The Story Behind the Lisa B Handbag
Fort Wayne, Indiana (March 23, 2009) — At Vera Bradley, naming our bags is an integral part of the design process. We find inspiration in many places, including family and friends, just as we did with the new Lisa B.
We receive many letters, but one from Kathie B about her niece, Lisa B, really touched our hearts. Following the birth of her daughter, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. She bravely fought the disease, regaining her health and giving birth to her second healthy child. But soon after, Lisa’s cancer returned. Sadly, she lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 40.
Kathie’s poignant letter included stories of Lisa’s long days of cancer treatments that often ended with a stop by the hospital gift shop for some Vera Bradley to brighten her day. “Visiting the hospital gift shop for Vera Bradley items after chemotherapy appointments is what kept Lisa going,” says Kathie.
Because Vera Bradley brought her so much happiness, we thought naming a bag in Lisa’s honor would make a fitting tribute. Our design team took the letter along with photos of Lisa and designed a bag specifically in her honor. The team learned what kind of straps she liked, what kind of design she preferred and what details she enjoyed, and created the Lisa B bag, which has become a new fan favorite. Lisa had a collection of Vera Bradley bags, including her favorites the Vera, the Tote and the On the Go. “The Lisa B captures Lisa perfectly,” says Julie B, Lisa’s mother. “It has all the features she loved – the one strap, pockets on the inside and out – and hangs nicely. In fact one of her girlfriends said the front zipper pockets at the angle remind her of Lisa who used to always stick her hands in her pockets when she was thinking.”
The Lisa B not only honors Lisa’s extraordinary life, but also recognizes countless women around the world who are fighting breast cancer. “It’s so special that Vera Bradley and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer is honoring these women and their families and doing so much to try to find a cure,” says Julie.
“Lisa was just so grateful for everything,” says Kathie. “She’s the one who got everyone involved with Vera Bradley. The first bag I ever bought was the Betsy in the New Hope pattern. It meant so much to her that that’s the one I picked, as it was a breast cancer pattern. Now I carry the Lisa B in Hope Garden, Java Blue and Yellowbird.”
This year, Lisa’s mom, aunt, sisters and cousins will be volunteering at the Vera Bradley Classic Women’s Golf and Tennis Tournament. “We’re so excited to be coming and helping out in any way we can,” says Julie. “Lisa fought the cancer as best she could,” she adds. “The cancer got the best of her, she’s not the first and won’t be the last. But I know she’s thrilled now. She’s dancing on clouds about this all and is probably already designing the next bag with Vera Bradley herself.”