It all started with a Dickey jacket. “The men have their suit and tie in the morning to get ready,” says Veronica Miele Beard, co-founder of Veronica Beard. “What was the great equalizer for women? What could women wear that you could wear interchangeably? We both loved the idea of this women’s puffer jacket and realized that it is one piece that could change your life. We launched with a one size fits all that worked with every jacket. This brand was born where we raised women and we were the customer, that was the key point.
It’s been 11 years since Veronica Beard was co-founded by sisters-in-law Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard. They’ve come a long way from their single down jacket rack to becoming a complete lifestyle brand, including their foray into the house with a limited edition table linen capsule. Like everything they design, it comes from an organic need in the marketplace, with so many people having fun at home now. By the end of the year, they will have stores in 17 locations across the United States. But at the same time, it’s still the same brand dedicated to dressing real women and celebrating them. This includes their commitment to give back through their #VBGivesBack initiative, which highlights different philanthropies. It has never taken a break since its launch in 2015, even during the pandemic.
“We feel so lucky to have had such incredible support and success in this endeavor and it is about paying it forward,” said Swanson Beard. “Karma is a boomerang and you have to introduce yourself and thank people, and give them a platform, a network and advice. So many people have helped us along the way to get to where we are. We want to multiply the goodness that is happening here. If you really want to be charitable, it’s not for recognition.
Their latest campaign, Make It Happen, reflects this. To pay tribute to the women who inspire them, the Veronica are dedicating their fall to them. As they like to say, they are “the doers and doers, the engines and agitators,” women like the Veronicas themselves. The sisters-in-law, who have eight children between them, took the step to change careers – Swanson Beard was a wholesale fashion buyer and Miele Beard worked in finance – and founded Veronica Beard to follow their passion. Now they aim to celebrate and support other women.
“This brand has always been about successful women,” says Swanson Beard. “Your race, your religion, your politics, your age, your body type, whatever. It’s a philosophy about how women fare and how passionate they are. They do things that make a difference. They are thirsty for accomplishment and want to have things they are proud of. When we look at our collection, it’s about this armor that you put on to go and do this stuff. You put yourself in clothes every day, and whether it’s ours or someone else’s, you get ready, and it’s about that feeling. These women are everywhere. They can be teachers, activists, stay-at-home moms, artists, chefs – it’s a quilt of women doing amazing things and changing the world. Make It Happen is about introducing our client and our base to all of these amazing women who love the brand. I always ask, ‘how did you get started?’ It’s so inspiring to hear someone’s story.
The 40 or so women they highlight as part of the Make It Happen initiative span many industries, from fashion to beauty, home, entertainment, health, food, and more. A few bold names include Katie Sturino, body acceptance advocate and founder of Megababe; author and activist Jodie Patterson; Amanda Kloots, co-host of The speech, author of Live your life, and creator of Amanda Kloots Fitness; and Pritika Swarup, Founder and CEO of Prakti Beauty, Model and Operation Smile Ambassador. They will be sharing their stories on Veronica Beard’s channels, including their website and their social and digital platforms, throughout the fall and beyond as they have decided to make it an ongoing series.
To get the Make it Happen Project off the internet and put it into practice, they are putting the campaign on the road and hosting a series of intimate dinners in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Beach of Palm trees. It’s about creating a real community and introducing women to each other. While Veronica Beard has hosted dinners and events before, these are much more educational, with community building and networking at the center, says Swanson Beard. “We identify women in these markets who are doing really interesting and inspiring things,” she adds. “The litmus test for this is you doing something cool?” Are you a mover, a shaker, a maker? At these events, whoever is invited, we have asked them to bring a friend who inspires them and who will add to the richness of the event. We hope you will introduce us to someone who really interests you. So, again, it’s paying up front.
Taking Make it Happen on tour is another way for Veronicas to stay deeply immersed in their brand and their customers. “Veronica and I have traveled extensively over the past 10 years, meeting women in different cities and trying to understand what the client is like,” says Veronica Miele Beard. “Part of our philosophy is to really go out and speak in public and meet these people. It’s so important to be in person. We have coffee with our new hires and sit down with the people, just like we did when there were only two of us in a room. Then we became five, then 20. Now we’re a big company, but I don’t want our culture to change. I don’t want this to be a day when you can’t have an open door, talk to people, and really understand what’s going on in the minds of our customers and our employees. This is why we are so happy to be back on the road.