A big thank you to TDW for a blurb about Vera Bardley and her outsourcing to China. I was absolutely amazed when I read the post. And, not one to believe things without checking them out, I researched and found that others had posted online that they, too, had looked at their labels and found that yes, indeed, the labels say:
MADE IN CHINA
Still incredulous and somewhat skeptical about those statements online, I looked at the two items I had received as gifts. The first was a huge duffel bag I had received a couple of years ago. It said “Made in the USA.” Then I looked at my second, smaller bag – also a gift but received within the last year. The label had been slit with scissors right on the name “China”, but it did, indeed, say:
MADE IN CHINA
I have been so accustomed to thinking of Vera Bradley as a company totally devoted to maintaining jobs for Americans and right here in Fort Wayne, that the thought never crossed my mind that this icon of Fort Wayne fame and charity would make such a blatantly profit-making decision.
Vera Bradley’s president and CEO is former Indiana Department of Commerce Secretary Patricia Miller (left in the above photo), who helped lead a state trade mission to Asia from July 30, 2005 to August 7, 2005. Is it just possible she was making “deals” for herself while she was there? Or were the negotiations already in progress? How does one go about making plans to outsource American jobs?
After all, the duffel bag I received in 2006 still said “Made in the USA” while the handbag I received in 2007, 1 1/2 years later, said “Made in China.” Just about the right amount of time between a visit and a switch to outsourcing.
The Vera Bradley website touts locations where its handbags have been spotted. Now the company can not only say “spotted in China” but also “Made in China.”
The website also states:
Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Vera Bradley continues to remain steadfast in our commitment to excellent quality, exclusive designs and dependable customer service.
Committed to many things but not the American worker.
And here is a statement from SCORE:
Today, Vera Bradley Designs’ 75 employees produce over 800 products from a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing center in Ft. Wayne.
I suggest SCORE change its statement to include the locations in China which now make Vera Bradley items. Just to be fair about this, I do not know how many of the Vera Bradley products have been outsourced to China. But with every outsourced product, go American jobs.
Don’t look for the outsourcing of Vera Bradley items to lower product prices either. Visit the website, and it will be quickly apparent that prices have not dropped. The duffel bag in the picture above from eBay has a price tag of $139.95. The one I received as a gift – exactly the same but a different pattern – cost $85.00. Not only are prices not any cheaper at the website, the annual Vera Bradley sale at the Coliseum has simply become a way for women to show up, buy a large quantity of Vera Bradley products, and then proceed to overprice them on eBay.
So all you Vera Bradley obsessives out there, dig out those handbags and check the labels. Maybe you don’t care if Vera Bradley items are made in China instead of here, but, if you do, then you have the power to make a choice and commit to not purchasing any more Vera Bradley products.