Veronica Beard founders Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard velvet jumpsuit from the fall '21 collection in stores now. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard cable knit pullover and sweatpants with Ellette Plaid Dickey Jacket. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring '22 collection: Red leather pencil skirt and bomber jacket. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard best-selling Miller Dickey Jacket. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard Chiana Fair Isle Sweater. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring '22 collection: Peach halter gown. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard Slate Dickey Jacket with detachable denim insert. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Denim continues a top seller at Veronica Beard. This look is from the spring '22 collection. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring/summer '22 collection: white jacket and matching trousers with sequined striped shell. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard Classic Dickey Jacket with detachable hoodie insert. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring/summer '22 collection: Peach jacket and three-quarter length pants. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring/summer '22 collection: lace blouse and trousers, left, and trench dress, right. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
Veronica Beard co-founders Veronica Swanson Beard, left, and Veronica Miele Beard greeted guests at the presentaton of their spring/summer '22 collection at New York Fashion Week. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring/summer '22 collection: print dress, denim bomber jacket with ruched sleeves, leather braided wedge heels. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
From the Veronica Beard spring/summer '22 collection: Striped sequined party dress. (Photo courtesy of Veronica Beard)
NEW YORK — Thank heavens for Texas. Veronica Beard co-founders and sisters-in-law Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard credit shoppers at the brand’s stores in Dallas and Houston for helping them make it through the pandemic.
“Truth be told, during the pandemic, Dallas was out front for us,” Miele Beard tells PaperCity. “We have a store there and it carried us. Texas never really stopped. The way that they look at life is fascinating. God bless Dallas and Houston.”
“The most amazing part is the Dallas customer is what kept our dream alive,” Swanson Beard says. “There’s still a heartbeat somewhere out there in Texas (during the pandemic) that was really really exciting. We can’t wait to be back there.”
The duo will be coming to Dallas and Houston next month to meet with customers and tout their new “Make It Happen” campaign that honors women who are making an impact in their communities nationwide. They will host a dinner in Dallas on October 21 following the new campaign’s launch in New York. (In addition to company-owned stores at Highland Park Village in Dallas and River Oaks District in Houston, the brand is available at independent boutiques, including Elizabeth Anthony in Houston.)
“It’s not 100 percent about fashion,” Swanson Beard says. “It’s about lifestyle, this way of thinking, this way of living. The whole premise is bringing together amazing women who are movers and shakers so they can network and meet one another and educate our community. We think a lot of magic can happen out of this.”
During a wide ranging interview, the duo talked about their incredible bond with their customer, how they tweaked their product line during the pandemic, and where the popular brand is going as it as it celebrates its 11th year in business.
Founded in 2010, Veronica Beard hit the jackpot with the immensely popular Dickey jacket, a structured blazer that can be altered for any occasion with a detachable dickey in a range of styles, from a hoodie to a blouse. Since then, the brand has expanded into daytime and evening wear for the women-on-the-go who wants to look chic and stylish without spending a fortune.
The pandemic presented special challenges for all designers, but the Beards credit their faithful customers for helping them survive the tough times.
“Our customer is all about making it happen. Even though we were all in quarantine, even though business wasn’t what it had been, our optimism, (and attitude that) this too shall pass was with us all the time. We kept that message alive with our customer,” Swanson Beard says.
Veronica Beard Adapts
At first the brand pivoted to more casual looks that customers craved with loungewear styles like an attractive cable knit sweatpants and pullover, and greatly expanded its selection of jeans, which now account for 28 percent of total business.
“Jeans doesn’t just mean denim bottoms, it means the whole category, T-shirts, tops, casual dresses, casual pantsuits,” Swanson Beard details. “It’s all about the mix of how our customer wears everything. We merchandise the jeans in with the collection. The wardrobe is all the ingredients, right?”
“We did casualize,” Miele Beard says. “Veronica Beard stands for elevated and very designed sweat and leather pants. And anything we do can be worn for high/low and you’re not just getting your typical pair of jeans. Our jeans are very detailed and designed. We have jeans you can wear to the office.
“But beyond that our brand as a message really resonates with our customer. Our customer comes to us in an emotional way for clothing and we all were in this together and found that we are this customer that is lounging and is quarantining. We all were sort of depressed and wanted to get dressed again. I started getting dressed during the pandemic because I was so bored with the casualness and I think our customer made the same effort.”
Footwear, which Veronica Beard launched two years ago in a collaboration with Caleres, has doubled in sales as women who might not choose a whole new outfit got a jolt of joy over a pair of new shoes. Best sellers have included a luxe version of a clog with studded trim and a stacked heel.
Now, overall sales are back to pre-pandemic levels, with dresses and jackets selling well as customers are venturing out more. “And we’re ramping up because of the demand for special occasion, like embellished and over-the-top (looks), is dominant,” Swanson Beard says.
The fall collection, in stores now, offers a broad range of styles, from sweatsuits to sequin mini-dresses
“Fall is our favorite collection to design because our signature piece is the Dickey jacket, so we have a lot of fun with that in the fall,” Swanson Beard says. “We love the texture, the layering, suiting and knitwear and jeans, the velvet suit, all this is really textural and super beautiful.
“The supply chain was so affected by COVID, inventory across the board in the industry is really tight so we are just selling out. That is amazing. Women are excited by heels, they want leather, they want dresses, It’s amazing to see, there is so much pent-up demand. It’s just so fun to feel that energy again. It’s a huge energy for fashion.”
A New York Moment
At New York Fashion Week, the duo debuted their spring 2022 collection at their studio before a small audience of fashion reporters and influencers. They turned the space into a floral-filled studio to showcase their equally colorful looks for next spring. Styles range from dresses and suits in peach shades to striped sequined party dresses.
“We are offering a lot of interesting renditions of suiting and jeans,” Swanson Beard says. “It’s colorful. We have a lot of new jacket silhouettes. As you know the jacket and Dickey are our lifeblood and we had different variations of the jacket evolution. We have an incredible pencil skirt in red leather.
“Red is a huge Dallas color by the way, and the matching bomber jacket in red leather is my favorite piece.”
“We call our clothes effortless but truly it’s a lot of effort to look effortless and that’s our customer,” Miele Beard says. “And we think we’re very thoughtfully designed. We think about the layering without the bulk, and how would she wear this out at night and still during the day. And what’s fun in fashion.”
“We are optimistic,” Swanson Beard agrees. “I think (the pandemic) made us stronger and also made us care even more about our customer. We really have always had an empathetic, intuitive relationship with our customer.
“Having gone through this last 18 months has made us even closer. We’re excited about the future. I think there’s a lot to come.”