Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Experience at the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

Yesterday was my day to shop at the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale. It was a really fun day and now I'm sad that I have to wait another year to do it again.

I wanted to share with you a few notes about my experience and some pictures I took along the way. I shopped with my best friend Tricia and our moms. We are all veteran VBAS shoppers.

We arrived at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum about an hour before our 11:00 am session. Like last year, we entered through the conference center and waited in the conference room there. When we arrived, we were about in the middle of the room. While we were waiting, we were encouraged to move forward and fill in empty space, so we ended up being closer than that.

The best part was that they actually opened the door to the sale 15 minutes early! It felt like we didn't have to wait long at all this year!

Since I had already studied the map the day before, I knew that the purses that I wanted to look at were in the yellow row with the crossbody bags. I planned out a route using the map and this year I actually stuck to it!

I made myself focus when I got into the sale and I headed for the yellow row. I smiled as I passed up the Glennas and found the Carryall Crossbodies. Pattern selection for the Carryalls wasn't great for my tastes, but I found one in Impressionista. I was interested in a microfiber solid one, but they only had espresso and I really wanted black.

The map said that the Cargo Slings were in the yellow row, but I couldn't find them. I knew they were retired, so I figured they were gone already.

I looked at my wish list and headed for the flip flops in the blue row. I had hoped to get a pair in Chandelier Floral, but while they had plenty of size large flip flops this year, I couldn't find any in that pattern. Instead, I grabbed a pair in Midnight Paisley. Black and white go with everything, right?

Next, I headed for the wristlets and wallets in the green row. I found the wristlets I was looking for and picked up a couple in patterns I like. I just grab and go, there's time to consider choices later!

Then it was time to head for the paper products and hair accessories. There were lots of mini notebooks this year and I even considered some file folders. I found the Colorful Hair Clips with the other hair accessories. Sadly, there were only 3 patterns this year as they've been retired. I grabbed 2 of them, but because I'm not a fan of Camofloral, I didn't get those.

I finally headed for the lunch bags where I found the Lunch Coolers. Several ladies at the table raved about the bag, so I added one to my bag.

Since I now had everything on my wish list, I decided to head for the last chance tables. They were very crowded, but there was a lot of good stuff! I ended up finding the cargo slings back there, although they were buried and there weren't very many. I found one in Katalina Pink and added it to my bag. I also found some Turnlock Wallets back there. I was secretly hoping to find one in Ribbons but didn't see any. I did grab one in Flutterby to consider.

Eventually, I just wandered around looking at things and taking pictures of signs. I felt overwhelmed and actually never went over to the Faux Leather, Preppy Poly, or Leather items. I met up with my group and sorted my stuff and agonized over which purse to get. Because I'm trying to find a crossbody that is similar in size to the Glenna, I went over and grabbed one of those. I ended up grabbing one in Northern Stripes which was a mistake because I freaking loved it.

But since I promised myself I would not buy yet another Glenna, it went into the discard bin with a few other things I'd grabbed. Sandy had grabbed a Grand Tote 2.0 and I asked her about it. Turns out, it is originally $65, but at the outlet sale, it was $19.99! Well, that's a great deal, so I went to look at those and ended up grabbing one to use this summer for camp stuff and to take to the pool.

We did one last wander around and just before we headed to the checkout, I decided to take a spin through the jewelry section. I ended up adding a necklace to my bag.

We made it to the checkout area just before our session ended. Although there were no problems this year, check out still took a long time. We were in line for over an hour. In previous years, the line has gone much faster. Although I did appreciate not waiting over 2 hours because the computers crashed.

Things I didn't like this year
  • The lack of sorting areas. Before, there has been lots of space for people to get out of the way of the shoppers and look through their stuff and put things in the discard bins. This year, there were only 2 small areas at each end of the sales floor. I don't know if that's a fire marshal thing, a Coliseum thing, or a Vera thing, but it wasn't enough room. 
  • Also, you aren't allowed to sit on the floor which has been always been a rule, but they don't provide chairs. I don't mind, but many shoppers are of a certain age and kneeling on the floor isn't really an option. Meanwhile, the Coliseum workers that supervise the sorting areas were sitting in chairs. 
  • And to go along with my previous 2 points, if you're going to enforce those things, you need to enforce them everywhere. When I was in the jewelry section, there were several people sitting on the floor back there. They were hidden from view from the sales floor, so nobody told them they couldn't sit on the floor.
  • No markdowns? Usually, on Thursday, prices start getting marked down. If there were any markdowns at our session, they weren't advertised.
Things I did like this year
  • We got into the sale 15 minutes early! That was awesome!
  • Signs! This year all the signs were on top of the tables and there were lots of them! So many in fact, that I'm still missing prices on the price chart.
  • The price scanners were working! And they were improved.
  • Pattern selection! There were lots of patterns available. I even saw some things in Havana Rose and Havana Dots. Outlet and QVC exclusive patterns were also available. 
  • Organization! Everything was organized very well with similar items grouped together
  • Last Chance Tables! Even though they were frequently crowded, I love the Last Chance Tables. They were more spread out this year and organized by price. I found several things worth considering and Trish found some things too.
Here's what I bought...

Grand Tote 2.0 in Cheery Blossoms
Carryall Crossbody in Impressionista
Lighten Up Lunch Cooler in Floral Fiesta
Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet in Chandelier Floral
Ruffle Bodysuit in Lilli Bell
Flip Flops in Midnight Paisley
Colorful Hair Clips in Nomadic Floral and Wildflower Garden
Mini Notebook in Northern Stripes
Have Faith Necklace
Not pictured - an item I got for my mother-in-law for Mothers' Day

What did I put back?

Because I wanted to check out the Front Zip Wristlet, I ended up grabbing it in Marrakesh and Katalina Pink. I decided to go with the Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet, so these went back. I found a Katalina Pink Cargo Sling on the Last Chance Table for $29.99 but ultimately decided it was too big and I didn't love it, so it went back. I agonized for the Northern Stripes Glenna, but it went back too. The Turnlock Wallet in Flutterby that I found on the Last Chance Table for $19.99 also ended up in the discard bin.

How did my wish list go?

I got everything that was on my wish list this year. I did a good job of sticking to my list and getting the things I wanted before considering other things. I did a much better job of actually considering the things I had on my list this year. I did get the Ruffle Bodysuit which was not on my list, but for $1.99, how could I say no?

After the sale, we headed to our traditional lunch at Cheddar's and then went to Jefferson Pointe. We checked out the Vera Bradley store there but didn't stay long since there were storms in the area and we were ready to get home.

We had an awesome day and can't wait for next year!

Have any questions about the Outlet Sale or Vera Bradley? Feel free to ask them in the comments or over on the Argyle Love Facebook page.

What did you get at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tips for Making a Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale Wish List

Yesterday, I shared with you, my wish list for the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale. I always make a wish list before shopping at the sale. The sale is always chaotic and the ticketed sessions are limited to two and a half hours, which means making the most of your time on the sales floor is imperative. I find that having a list helps me to focus on the items that I am most interested in purchasing first. Then, I have time to wander the sale to find more items I'd like.

Today I'd like to share with you some tips for making a helpful wish list for the sale. The first thing I usually do is identify the big ticket items I'd like to get that year. My budget for the sale is limited, so I need to make the most of it. I do research on items on the Vera Bradley website. I like that they have dimensions of the products as well as lots of photos.

I also add to my list any smaller items I'd like to look at while I'm at the sale. Even though I always look at the Mini Notebooks and the Colorful Hair Clips, I make sure to put them on my list so I don't forget about them in the chaos. Even if I'm not sure I'll actually purchase something, I add it to my list if I'm interested because I don't want to forget about it.

I always write down my wish list or type it up and print it out. I don't want to rely on cell service or risk draining my phone battery. (And just being in the Coliseum will drain your battery, believe me.)

But my wish list is more than just a list of items I want. I also include information that I find helpful for decision making. I like to include the regular price and the current online sale price for each item as well as the price at the outlet if known. I find this helpful for deciding if something is a good deal or not. I also have access to a Vera Bradley outlet store, so I keep in mind that they frequently have sales with 20% off on top of 50% the regular price. This is why I opted to wait to purchase a beach towel last year. I got it at the outlet store for cheaper than the outlet sale.

I also include on my list the location of the items if known. Since I go on Thursday, the map of the sale is usually already been shared on social media. As soon as I see it, I'll be sure to share it, so make sure you're following me! The map is very helpful to make my plan of attack for the sale. I try to plan a path around the sale that will help me get the items I want first.

A post shared by Jenn K (@argylelove) on

You can see my wish list from last year in the above picture. I used a spreadsheet to keep it organized and as you can see, I also color coded the locations. I handwrote those since the locations are last-minute information. I also prioritize the items on my list. My must-haves are at the top and items I'm not as interested in go at the bottom.

You will notice that I do not have patterns on my wish list. While I do have an idea of what patterns will be at the sale, I try not to get my hopes up that I will be able to get an item in a certain pattern. Instead, I know what patterns that I prefer and I try to look over all that are available to find the one I like the best, or if I don't like any, then I don't purchase the item.

This year, I'm going to try to organize my list by row. After looking over the maps from previous years, I noticed that the order of the colors of the rows remains the same every year, however, the product does change locations over the years. This does mean I will have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to make my list, but since I've already identified the items I'm interested in, I think it will work just fine.

While I'm waiting in line to get into the sale, I go over my list again to remind myself of my plan. Otherwise, once I get in the sale I get excited and start looking at everything. I keep my list handy in one of the outer pockets on my Hipster so I can quickly consult it whenever necessary. And when I'm sorting what I've picked up, I consult my list again to make sure I've gotten everything I wanted. Having the prices on the list helps when the price scanners are down or far away and I can't remember them. Don't forget to consult my price chart!

I hope this post has helped you make your own list for the sale and don't forget to also read my tips for shopping the sale.


Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale Wish List

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small amount of compensation which I will then use to buy more Vera. 

I'm making my trip to the Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale next week. The sale is crowded and chaotic, so it helps to go prepared. I like to make a wish list of items to look for first before I attempt to browse the rest of the sale.

Today, I'm sharing with you my Vera Bradley Outlet Sale wish list. I should mention that the outlet sale is pretty much the only time I buy Vera products. I occasionally buy something if I go to the outlet store an hour away a couple times a year and rarely I buy something online if there is a good sale and I have a coupon. That's why I make the most of shopping at the sale.

I usually pick up a new purse at the sale. For the past few years, that has meant a new Glenna. I really like the style of the Glenna, but now I have 4 of them and I don't really need another one. I'd really like a crossbody bag that I can use daily for times when I'd like to have my hands free instead of carrying a shoulder bag.

I'm interested in these 2 styles -

Vera Bradley Cargo Sling

This is my first choice, but this style has been retired so there may not be patterns that I like in this bag. The Cargo Sling is bigger than a Glenna and has lots of pockets, I think it will hold everything I like to carry.

Vera Bradley Carryall Crossbody

This is my second choice crossbody bag. My friend Trish has one and I think it's a good size. It's slightly bigger than a Glenna. If I get it in a pattern, I think it'll be Nomadic Floral. I might see if they have it available in the solid microfiber fabric so I can carry it all year.

I would also like a wristlet that can hold my phone, ID, debit card, and some money so that I don't have to carry a purse during camp this year. Previously, I was using the now retired All in One Wristlet and just throwing it in my backpack. But it doesn't hold my phone very well and this year I got a promotion to Assistant Director, so I'll be traveling around between our sites a lot and need something that can hold a little more.

Here are the wristlets I'm going to look for at the sale -

Vera Bradley Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet

My first choice is the Your Turn Smartphone Wristlet. I like that everything fits inside and I'm a sucker for that turnlock. This one also comes in microfiber so I might go with a solid color if I can't find a pattern I like such as Impressionista.

Vera Bradley Front Zip Wristlet

The Front Zip Wristlet is my second choice. This one doesn't seem to hold as much and I'm not sure that my phone will fit in the front zip pocket, but it should fit in the main compartment.

Vera Bradley Lunch Cooler

I take my lunch to work every day and I don't always have access to a fridge, so I'd like a bag that can keep my lunch cooler than the Lunch Sack I'm currently using. Also, the Lunch Cooler appears to hold more than the Lunch Sack which is nice when I have leftovers in containers.

Vera Bradley Mini Notebook with Pocket
I'm a sucker for the stationary and accessories sections of the sale. I will definitely be grabbing at least one Mini Notebook. I love these! I carry them in my purse for shopping lists.

I'm also hoping to score some Colorful Hair Clips. Vera Bradley sadly no longer makes them, so I'm hoping they'll show up at the sale so I can get a bunch of them. They work really well at holding my hair especially when I wear it up.

Of course, I have other items I'm interested in getting, but unless the price is right, they aren't as important as these items. Check out my wish list on Pinterest to see more of what I'm wishing for!

Tomorrow, I'll share with you my tips for shopping the sale with a wish list.

What's on your Vera Bradley wish list?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tips for the 2017 Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale

The Vera Bradley event of the year is in 2 weeks and I cannot wait! The Vera Bradley Annual 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!

Basically, once you enter, you grab a big plastic bag and a map 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.

A post shared by Jenn K (@argylelove) on

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 soon, 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 The past few years, I have also seen outlet exclusive patterns and QVC exclusive patterns at the sale.

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 the 2013 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 and their coordinating patterns...

Java Floral
Northern Lights
Northern Stripes
Painted Feathers
Then, those retired last December and November...

Art Poppies
Nomadic Floral
Nomadic Blossoms

Blush Pink

Pop Art
Scottie Dogs
 And, the patterns that retired last August...

Cobalt Tile

Paisley in Paradise
 And finally, the patterns that were retired just after last year's sale...

Alpine Floral
Alpine Check
Mini Concerto
Impressionista Stripe
Parisian Paisley
Parisian Pom Poms
And since I saw all of the patterns that they retired after the sale last year at the 2016 sale, I'm predicting that we'll also see these patterns at this year's sale...

Bohemian Blooms
Bohemian Chevron

Imperial Rose
Imperial Tile
Kiev Paisley
Kiev Swirls
Lilac Tapestry

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 just about 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 2017 or Summer 2017 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.

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.

To help give an idea of prices, I made a chart comparing the prices I could find from sales over the past few years. I'll be updating this as I find out prices from this year's sale. Keep in mind, the prices on the chart are the starting price; I did not include any markdowns that occurred as the sale went on.

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale Price Comparison

This will be my 10th Vera Bradley Outlet Sale and I've picked up a few tips along the way.
  • Parking is $5 and it's cash only, so be sure to have some cash set aside for that.
  • 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.
  • Bring a snack just in case. Last year, due to computer issues, we ended up waiting to check out for over 2 hours. I was dying for something to eat since we'd planned to do lunch right after our session. Luckily, Trish being the awesome mom she is, had some fruit snacks in her bag. This year, I'll be prepared!
  • A couple years ago, 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.
  • Check the inside of the items you are purchasing. Now that Vera Bradley is making outlet versions of items, some items will have a satin lining instead of a quilted cotton inside. If it's important to you that you get the classic quilted cotton, I highly recommend you open up items and check them prior to putting them in your shopping bag. Last year, these were all mixed together, so I checked everything I was looking at.
  • 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 young children! There is no way I'd bring a small child 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 toddler at home. He's a great shopper, but she knows that the Outlet Sale is no place for a child that young. I'm so glad I have responsible friends who value the safety of their children.

Don't forget to like the Argyle Love Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I will try to post some Instagram Stories of the experience. I'm also on Snapchat. My username is ArgyleLove. I don't use it a lot, but I'll try to snap during the sale. (It'll be crazy in there, so no promises!)  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!