Manage Your Business
The wonder women of fashion brand Veronica Beard
This story is part of The Pursuit, a series in which small business owners share insights on how they build their enterprises. Veronica Beard is a client of JPMorgan's Commercial Bank.
In 2010, the fashion company Veronica Beard burst onto the scene. Co-founded by two sisters-in-law—Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard—the eponymous label launched with its now-famous signature Dickey Jacket, a twist on the classic blazer. Within just a few years, Veronica Beard was a coveted brand worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, and Gwyneth Paltrow. "Our clothing is meant to empower women to fulfill the multitude of passions in their daily lives," says Veronica Swanson Beard, adding: "We are women for women."
While Veronica Beard's success owes to the Veronicas' keen business acumen and deep understanding of their customer, the beating heart of the brand is a celebration of busy women.
To learn more about their remarkable growth amid a fast-changing retail apparel industry, Chase spoke with the founders about the challenges they've faced while growing their business, the lessons they've learned in leadership and management, and their dedication to supporting women through philanthropic endeavors.
Here is an excerpt, edited and condensed for clarity:
Q:| What was the initial inspiration for Veronica Beard?
Veronica Swanson Beard: Veronica comes from a finance background and I came from the fashion world, and we've both always had a love for the fashion industry. Whenever we got together, we would always talk about business ideas—from maternity clothes to handbags and everything in between—and we came down to the concept of designing a classics-with-a-twist uniform for busy women. The Dickey Jacket was the first piece of that uniform.
Veronica Miele Beard: We asked, 'What does a busy woman throw on when she wants to look put together that she can wear anywhere?' We wanted clothes for ourselves that could serve as style cornerstones in our wardrobe. We are always doing the 'costume change' while on the go. The Dickey Jacket is the Wonder Woman cape.
Q:| What are the biggest lessons you have learned in growing the company?
VSB: Your biggest failures can become your greatest successes. Be patient with yourself and recognize setbacks as part of the growth process and not as failures.
VMB: We've learned how to manage time better. We're juggling so many things, so we've got to keep moving and think of the big picture. You can't get caught up in the weeds on something that doesn't impact the greater good of the business.
Q:| You are expanding into more brick-and-mortar stores. How are you succeeding in that while also keeping up with e-commerce?
VSB: We look at the brick-and-mortar stores as a chance to invite customers into our brand's 'home.' E-commerce is convenient, but it's also two-dimensional. Entering our store, you can understand and engage with the brand: the color palettes we love, the music we play, the prints we're drawn to—that tells a story for us in a very different way from e-commerce, which is purely a visual experience.
Q:| What's been your reaction to so many celebrities wearing your brand?
VSB: When Gwyneth Paltrow wore the Dickey Jacket, it was organic. We didn't call her and ask her to do so. J-Lo also has one, and Sarah Jessica Parker does too. When you see an influencer buying it and wearing it, it's the biggest testament to what you're doing.
VMB: It's very exciting to see celebrities wearing Veronica Beard; but truly, there's nothing more exciting to either one of us than being in a cab in New York City and seeing a random person in Veronica Beard.
Q:| How does Veronica Beard give back to support women's initiatives and passions?
VMB: With our philanthropic program, VB Gives Back, every month we feature on our website a powerful woman doing amazing charitable work. We describe what she's doing and who she's impacting. And then $10 per online order goes toward her charity. VB Gives Back celebrates the great accomplishments of other women who are passionate about making a difference.
Q:| What are your favorite pieces from the current collection?
VSB: I love our jeans that are so easy to throw on with any Veronica Beard jacket or blouse.
VMB: Our new track pants and matching jacket are perfect for an office or cocktail party.
Matt Dominis is a marketing manager for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking and a Chase News contributor.