A retail format bringing together brands linked to a cause

Vera Bradley closed her SoHo store at the start of the pandemic, but has taken over the site, at least temporarily, for good reason.

It is now a pop-up store for GoodMrkt, a solidarity and solidarity multi-brand concept recently launched by Vera Bradley.

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The first GoodMrkt store opened last April at a former Williams Sonoma location in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Vera Bradley is based. GoodMrkt in SoHo at 411 Broadway opened last month.

With only two stores in operation, GoodMrkt is a start-up reflecting Vera Bradley’s intention to grow and earn more money while expanding her philanthropic efforts. In 2019, publicly traded Vera Bradley worth $ 400 million bought Pure Vida, an online retailer of handmade bracelets, anklets, stackable rings and other items supporting Costa Rican artisans, bringing Vera Bradley into the jewelry industry.

Last January, Vera Bradley presented her first sustainable fashion collection, called ReActive, for luggage, bags and accessories, stepping up efforts to be more of a lifestyle brand while being environmentally friendly.

Vera Bradley is best known for her flower-patterned quilted bags and luggage, while also offering women’s clothing, accessories and shoes. The company also has a foundation that supports breast cancer research.

“As we faced the pandemic, a group of us sat and thought about the future of retail and what we might be testing. We came up with the Good Market concept. We really intend to make it a laboratory, ”said Harry Cunningham, vice president of retail brand development for Vera Bradley. He is also a co-founder of GoodMrkt, along with Mary Beth Trypus, Vera Bradley’s Director of Recipes.

During a visit to the GoodMrkt pop-up on Thursday, Cunningham said it would remain open until January and showcase more than 50 brands in its 2,500 square feet of retail space. This is an eclectic line of products including skin care, eyewear, flowers, holiday ornaments, glassware, denim, blankets, candles, jewelry, children’s items, leather goods and, of course, Vera Bradley bags and Pure Vida jewelry.

Among the brands are Able, a fashion company that trains and employs women to help break the cycle of poverty and lift them out of the sex trade; Sackcloth & Ashes, which donates blanket to a homeless shelter for every blanket purchased; Ellis Brooklyn, which sells fragrances with clean ingredients and a sustainable supply, and Generous Coffee, which donates 100 percent of its profits and although best known for coffee, partners with socially good companies on other products such as shirts that support mothers in Haiti, and bracelets and cups that give water to villages in the Central African Republic.

Other brands sold include Ranger Station, Utopian Coffee, Farmhouse Fresh, Glitterville, Bella Tunno, New Hope Girls and Caddis.

Cunningham explained that the concept is to create a “community” of brands, each with a mission to have a positive impact, whether it’s supporting women’s empowerment, community development, elimination of poverty or hunger, environmental stewardship, sustainability, animal rescue or disease control. .

Brands, which are mostly smaller and emerging businesses, support their causes in different ways, through product donations, percentage of sales, fundraising events, or the way they are. source and create their products. “These are all purpose-built companies and brands,” Cunningham said.

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