Vera Bradley Handbag Display

These days, the Vera Bradley brand is a very recognizable name. Known for their trademark bright and colorful quilted handbag designs, the brand has successfully become an empire unto itself, and has spawned a thousand knockoffs along the way.

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard - Vera Bradley Origin

But who is Vera Bradley? You'll be pleased to know that unlike many well-known brands out there, Vera Bradley was in fact an actual person. The Vera Bradley Company is named after the mother of one of the co-founders of the company, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. The company started quite literally as a conversation. Back in the 1980s, Baekgaard and her good friend (and soon to be co-founder) Patricia Miller were waiting together in an airport to catch a flight to their shared holiday destination, when they noticed a dearth of feminine luggage options for women. What began as a simple observation became a talking point during their vacation and upon arriving home, the Vera Bradley Company was born within weeks.

The real Vera Bradley, namesake of the company and mother to Barbara, was born August 9, 1909. Bradley was a great beauty in her time, and was even hand-picked by Elizabeth Arden herself to model back in the 1930s. Known to her friends and family to always be fun and colorful, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Baekgaard and Miller would name the company that specializes in fun and colorful handbags and luggage after her. Bradley herself even helped out with the company for a while, working as a sales representative in Miami, Florida, right up until she passed away in the early 1990s. Thanks to her daughter and Miller, her legacy will live on indefinitely.