A wonderful, fabulous, beautiful, glorious thing has happened in Orlando this month. A Vera Bradley Outlet has opened here. Let me repeat that for you: A VERA. BRADLEY. OUTLET. is now open in Orlando.
So, only in the interest of my dear readers, of course, I had to go check this baby out.
The Vera Bradley Store is at the Orlando Premium Outlets mall on Vineland Road. That’s right off 535 and I-4, about a 10-minute drive from Downtown Disney. And that’s important, because there are TWO Orlando Premium Outlets malls in Orlando. The other one is near I-4 and International Drive. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say that it’s easy to make a mistake and go to the wrong location. So, if you’re vacationing in town, be sure to be very specific when asking for directions or telling a cab driver where you want to go.
When you get to the mall, the Vera Bradley Outlet is nearest to the large Tommy Hilfiger store. If you’re only interested in visiting Vera Bradley, park near the Tommy store and walk through it to get into the mall. It will be to the right when you exit Tommy Hilfiger.
This is a true Vera Bradley Outlet, not just a Vera Bradley retail location at an outlet mall. This is only the fourth Vera Bradley Outlet store in the United States. The store is packed with merchandise, but all the fixtures and everything else are white to show off all of the colorful patterns.
Everything is very well organized by the type of bag you are looking for and stacked by pattern. This isn’t a treasure hunt through big bins of merchandise like some outlet stores.
And now to what you’re really wondering about … the prices at the Vera Bradley Outlet. Everything is discounted between 10 and 60 percent off the original prices. The big discount comes when you spend at least $75, which nets you an additional 20 percent off the discounted prices. So you probably want to plan to spend that much, which, if you’ve shopped Vera before, you know won’t be hard. Some of these items are discontinued patterns or bag styles, and so you can find them on sale on VeraBradley.com or at retail stores that carry Vera Bradley. But I found that they are cheaper at the outlet than they are online.
Here’s a look at the pricing of one item: A Metropolitan bag in the color Purple Punch originally retailed for $98. It is on sale on VeraBradley.com for $73.50. At the Vera Bradley Outlet in Orlando, that item is $59. If you spend $75 and get an additional 20 percent off, the price of the Metropolitan at the Vera Bradley Outlet drops to $47.20. That’s a huge savings.
One of the things I liked most about shopping at the Vera Bradley Outlet in Orlando was that the bags are all priced the same, regardless of pattern. It’s not a matter of whether or not the pattern is discounted because it is discontinued or not. So, there were Metropolitans in current patterns – which still sell for $98 at VeraBradley.com and in stores — that you could also get for $47.20.
There’s a lot of eye candy and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, in a good way, of course.
Of course, you won’t find everything Vera Bradley makes at the Vera Bradley Outlet store. It is an outlet, so what’s inside is a mix of overstocked items and patterns. There was quite a bit of merchandise in recently discontinued patterns like Purple Punch, Java Blue, Loves Me and Blue Rhapsody. But there were plenty of current Vera Bradley patterns, as well, as you can see from the pictures. More popular patterns and the very recently released ones were hard to find. I didn’t see any of the new summer patterns in the store, and popular recent patterns – such as Folkloric, Baroque and Night and Day – were very scarce.
But there was a very good selection of handbags, larger totes and luggage items, and wallets. And most things came in a variety of patterns, so it was easy to pick out a pattern and put together matching bags, totes and wallets in many of them.
The store also had a good selection of smaller Vera Bradley items such as sunglasses, lanyards, stationary, aprons and promotional items from past seasons like Vera Bradley flip flops and keychains. Surprisingly, though, I didn’t find those items to be as deeply discounted. Vera Bradley ball point pens were $8; a small travel manicure kit was $19.50.
There was also a small clearance section in the back of the store with items that were even more heavily discounted – at least 60 percent off. Those items were mostly from the Vera Bradley Frill and microfiber lines on my visit. But I would imagine the clearance section will grow as the new Vera Bradley Outlet turns over its inventory a few times.
Overall, I would say that the new Vera Bradley Outlet in Orlando is a great place to shop. I think it’s a must-do for visitors to Orlando who love Vera Bradley (and judging from the plentiful Vera Bradley bags being carried everyday in Disney Parks, I’m guessing there are many of you out there). It is easy to get to, and there are real deals to be had here. I had been braced for disappointment in that aspect, because I don’t generally find outlet shopping to be discounted enough to be worth the hassle. But this is definitely worth it, especially since you can get in and out of the store without having to trek through the whole outlet mall if you want.
I will definitely be visiting again, once I give my wallet a little recovery time.