Monday, August 15, 2005

Everyone's Favorite Local Company

Linda Lipp on Vera Bradley:

The designs are created in Fort Wayne, but the fabrics themselves are made elsewhere.

“A lot of fabric production, the vast majority, has gone overseas,” said distribution manager Larry Harness.

The fabrics go to a facility in Kansas City for quilting, and then return to Fort Wayne where they are cut into the pieces required for each bag design.

The precise, computer-guided cutting process allows Vera Bradley to produce the components for 17,000 bags per day, Harness said.

The pieces are then bagged and sent on to the contract companies that do most of the sewing. The three biggest are Phoenix and Summit in Fort Wayne and Kam Manufacturing in Van Wert, Ohio — which receives daily shipments from the home office, Harness said.

Vera Bradley’s microfiber and tweed lines, introduced last year, are a somewhat different story. Those are manufactured in China and Thailand, Britton said.

Some of the print bags also are made overseas, although Britton said those account for a relatively small percentage of the total.

The company tries to keep as much of its manufacturing on U.S. soil as possible, spokeswoman Melissa Cordial added.

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