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Vera Bradley will join TikTok Shop and continue investing in influencer marketing this year, says chief marketing officer Alison Hiatt.

Vera Bradley is focused on expanding its customer base and reactivating old customers in 2024, chief marketing officer Alison Hiatt told Digital Commerce 360.

Hiatt joined Vera Bradley in January 2023. The accessories retailer also has a fairly new CEO and chief financial officer. The relatively new leadership team presents a chance to make positive changes to the brand and connect with new consumers this year, she said.

“We will really use this as an opportunity to reconnect with what people love about the Vera Bradley brand and make sure that we are modernizing that for today and reaching those new generations,” she said.

Vera Bradley ranks No. 277 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s database of North America’s largest online retailers by web sales.

Vera Bradley’s TikTok strategy

Modernizing the Vera Bradley brand is a key focus in 2024, Hiatt said. One way to do that is by embracing TikTok. The online video platform has become a driving force behind how young consumers make purchasing decisions, according to research from Morning Consult.


Vera Bradley sees benefits from TikTok without directly needing to post.

“We’ve really benefited recently from a lot of organic TikTok related to Vera Bradley,” Hiatt said.

Videos with “#VeraBradley” have 105 million views to date on the platform, leading to better brand awareness. It also works directly with influencers on posts.

“Most brands have to work with influencers in some form or fashion. I think it’ll continue to be a strong trend,” she said.


Influencers with smaller followings can be more impactful, she explained, but there are also times to go with a larger influencer.

“It really depends on the type of messages you’re trying to send. Are you introducing yourself to new people? Or are you furthering a connection with your existing customers? And that would really dictate when you would go big or not,” she said.

Vera Bradley will invest more in influencer marketing in 2024 than it did in 2023, she anticipates. Joining TikTok Shop is the logical next step.

“We know more and more people are discovering brands and interacting with their favorite brands” on TikTok, she said. “So why not just make it an easy experience if they find something that they want to buy via TikTok Shop?”


TikTok Shop launched in the U.S. in September 2023. Vera Bradley is treating it like any other marketplace and spent time watching competitors before its own launch, Hiatt explained.

Other ways to reach new customers

Collaborating with other brands is another way to expand Vera Bradley’s reach, Hiatt said.

“Finding pockets of things that people are passionate about, whether it’s Disney or Peanuts, or the NFL, has been really fun and has really reached a broad spectrum of different customers,” she said, referring to Vera Bradley’s collections incorporating those brands.

The accessories retailer has to find ways to work with the other media brands that are true to Vera Bradley’s bold and bright patterns it’s known for, she said.


“We’ve always been a multi-generational brand, which was very rare. And we will continue to speak to all customers but want to make sure that we’re continuing to introduce ourselves to newer generations,” Hiatt said.

Collaborations with other brands are successful in bringing in new customers, who then turn into repeat customers, she said without revealing more.

Hello Kitty, Shark Week and Harry Potter collaborations have been particularly successful at bringing new customers to Vera Bradley, CEO Jacqueline Ardrey told investors in a third-quarter earnings call in December.

Vera Bradley took advantage of changing consumer habits

Vera Bradley hasn’t reported results from its fiscal fourth quarter yet, which will include the holiday season. Consumers were pickier this year when it came to holiday shopping. “They were really shopping around and maybe waiting a little bit longer to decide what they wanted to get,” she said.


The retailer has adapted to changing consumer preferences over the last year with an emphasis on travel. Much of the consumer spending growth in recent quarters came from spending on experiences, rather than goods. Vera Bradley used that as an opportunity to grow its travel accessories, Hiatt said. While that includes suitcases, it was also advantageous to expand their idea of what travel is.

“We will continue to focus on travel, but we’re also expanding how we think about travel. There’s the traditional suitcase on an airplane, but also people are taking longer weekends and road trips,” she said.

That’s an opportunity for duffel bags, travel organizers, toiletry bags, and other products beyond suitcases. 

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