya know?

Weird, but I'm sure it's a kink that will get worked out.  The checkout line, which I had heard was a horror in years previous, wasn't too bad.  I think we waited less than an hour and the line was moving the whole time.

Me, Waiting in Line as captured by @emshrock.

I'm not going to lie... I intended to dress in theme with such a colorful outfit.  I was pretty stoked about this picture.

Soo.... have you ever indulged in any shopping madness??  It was my first time and I as totally unprepared... but I'd soo do it again.

Also, which duffle bag to I keep?  Priorities, people. 

Happy Monday!

15 Classy Comments:

tara said...

Um. Why wasn't I invited?

Funny Guy and His Wife said...

I attended a Vera Bradley sale very similar to this in Atlanta, Georgia a few years ago. You are correct, it is very overwhelming! The sale was in the fall, so it was perfect for me to finish up all my Christmas shopping! I'm secretly waiting for another one to pop up nearby!

Cheerful Homemaker said...

SO jealous you got to go to the sale! I have the big duffle in a retired print (it has bees on it) and LOVE it. I still use it any time we go on a trip.

I say keep the top one, give the second.

Preppy Girl Meets World said...

Thank you so much again for picking up my Betsy for me!

I like the top duffle more. The colors are more vibrant and fun. Also, it seems like it would hold up better in the long run. The other one is just too pale for traveling IMO.

The Java Mama said...

oh my gosh I would have died! My Mom is a Vera Bradley addict she would spazz out!

The Java Mama said...

oh my gosh I would have died! My Mom is a Vera Bradley addict she would spazz out!

Meg @ write meg! said...

I'll admit I've never gotten into Vera, but I can appreciate the shopping craziness over a beloved brand at affordable prices! :) I think it's awesome you went with your friends, and I can definitely see how you'd need a game plan.

Years ago my sister covered a bridal salon's blow-out sale for her TV station. They had to be there at the crack of dawn and were greeted with groups of women wearing matching T-shirts, singing "group" songs, carrying bottles of water, etc. She said it was one of the craziest/most fun things she's ever seen, and couldn't believe the system of bartering that developed! I get a little anxious in crowds, so I'm not sure I could swing that... but I think it does sound cool!

Princess Aurora said...

Keep the Folkloric one :) It is so festive!!! I LOVE my Vera Kindle cover ( got it for 10 bucks at a local sale) ! My bff and I will road trip out to Indiana one day to go to the sale. Til then I will stalk the Vera Outlet that is 14 miles away! Not that I know that off the top of my head or anything.....

Jeanie said...

I'm not enthused about Vera Bradley, either. Now if that had been a Coach sale... That being said, I'm in the minority when I say that I like the second duffle best.

Heather said...

Holy crap!!! That place is Vera Bradley heaven!!!

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

Oh goodness. I was following the sale on Twitter and I'm so jealous that you actually got to go!

Anonymous said...

WOW... you went after it! Totally the top one on the duffel....

Rachel said...

I like the top duffle more!

Also? I totally loved that you dressed the part :)

Tracy said...

I'm dying to go to the outlet sale! One of these years I'll do it!

Folkloric is my favorite. Keep that one!

Did you see that your picture made the Vera Bradley blog?? I think there was a link on twitter. :)

Anonymous said...

Keep the tea garden!

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