Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tips for the 2014 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale

Looking for the latest information? Check out the Tips for the 2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale post.

The Vera Bradley event of the year is next week and I cannot wait! The Annual Vera Bradley Outlet sale is held every year in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's an arena full of handbags and accessories all at a discount price. For me, it's just as good as Christmas!

 photo VeraBradleyOutletSaleCrowd.jpg

Basically, once you enter, you grab a big plastic bag and a price sheet and then it's time to shop! My plan is to grab anything I think I might want and stuff it in my bag. Then, when I've browsed everything, I find a spot and sort through what's in my bag. Rejected items are placed in nearby boxes and carts to be restocked by Vera workers.

After making my decisions and any final sweeps around the arena, it's time to pay! There are always tons of registers and the lines move pretty quickly.

To prepare for the sale, I try to make a list of styles I want to look at the most. These are the items that I will head to first before taking some time to mosey through the rest of the sale. I'll share my wishlist for the sale tomorrow, so come back to check it out!

Just about every current and retired style of bags and accessories will be at the sale. What's unknown is exactly which patterns will be available. Based on what I've seen at previous years' sales, I can usually make a pretty good prediction of what I'll see. I try to identify which patterns I would most like prior to the sale. This is especially helpful if you are attending the sale with a group. Your friends can help by grabbing things in the pattern you want if you want to split up to shop and then meet back up to sort. (Of course, you'll help out your friends by grabbing what they want.)

I've found that the patterns are mostly ones that have been retired since the previous year's sale as well as some that are going to be retired after the sale. These are often the colors listed as "sale" on the Vera Bradley website

So, what colors do I expect to see at the Sale? I usually say it's a good bet we'll see plenty of the patterns that have been retired since the last sale, but at last year's sale, there were lots of new patterns available, so it's really anyone's guess. However, I would not set my hopes on a getting a new pattern and instead be pleasantly surprised if they're available this year.  I believe that most of the available patterns will be retired patterns.

Starting with the colors most recently retired..

Sun Valley
Lilli Bell
Cocoa Moss
Then, those retired last November...

Va Va Bloom
Indigo Pop
Go Wild
Marina Paisley
La Neon Rose
And the patterns that were retired last August...

Island Blooms
English Rose
And I'm sure we'll see some of the colors that were retired just after last year's sale...

Summer Cottage

Paisley Meets Plaid
Portobello Road
Lime's Up

As in previous years, there will also be older patterns available in select styles, but it's tough to predict just what exactly will be available. For example, I've been seeing Night Owl every year since 2010. Your best bet is to look over the Sale section of the Vera Bradley website to get an idea.

Retired styles are usually available in all patterns that they were made. Theoretically, you could find a bag in a Spring 2014 or Summer 2014 pattern, but I've found that anything that new tends to disappear fast. Your best bet of scoring those will happen in the first few sessions on Wednesday. I'd love to snag something in Flutterby or Flower Shower!

So, what about prices? Exact prices won't be known until the sale opens, but looking at previous years' prices can give you an idea of what to expect. Keep in mind, that beginning the second day of the sale, prices may start dropping. Just a few on the second day, then more as the sale goes on.Just keep in mind, the later in the sale you go, the less selection you may have to choose from. I value selection over price, so the second day works well for me.

Here are some links to previous years' prices
2013 Prices

EDIT: Apparently, the links I had, don't work anymore. And I was curious, so I made a chart to show the prices that I found and how they compare over the past few years. 

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale Price Comparison

This will be my 7th Vera Bradley Outlet Sale and I've picked up a few tips along the way.
  • Use a crossbody handbag or a smaller purse. It gets crowded in the arena as you can see from the pictures and believe me, you'll want your hands free to shop!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You're going to be on your feet the whole time. Don't wear flip flops or you risk having your foot stepped on.
  • Last year, several readers suggested using a tote or larger bag to hold their shopping. I was buying a tote for my mother-in-law, so I stuffed my other shopping in it and it was awesome. It was much easier to carry than the plastic bag you are given. If you are not going to purchase the tote you use, I would suggest making sure you use one that is well stocked so that you don't take away somebody else's chance at getting that bag.  There are boxes at the registers to put back items you do not want to purchase.
  • Bring your registration and your ID. There are usually computers set up to print off your registration, but you'll have to wait in line. Save time and do it before you arrive. You will not be able to purchase anything without your ID, so make sure you have it!
  • Please don't bring children! There is no way I'd bring a kid to the sale. It's crowded and you won't enjoy yourself if you have to worry about keeping your child with you at all times. I'm going with my best friend, Tricia, and she is leaving her adorable baby at home. He's a great shopper, but she knows that the Outlet Sale is no place for a baby. I'm so glad I have responsible friends who value the safety of their children.

This is not the mall, do not bring a stroller! You will only annoy everyone else and your baby really doesn't belong. If I couldn't get a babysitter, I wouldn't go to the sale. I really cannot stress this one enough. Last year, there were tons of strollers and I even saw a double stroller. It is very crowded in the sale and at times, impossible for an adult to just walk through the crowd. A stroller will only make your shopping experience unenjoyable and unsafe.

Don't forget to like the Argyle Love Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I'll try to tweet from the sale and hopefully share some pictures too. Also, follow my friend Trish on her Twitter and Instagram. We're shopping together and I'm sure she'll have things to share too!

And finally, remember to have fun! Score some great deals and enjoy being in the company of other Vera Bradley lovers.

Any questions? Leave them in a comment below and I'll try to answer them!



  1. This is my first year going. I picked the 7:30am time slot. What time would you recommend we arrive? I was told at least an hour before.

    1. I agree that being in line at least an hour before is a good idea. Since 7:30 am is the first time of the day, people will be there early. I've even heard of people camping out.

      Keep in mind, that as long as you arrive before your session ends, you will be admitted. However, where you are in line can determine how much time you get to shop.

      Have fun!

  2. I have to say- I brought my daughter in the ergo, we did great and she loved it. I made sure to attend a ticketed session, which probably helped but I agree with the no strollers, but no babies? I don't agree!

  3. Will you be able to post this year's price list? I always try to get a peak before I go.

    1. I'm not going until Thursday, but I'm hoping someone will post it on Wednesday. As soon as I can, I will update the price comparison chart to reflect this year's prices.

      And, I'll have my post about my experience at the sale up on Friday.

  4. This'll be my 3rd year at the sale & your tips are perfect! My first stop is to grab a large tote of some kind to stash my other finds. Also, the stroller thing... If your child is not old enough to wander off on their own and be fine, best to leave them home. The sale is overwhelming for me and I'm an adult! :)

  5. My daughter (22 yrs) and I went yesterday 2:30 - 5 pm session. The session wasn't sold out but there was (what seemed like) a million people! We got in line around 1:45 and we were in the door of the arena where the sale was being held at 2:50. The place was packed but yet you could move around and get to all the tables. We had a blast looking at everything after we went to the items that we wanted. There was no place to sort through your things. There were the bins but if you were standing there going through your stuff, police officers made you move away. Because of that, many people were sorting their stuff in the checkout lines and there was merchandise thrown all over the place in the check out room.
    This was our first year going but I've always heard about the great prices. I was hoping for at least 50% off but many prices weren't very much of a discount. I heard a lot of people saying that the prices weren't as good as they used to be. I especially heard that a lot in the checkout lines.
    My best buy was a garment bag for 50. The checkout lady told me that is the best bargain that she had seen all day. (it's regular 135) My daughter bought a large duffel in Plum Crazy for 54.99 which is only 35% off the regular price of 85. I got a Miller Bag for 49.99 which is 41% off reg. 85. I got a Go-Round Tote 39.99, this item isn't made any more so I don't know what the original price was. I've never even seen the pattern of my Go Round Bag; it's a bright pink with a white flowery print. My last item was an eyeglasses case for 7.99. My daughter got a bunch of other items but I don't know what the prices were.
    We are glad that we went but I doubt that we'll be in any hurry to go again. We drove over to the mall where the Vera store is (they were offering a shuttle bus over there!). We were surprised to find that store packed and people buying loads of things! Yes, these were people who had already been to the outlet sale! (they were getting on the shuttle bus!) We saw one of the sales ladies from our home town store (Ann Arbor, MI) working there. She said that the store in this mall is really busy during the sale with people coming over on the shuttles. We didn't buy anything there; we actually went to the mall to have dinner at one of the restaurants.
    I hope that you had a good time and found lots of bargains on things that you wanted! What did you think of the prices?

  6. From reading here and following on twitter the prices this year seemed to be in line with last year. As in not work the drive from Michigan. My mom and I have gone every year for the last 5 years and this was the 1st year we didn't go. We were so disappointed with the prices last year that we didn't go. After seeing what people paid this year you can get better prices online when they do the Wednesday sales and such. Don't get me wrong the whole atmosphere and such is fun but I also want a good deal after the gas, hotel, and food for the weekend.