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Vera Bradley Case Entrepreneurial Process Review 

Review the Vera Bradley Case Study at the end of Chapter 2.
Compose a minimum of 1,400 words in which you discuss the Vera Bradley Case Study.
Examine what resources were critical to getting the company off the ground.
Elaborate on what conclusions you can draw about the market research and the level of analysis and planning employed by Barb and Pat.
Explain your opinion of the company’s sales and distribution strategy, and its production strategy. Identify feasible alternatives to these, given Vera Bradley’s resources.
Explain your opinion of Vera Bradley’s initial focus on middle-aged and older women and whether this decision will lock it out of expansion to a younger demographic market.
Discuss your opinion of whether Barb and Pat’s focus on company culture is advisable during this early stage of company development and growth. Examine what would happen to the sustainability of that culture if and when the company experiences major growth.
Cite a minimum of 1 peer reviewed reference from the University of Phoenix Library and a minimum of 1 reference from Chapter 2 of Entrepreneurship.









Subject Business Pages 7 Style APA


The entrepreneurial process starts with a triggering event which makes an entrepreneur start a new organization in the quest to pursue a new idea (Gehman & Soublière, 2017). In the Vera Bradley organization, the decision to start a business was triggered by the observations of the founders; Barbara Baekgaard and Pat Miller, in an airport whereby they observed that most of the women waiting for the plane were carrying unattractive bags. As such, the two founders went ahead to start designing new products (bags) to address the problem that they had identified (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2014). However, financial and human resources were vital for the actualization of the entrepreneurship idea. As such, they had to outsource manufacturing and take a loan from a bank. This paper seeks to examine the critical resources which were required to get the company’s started. Additionally, the opinion of the author about the strategies of the company in sales and distribution as well as the production will be provided. Moreover, a judgment will be provided as to whether the focus on the company on middle-aged and older women would lock out expansion to a younger demographic market. Finally, a discussion will be made as to whether the culture adopted by the company is advisable.

Critical Resources

                The two vital resources which were instrumental in Vera Bradley getting off the ground are the financial (capital) and human resources. Notably, at the initial stages, Barbara and Pat required the necessary finances to not only start the business but also deal with the costs of production, design, sales, and sourcing fabric (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2014). After using their savings and borrowing money from their husbands, they realized that it was not enough. As such, they had to obtain a bank loan to get the necessary resources. Additionally, human resources were an instrumental part of ensuring that the organization started well. As such, the founders decided to outsource manufacturing by the utilization of freelance sewers. Although they did the designs by themselves, Barbara and Pat had to look for more skilled human resources who would sew the bags based on the manner in which they (founders) had designed them (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2014). The financial and human resources ensured that the organization could get the necessary materials and personnel to produce products which matched their designs and the market needs.

Conclusions About Market Research and The Level of Analysis and Planning

Market research is vital for entrepreneurs as they get to understand their potential consumers and know whether their entrepreneurship idea has already been implemented in the market. In my opinion, one of the conclusions that I can draw about the market research conducted by Barbara and Pat is that it was effective. In specific, the founders; at first, had to observe women and the various bags that they were carrying and thus came to a determination that the bags were unattractive and needed more colorful ones (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2014). The two founders sent the prototype bags with their daughters to college and thus determined whether their products were liked by the public. Additionally, attending events such as gift shows to test their prototypes enabled both Barbara and Pat to understand the needs of the customers and the nature of reception of their new products. The manner in which they analyzed and planned the market was also effective. In specific, from the perception of the public on the products of Vera Brandley, the two founders ensured that they designed products which matched the needs of the customers.

Company’s Sales and Distribution, And Production Strategy

In my view, whereas the company’s sales and distribution strategy were effective in ensuring that many customers were reached and an increase in sales, the production strategy of outsourcing workers compromised on the quality of products. Notably, the focus of Vera Brandley was on the sales and distribution of limited albeit unique and high-quality bags. The founder began with selling products at shows, contacting store owners, and eventually deploying sales reps who consisted of family members and friends. Such strategies were effective in ensuring exposure to the company’s resources to a variety of audiences. For issuance, the Chicago Gift Show was vital in helping Vera Brandley gain a network of customers. The effectiveness of the sales and distribution channels led to the company growing its revenues from a mere $11,000 in 1982 to $503,000 in 1985, and ultimately $4.8 million in 1990 (see Table 1 below for the revenue growth between 1982-1990).

Fiscal Year 1982 4 months

Fiscal Year 1985 12 months

Fiscal Year 1990 12 months





Cost of Goods




Gross Profit




Selling/Admin Expenses




Income before other Inc/(Exp)



Interest income




Interest expense



State tax expense

Other income/(Expense)



Income before distribution





Table 1: Vera Brandley’s Early revenues and expenses ($000s). Adopted from Bygrave & Zacharakis (2014).

The production strategy of the company of outsourcing the human resources for the design of the fabric was in my view inappropriate and ineffective. Although the company saved on ensuring that the sewers were only sourced when required, it compromised on the standard quality of the bags. One of the feasible alternatives that the organization could have deployed is providing contractual employment to the sewers so that they become part of the organization. Such a strategy would have ensured a standardization of the products quality, increased employee motivation, and ultimately increased productivity (Marvel, Davis, & Sproul, 2016). Alternatively, Barbara and Pat could have sought the local fabric manufacturers who could have provided them with the amounts of fabrics that they required. Using such a strategy would have ensured that they saved on costs that they used in souring for the expensive materials.

Vera Bradley’s Initial Focus on Middle-Aged and Older Women

One of the vital success factors for entrepreneurship is focusing on a specific niche instead of the entire market. In specific, according to Gehman & Soublière (2017), solving the problems of a small but profitable section of a market is vital for entrepreneurs who want to succeed in a competitive business environment. In my view, the initial focus by Vera Brandley on middle-aged and older women was justified because conducting business requires the formation of relationships and the resolution of problems of a certain segment of the market. The idea was good considering that the company was starting and thus focusing on this segment enabled it to pick up. The company had to first fulfill the needs of a specific niche and focus on a specific segment so that; upon evaluating the feasibility of the niche, they would then decide on whether to expand to other segments (Guga, 2013).  Focusing on middle-aged and older women initially was a good idea for the company

It is highly possible that the initial focus on middle-aged and older women could lock out expansion to a younger demographic market. However, once success was established in a particular niche, nothing prohibited Vera Brandley from focusing on other segments of the population. Deploying a business expansion would enable the company to identify the opportunities and perils involved with the provision of its products to the younger women.  Additionally, Gehman & Soublière (2017) note that once the success of the products to the specific niche has been established, the company can then focus on a larger market. However, focusing on the entirety of the market initially would have presented various challenges which would have threatened the success of their idea. As such, in my view, initially focusing on middle-aged and older women did not prevent the organization from expanding their products to focus on younger women.

Barb and Pat’s Focus on Company Culture

One of the vital aspects which can influence the success or failure of an entrepreneurship business is the culture adopted. In my opinion, the early focus by Barbara and Pat on the company’s culture was advisable especially during the development and growth stage of the business. At this stage, it was vital that the workers in the organization worked towards the attainment of a common goal (Guga, 2013). Having an organizational culture was vital in ensuring success as well as the personal satisfaction of the workers. The adoption of a company culture ensured that the workers thought of the company as a family and thus fitted well in the organization (Bygrave & Zacharakis, 2014). The feeling of a family ensured that none of the workers felt that he/she was bossed around and this ensured that they worked hard in the attainment of the targets of the organization. As such, in my view, focusing on the culture of the organization at the stage of development and growth was instrumental in the company getting off the ground.

The culture of the inorganization where the workers felt as belonging to the same Brandley “family” would change and become unsustainable when the company experiences a major growth. Notably, according to Gehman & Soublière (2017), with increased growth, the diversity of the workers would increase as employees would come from different parts. As such, it would be difficult for them to align to one culture. Cultural diversity would lead to the “family” structure type of culture being challenged. Different employees would come with different ideas which might not align with those of others. Moreover, there might be a clash of cultures which would require appropriate management of cultural diversity (Marvel, Davis, & Sproul, 2016). As such, the culture adopted at the initial stages; which was best suited for the small number of workers, will be unsustainable if Vera Brandley experiences a major growth as there will be diverse cultures.

In conclusion, entrepreneurship starts with a triggering idea which calls an entrepreneur into action. In the case of Vera Brandley, the founders were triggered by their observations; while waiting to board a plane, that most women were carrying unattractive bags. As such, they procured the financial and human resources which were critical in getting the company off the ground. Whereas they used personal savings and a loan from a bank as the capital, they outsourced sewers who helped in the production of their bags. The market research done by the founder was effective considering that it enabled them to understand the reception of their products to the market. Additionally, the sales and distribution strategies of using family and friends ensured a rise in the net sales in the years that followed. The focus of the Vera Brandley on company culture in the initial stages of growth and development ensured that the workers were united towards the attainment of the objectives of the company. However, when the company grows, such a culture will be unsustainable considering that there will diverse cultures which might conflict.





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