Vera Bradley Case Entrepreneurial Process Review Assignment Instructions
Compose a minimum of 1,400 words in which you discuss the Vera Bradley Case Study.
- Examine what resources were critical to getting the company off the ground.
- Elaborate on what conclusions you can draw about the market research and the level of analysis and planning employed by Barb and Pat.
- Explain your opinion of the company’s sales and distribution strategy, and its production strategy. Identify feasible alternatives to these, given Vera Bradley’s resources.
- Explain your opinion of Vera Bradley’s initial focus on middle-aged and older women and whether this decision will lock it out of expansion to a younger demographic market.
- Discuss your opinion of whether Barb and Pat’s focus on company culture is advisable during this early stage of company development and growth. Examine what would happen to the sustainability of that culture if and when the company experiences major growth.
Vera Bradley Case Study Discussion
Over the years, market analysts and business pundits have been keen on underscoring the importance of obtaining the necessary resources for any start-up in order to harness their full potential to build a brand. This is mostly because it represents a learning curve for the business owners where they could soon gain vital knowledge on proper planning when working with a set of variables for the ultimate success of their enterprise. It is vital to acknowledge that the first resource they had was the ability to generate ideas. In essence, ideas are everything. Viewing an idea as a resource is usually the first step towards the development of a successful enterprise owing to its potential for a successful outcome. Standing at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport during the hustle and bustle of the afternoon activities, the two ladies were able to develop an idea that would forever change the course of their lives. After observing the utilitarian garment bags, they were both in agreement that the market was in need of a breath of fresh air. They planned to do this by revolutionizing the cottage industry by producing bags that were essentially more attractive. Their singleness of purpose and drive, therefore, meant that they were poised to creating a design that was both trendy and inexpensive, with every single individual being able to afford it.
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Secondly, Barb and Pat took the initiative to visit the local fabric shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana where they were certain that they would obtain material that would be essential for creating the first prototypes. It was at Joan Fabrics that they were fortunate enough to obtain material with a wide array of colors, shapes, and sizes which they would eventually use to create their look. Thirdly, the working space that they had in this home-based venture was an asset and a contributing factor towards their brand’s success. It was here that they had the time and space to come up with their creations, before producing them at a larger scale
Researchers have often pointed out that market research is an integral factor that all persons seeking to establish enterprises need to look into. This is because it ensures that the entrepreneurs are better placed to make sound decisions to avoid succumbing to huge losses (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 78). Moreover, they also need to have a feel of the market to know exactly whether their products would do well or slump once released them to the consumers. The main reason why this is the case usually has to do with the investments that would be made towards making the venture fruitful. It would be largely unnecessary and a lapse of judgment for persons to spend huge sums of money to set up a business, all for it to fail in spectacular fashion. In most cases, such individuals take huge sums of money as loans meant to finance their businesses. Failure would, therefore, mean that they would be left reeling from such a loss with some even edging on the brink of bankruptcy. It is therefore commendable that Barb and Pat painstakingly decide to properly plan their introduction to the market, especially considering that they were new entrants. What was even more important than the planning phase was ensuring that the feedback they received about their products was unbiased since this was the only sure way of knowing whether they were in the right line of business. Keeping information about their business venture from their closest acquaintances was a strategic move meant to ensure that they received honest opinions about their products. Using “Vera Bradley” as the brand name, consequently, served them well since they now had a perfect opportunity to gauge the public’s reaction to their product in addition to knowing their target market. Additionally, Barbra’s strategy of sending prototypes to her college daughters was ingenious since they were now able to showcase the product to a different type of audience and assess their reaction. It is only after carrying out their market research that they decide to seek additional funding from their husbands to aid them in growing their brand.
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From the onset, Barb and Pat acknowledged
that their cottage industry was, in essence, a small scale company and had to
adopt strategies to fit their present circumstances. They began first by
designing their fabric patterns at home to ensure that the finished product was
actually what they had in mind all along. By so doing, they succeeded in
creating bags that had their own personal touch, a factor that would contribute
greatly to the success of their brand. Both were aware that this was their
brainchild and therefore had to do all that was within their power to ensure
that they succeed in producing products that they envisioned. Even though it is
commendable that they wanted to actively contribute towards ensuring that their
consumer goods were of top-notch quality, such an approaching would clearly be
tasking. This is because their initial objective was to produce a sizeable
number of bags within a relatively short period, which would only be possible
if they increased their efficiency. It
is, however, commendable that they soon became aware of this impending debacle
and went forward outsource partners who would assist them in sewing the cut
fabric into finished products. A feasible alternative to this particular
challenge would have been to hire apprentices whom they would train on how to
design the bags. They would, therefore, use the extra time that was in their
hands to market their products to willing buyers and in the process improving
their product’s standing. Initially, Vera Bradley products were distributed
using networks that were created by their
initial clients. These first customers were expected to introduce those around
them to this particular product which would ultimately provide a steady flow of
clients. Nonetheless, I opine that Vera Bradley would have been better off
visiting more fairs like the Chicago Gift Show. Such events would provide them
with the much needed exposure in addition
to providing them with a platform to sell their products.
During its inception and nascent years, Vera Bradley had its sights locked on middle-aged and older women. This was because the brand’s founders were also middle-aged women and were as a result of looking to create a product that was both inexpensive and trendy. As mentioned earlier, this Eureka moment came as a revelation to both women while at the airport’s waiting lounge since a majority of those in the same age bracket as they were in need of a change. What further bolstered their perception that the product would be more appealing to middle-aged and older women was the fact that that initial trunk sale attendees were from this particular demographic which drove them towards their preferred direction. They were of the opinion that creating a product to appeal to these individuals would be a step in the right direction since appeal great amongst this population. Nevertheless, it is vital to acknowledge that this decision might have been erroneous since they would clearly be locking the younger demographic out of their target market. The prototypes sent to Barbara’s daughters in college were evidence that the brand would also be popular among the younger generation. College students were clearly attracted to the bag, which is why focusing it only on middle-aged and older individuals would clearly be self-defeating. The firm should, hence, focus its energies on a rigorous marketing campaign that would encapsulate persons from all divides, therefore ensuring that no one feels left out.
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Barb and Pat’s focus in creating company
culture at this early stage is a commendable gesture. The primary reason why
this is the case has to do with the crucial nature of creating a clear and
vibrant organizational culture to guide the enterprise. Establishing a company
is a daunting task that requires all those involved to be well aware of its
guiding principles guiding it towards the direction it ought to be taking. In
addition to this, employees would now function as a unit, minimizing fiascos.
The company would also be cohesive enough to function optimally after
experiencing a substantial increase in revenue or expansion. An organizational culture ensures that all
employees are aware of the company’s goals and future aspirations, making it
easy for the chief executive officer (CEO) to direct them. Thus, Barb and Pat
are on the right path and will definitely
reap the cumulative benefits of this approach in future.
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