A week ago, Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard were hard at work prepping for a major debut. The sisters-in-law founded their namesake brand Veronica Beard 13 years ago and have since turned it into a hugely successful and ever-evolving business, with upward sales growth year-over-year and retail expansion across the globe. Last year, they opened ten stores in the U.S. and Canada, to make a total of 25 doors in all, and outposts in London and Seoul are coming soon.
The Beards sat down for a Zoom conversation in the midst of getting ready to unveil their collection of bags. It’s a category they’ve long dreamed of pursuing and one that, like their popular ready-to-wear line that offers women approachable, well-priced wardrobe essentials like crisp blazers and flared jeans, has been about slow and steady development. As thoughtful and strategic as these women are, however, Swanson Beard, dressed in chunky gold jewelry, a tee, and a classic cool navy jacket, appeared slightly exasperated when she arrived on camera for our interview. “I was downstairs looking through the racks of our new collection,” she said with a smile. “I like to be by myself and have a nervous breakdown before anything comes out.”
She of course was kidding, but her admission felt very much in line with the brand’s mission to help women find comfort, ease, and confidence when getting dressed or in other words, to appear well put together when everything else in life and work might be a little bit messy. With their new bag collection, the Beards (or “the Veronicas” as their colleagues and peers sometimes refer to them) are taking this ethos to the next phase. Available on their site today, the new collection comes in a range of shapes, colorways, and fabrications, including a camel raffia carryall embroidered with the label’s logo crest, a large denim tote, and a bucket shape the designers have dubbed “The Goody Bag.” Prices begin at $398 and go up to $698.
Miele Beard explained that, for them, “It was really about designing bags that had great form and function, that look cool and had a really beautiful quality.” She added, “The thing about a bag is that it holds your entire life. You’ve got your phone and your makeup and sunglasses and all of the things that keep you going. I feel like it’s your support, your oxygen tank.” It’s true always but especially now when part of the fashion conversation has shifted back to carrying everything on your shoulder or across your body while on the go–on the runways and Tiktok, it’s called Commutercore. And no one understands how to re-tool utility to fit into a stylish woman’s life like the Beards.
According to the designers, their company is made up of 95% women, which has been an important ratio to them not only in terms of fostering a strong community within the brand but also because, as Miele Beard said, “we have a focus group right here.” She also noted that they “keep an ear to the ground for trends but we’re always putting it through a filter of, it has to be classic, it has to function, it has to have a cool twist.” “I think that keeps us pretty honest about what we’re designing and everything is about supply and demand–we do it because we know she wants it and it’s missing in the world.”
As far as the accessories market is concerned right now, few brands are providing a middle-ground between luxury and fast-fashion prices. Quality can be tricky on the lower tier end too, so what Veronica Beard is offering with their bags is a solution for women looking for a mid-tier product that doesn’t skimp on polished design or sharp style. “Your outfit is complemented by your bag and your bag is complemented by your life,” Swanson Beard said. “We always talk about this woman who hustles and makes it happen every day and we have all different types of bags to address her lifestyle.” She adds, “When we design, we always start with talking about that lifestyle. And I think people, when they feel dressed, they feel confident and they feel like they can make it happen.”
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