To get an little background information before this little blog takes shape, I went to The Other Place and talked to Sara Berquist, the manager and buyer there. Before I interrupted her and her employees from their work, I took a few moments to stare at the wall in the right corner that is devoted to Vera Bradley and soaked in the colors. It was nice. My eyes liked it. Then I got on with the interview. Here are some tidbits:
Me: Why do you think this stuff is so popular?
SB: People get addicted and excited about the different patterns. They also offer functionality. College students like the wristlets because you can put everything you need in it to just go to the dining hall.
Me: So it’s not really about a trend?
SB: People like it so much because it’s a personal thing. They don’t put it in department stores.You won’t find this at Macy’s. I take it you don’t like it.
Me: No, I do like it. I’m very color-oriented, so it’s something I enjoy looking at.
SB: Well, yeah, and last year water colors were big in clothing, so they came up with a water color print. A lot of it is very personal. Vera Bradley does a lot with breast cancer research…The prints are named after people and their story goes with it.
Afterward, I ventured to The Front Room to interrogate some fellow students. I saw a motley group at a table and asked them all the same question:
How do you feel about Vera Bradley?
“I don’t really care about it. It’s like, ‘Oh, Vera Bradley. OK.’ Brands aren’t a huge deal to me.”
“I like it, but I’m not obsessed with it. I’m not going crazy over it.”
“I don’t have an opinion.”
Me: None at all?
“I didn’t even know what it was ’till like, three months ago.”
“I think it’s a little over-used. Too many people have it.”
“She’s the one that has all the patterns, right?”
After coming home, something occurred to me. Hey, this is an online journalism class, right? Why not make use of the interweb? So I went on facebook and let all my friends know that I was eagerly searching for answers, and got a varied plethora of responses.
Hanna wants to know how YOU feel about “college brands” like Vera Bradley and Northface. Opinions? Thoughts?
“I have a Northface jacket, but I bought it because I know it’s a quality brand… not all people are driven to buy based on fads. Is it wrong for people to buy the same brand of clothes because they are good?”
“I think calling them cliche has become very cliche. But that’s just me.”
“I like Vera Bradley because it is pretty. Even if it wasn’t a trend I would want it if I saw it somewhere because it is pretty… I would also like to comment on Uggs. They are not pretty, and I have found other boots that are equally as satisfying. So… those are stupid and trendy, but I won’t say that I would never buy them, because I am stupid and trendy.”
“I have a Northface jacket. Would I have bought it myself? No. But since it was a gift, yes I will wear it, and it is very very nice and warm.”
“I feel like if I started wearing Northface, I’d feel like every other college student. But I understand that some people do buy them because they are very warm, and not trying to be like everyone else.”
So there you have it – a little insight as to what students are already thinking on this topic, with no help from me. This little Q&A was purely observational.
One thing I noticed, especially from my facebook responses, is that though I asked for their opinions objectively, they assumed that I was coming at the topic from an aggressive standpoint. Just sayin’.