"Making History, Working for Victory!"
Combine the history of Rosie Riveter and two modern day military spouses and you get beautiful handbags serving an incredible cause for families across the nation! Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse met in Dahlonega, GA, striking up a friendship and starting their business venture-R. Riveter.
They currently operate a flagship store in Southern Pines, NC, where they house hundreds of handbags made from raw army materials made from the hands of military spouses around the country. Whenever I seek out small businesses, I always like to know how much of their products are made from scratch. Each and every accessory from R.Riveter is custom-made with a bright yellow tag to commemorate our troops! Up until October 17th, R. Riveter is collecting funds via
Kickstarter to expand their work area and keep up with the demand! Show your support and chose your reward from their Reveille line! Also be sure to cast your vote for R.Riveter in The West Elm Local and Martha Stewart’s American Made
contests! Last week I had a conversation with the makers about their beautiful accessories and passion for American Handmade. View the
with photos and more in my "Harvest and Handmade," issue!
Q: Talk a little bit about your fall line and what makes it unique.
A: The line is named after the famous call to rise and shine, the call to start the day and raise the flag, “Reveille.” The line is an ode to the everyday tradition rooted deep in military culture – from the uniform details to the modest simplicity of the line.
Q: Explain the mission behind the line for pets.
A: Our pets are part of our family. They help us through the hard times and share in the good times. Before we had children, our dogs were a consistency in the uncertain times inevitable in the military lifestyle. We wanted to make something worthy of their companionship.
Q:Your products are made with a story to tell because of the spouses who are a part of your team.Tell me about the relationships you’ve made with the military spouses & their families.
A:The lifestyle is specific and completely unique – these dynamics go beyond working relationships. The type of friendships that are made in the military are unlike any other, as any militaryspouse or service member can attest to. The camaraderie is unlike any other work environment and the foundation of R. Riveter is reflected in that.
Q:Explain the process of hiring the spouses: how they learn to design the bags you’ve created and choosing materials?
A: Anyone who is interested can apply via our website. The process is designed to be learned quickly and easily making mobile employment something that can be both accessible and flexible.
Q: In your mission & vision you talk about how pride is the foundation of ownership. How is your business creating ownership for military spouses?
A: When a Riveter stamps their mark on to each part they complete – they are signifying ownership. Not just that they are a part of something larger, but something that they stand behind and take responsibility for.
Q: What is a typical day like for you both?
A: Sunrise to sunset is a balancing act - a balance of family and work. I think that is the safest way to describe the day for both of us.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your business?
A: Transformations. Whether it is the process of giving an old uniform new life or seeing the personal transformation a spouse goes through when they rediscover a sense of pride and accomplishment – whether that’s directly from work provided by R. Riveter or just being inspired from the mission in general.
Q: Why do you think it is important to keep the small business community growing?
A: It’s all about community. For R. Riveter it is about people, not money. It would be naïve to claim that profit doesn’t steer decisions, but numbers are not the driving force. This school of thought is at the forefront of the campaign for American made movement and small businesses alike.
Q: Everything from your equipment (the sewing machines) to your materials bond military families and supporters. Why do you think it’s important to be true to your mission in every aspect of your business?
A: Being genuine is something that is really important to us. American Handmade is forged from the fires of hard work, humble materials and big ideas - Being true and honest is exemplified in the product we create and the mission we pursue. When we are true to the mission of empowering military spouses we can over a transparency about it, a rare commodity in the world today.
Q: You both are military spouses- how does it feel to be serving your country alongside military family?
A: There are very specific struggles that accompany the military lifestyle – but there is also a tre-mendous amount of pride above all else.
Q: What do you look forward to for the future of R.Riveter?
A: We look forward to helping more military spouses, but most importantly - securing more for thespouses that are already a part of our team. We have realized that it is not about how many spouseswe can help – its how well we can help the spouses that are currently on our team.