It's always a weird place for me to be: in a giant space surrounded by a bunch of pretty purses, bags, and accessories made by Vera Bradley. But once again, just for the good readers of the Indiana Insider blog, I placed myself in harm's way, just to get a good story about this annual feeding frenzy of fashion.
Every year, for one week, Vera Bradley sends between 70 – 75 semi container loads of purses that are last year's styles, or out of print, and sell them for crazy discounts. Women come from all over the United States for the sale, starting on Tuesday the 9th. In fact, some of the more fervent fans actually camped out in front of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Monday night, just so they could get in early on Tuesday morning.
Some of the Vera Bradley staff I spoke to said they had 75 women camping out on Monday night. For some of the women who attend, it's a family reunion and vacation. Moms, sisters, aunts, and cousins will all take a week off and head to Fort Wayne to buy all kinds of bags and gear for their friends and family back home.
I didn't see a lot of guys there, but that's to be expected. This is a time for the women to get together and do their thing. The men I did see were either a few of my fellow travel writers, or a few husbands who didn't know enough to tell their wives, "No, that's your thing. That's what you do." They were reduced to pack animals, carrying armloads of bags in pink plastic bags.
Vera Bradley has worked to lighten the traffic load into the Coliseum this year. They have ticketed days and general days throughout the week. The ticketed days are in the early part of the week, while the last few days are general admission days. So when we were there on Thursday, we were there for a ticketed day, and only saw a few hundred people or so. When I've been there in the past, there were many hundreds, if not a thousand or so.
If you're a fan of quilted bags and flower patterned bags, the annual Vera Bradley sale is one not to be missed. Grab your girlfriends, sisters, moms, and daughters. Head to Fort Wayne, leave some extra food for your husbands, sons, and boyfriends, and see what kind of great deals you can find.