Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Vera Bradley Outlet Store

Here's a no-brainer....Vera Bradley handbags are a pretty big deal! This obvious bit of fashionista knowledge has made me a lot of money over the last few years. Admittedly, my fashion sense doesn't go much deeper then that. In fact, sometimes I mistakenly confuse Vera Bradley with the similar sounding, Laura Ashley. This always cracks up my daughter. But in my defense, it's easy to mix them up. Both have the same amount of syllables in their names and kinda sound alike. Just try saying them both out loud and you'll see what I mean. (Pause) See? They practically rhyme!

Once my daughter stops giggling at my fashion mix-up, she'll usually remind me again that Laura Ashley is the broader fashion brand, while Vera Bradley is known for their paisley patterned handbags, purses and wallets. You can find the bright colored bags at specialty stores or Vera Bradley outlet stores. However the one thing my daughter doesn't have to school me on is pricing. I know for a fact that Vera Bradley can be expensive! Given these obvious facts, I make sure I look for Vera Bradley at the yard sales.

It would be really nice if Vera Bradley was as common at yard sales as the ever-present George Foreman grill. But sadly, it's not. The stuff is hard to find. It would also be nice to find it at a reasonable price. A few sellers think that just because Vera Bradley is expensive in the stores, the high price should transfer down to their yard sale table! But finding these bags at the right price isn't impossible. You may get lucky and encounter a husband who unwittingly prices his wife's Vera Bradley for cheap. (If you score a deal like this, make sure to bolt to your car before his wife realizes what happened!) Another option is to bundle several purses together and ask for a lower price. I've done this a few times and usually score a group of Vera Bradley bags for $3 to $5 dollars each.

I kept this one away from the family!
But no matter how you score your Vera Bradley bags, I have some cautionary advise. DO NOT show off your Vera Bradly inventory to friends or family! I made that mistake once and don't plan on doing it again! It happened last summer when I invited family over the house for a picnic. At these get-togethers someone invariably will ask me if I've scored any recent yard sale deals? This has become something of a tradition in my family. Always ready to crow about my favorite subject, I then made the dumb mistake of showing off my Vera Bradley stockpile. Included in my hard earned collection was a very nice backpack. It was so nice in fact, that my sister-in-law took an immediate liking to it! You can probably guess what happened next. Embracing the backpack as if she just pulled it off the outlet store shelf, my sister-in-law asked if she could buy it from me? This was immediately followed by an awkward moment of silence as I tried to figure out my next move. Now don't get me wrong, I've handed out many yard sale finds to various nieces and nephews, but this was different! What if every women in the family asked me for one of my Vera Bradley bags? I mean seriously, who do they think I am....the Vera Bradley outlet store?!

All these thoughts were racing through my head as the entire family stared and waited for my answer. Beads of sweat began to appear on my forehead as I wrestled over what to say. A few of the guys in the family smirked widely, taking perverse pleasure in watching me squirm. The whole anxious moment probably lasted only 30 seconds, but it felt like an eternity! After a quick swig of liquid courage to stall for time, I decided a fair compromise would be to charge my sister-in-law exactly what I paid for the bag. Since the backpack still had the $5 dollar sticker on it, that's what I charged her. My sister-in-law thanked me and happily handed over a five dollar bill. Just that quickly, a potential profit of $30 disappeared into the summer evening. Oh well, that's what I get for bragging I guess. I'll be sure to put myself in verbal lockdown at the next party!

With one bag now gone, I posted the remainder on eBay during the fall and winter months. Probably not the best time of year to sell Vera Bradley, but with more then a dozen stockpiled, I just wanted them out the door. Some were auctioned off in matching sets, while others were sold individually. The purple backpack seen above was a  typical eBay sale for me. I paid $5 dollars for it and sold it on eBay for $32. When all was said and done, I made around $250 in Vera Bradley sales. Pretty good for a guy who can't even get the name straight, right?

Have you done well with Vera Bradley? How about your family? Has anybody ever "shopped" your inventory? Share the saga below....



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12 comments:

  1. I am so new to this that I have never sold a Vera Bradley bag. It's a BOLO for sure. I know that now. I do love the yarns you tell, Dude!

    I've given away a lot of my beloved 70's vintage toys to family, though. When I had multiples, I just felt I needed to spread the love!

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    1. Thanks for liking the "yarn". As I always say, the best stories are the "real life" ones. Guess that's why reality TV is so big right now-Ha!

      Those 70's era toys are a pretty big deal too. I am sure your family appreciate the gifts! Make sure you tell them to be careful playing with them!

      Thanks for checking in...Dude!

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  2. Veras are great! I once went to a garage sale where the lady of the house was a Vera "collector". Most of them were in like new condition and were priced at $5 for the smaller ones and $10 for the larger (tote bag) size. I bough 10 of them. Like you, I couldn't resist showing off my haul and ended up giving one to my mother-in-law. But with a couple of the larger totes selling at $70 each, I still managed to clear good profit. The Vera Bradley website is a good resource - you can research retired patterns and designs http://www.verabradley.com/content/content.jsp?pageName=retiredcolors

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    1. Lynn-You hit a gold mine at that lady's garage sale. Hope I find one like that this season. Thanks for the tip on the retired site, I Am bookmaking it for future reference....Dude!

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  3. I've found about 4 in good condition since I learned about her. I find that people wash them and they get faded so I've had to leave a lot behind. The funny thing is that I had a Vera Bradley bag I was using to carry around odds and ends but since I didn't know who she was until about a year ago I never thought of selling it. I have since sold it for a good profit.

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    1. Veronica-I've notice people washing them too. It's probably not a good idea because some have a hard bottom, which I assume may be cardboard insert?

      Props to you for selling your old Vera. Nice to get some use out of an item then make money on it later, isn't it? An extra bang for the buck for sure!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  4. I have had friends and family "shop" my inventory and, frankly, it gets on my last nerve! However, this past year, my mother-in-law fell in love with one of my yard sale Vera bags and frequently begged me for it. I jokingly told her I'd give it to her for Christmas and she said, Okay, that's fine with me. I had the bag monogrammed for her and just happened to also have a matching checkbook cover, and I ordered a NWT sunglasses case and ID/key chain from eBay. I could tell when she opened everything that she loved them. That $2 yard sale find led to what was probably the best Christmas gift we've ever given my MIL, and it made me feel really good to see her face light up like that!

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    1. Barbara-Excellent idea turning a potential loss into a win-win for you and your mother-in-law! With the "package" you put together, how could MIL not be happy? As they say in the movies, "Well played"!

      Thanks for writing in with your story....Dude!

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  5. OMG, I think that backpack bag is just like the one hanging up down to my local consignemnt shop, I reckon I better git on down there and check it out...

    I see VB at most yard sales, but I never cared much for them for myself, so never paid much attention to them until now!!! Thanks for all helpful info you give us here Dude!

    I love reading your post too!! MUCH MUCH more entertaining than any reality show to me!!

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    1. Kym-Definitely buy that backpack! (As long as the price is right.)

      I am glad you like my adventures. Better then the reality shows? That's the ultimate compliment, thanks....Dude!

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  6. I haven't seen any Vera bags here except at consignment and they are already priced for what I could get on Ebay. I did score a petite miche bag with shell for $5 last summer because the hubby was doing the sale. I sold it for $25 I have noticed though, they don't sell as well as they used to and I'm trying to get rid of my last 3 shells on facebook.

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    1. I have a thrift store that looks up some donated stuff on eBay prior to putting it on the shelf. Then they price the item in line with what they find on eBay. Apples and oranges far as I am concerned. I am sure that's what your consignment shop is doing.

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