The sisters-in-law behind the U.S. brand Veronica Beard might have the same name, but, more importantly, they also share the same creative mind.
“The uniform for the layered life”— that’s the Veronica Beard motto. As two working moms, Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard (the sister-in-law creative directors) recognize that women have a lot going on. From going to the office to cheering from the sidelines of a soccer game and everything in-between, your wardrobe has to be built for your life, and not the other way around. Here, the designer duo behind the American brand Veronica Beard chats about how a chance encounter at a wedding turned into a contemporary clothing company.
Welcome to Canada! What sparked the decision to open your first store in Toronto?
Veronica Miele Beard: “The Canadian market has been huge for us since the beginning — it’s jacket weather here all year round!”
Veronica Swanson Beard: “It’s been amazing since we opened the store in the spring! The success and welcome we’ve had here have been so nice.”
So, starting at the beginning, a chance encounter at a wedding in 2002 changed both of your lives. Did you meet each other or your husbands first?
VSB: “Husbands. We were seated at the same table. Veronica and Anson Beard were married, and I was sitting across from Anson’s brother, Jamie. Veronica and Anson were trying to set us up, and my now-husband was being super flirty. I was like, ‘There’s no way this is going anywhere — there can’t be two Veronica Beards!’ And then Jamie and I ended up getting married.”
Then where did the idea to start the brand Veronica Beard come from?
VSB: “There were years of bad ideas before the Dickey Jacket. We would get together at family gatherings and compare notes on the fashion industry. We both have an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of fashion, so it seemed natural. The Dickey and Dickey Jacket arose, and that was it!”
When you launched the Dickey Jacket in 2010, it quickly became a must-have item. Why do you think it struck a chord with so many people?
VMB: “It checked many boxes. We loved the idea of the dickie from menswear, but we realized that there wasn’t anything similar on the womenswear front. Our customers love a layered-blazer look but not the bulk of all the layers. The Dickey Jacket creates a polished look in seconds — and as women, we know we need all the extra time in the world.”
How do you balance being both in-laws and business partners?
VSB: “At this point, we have known each other for 22 years and been in business together for 13. I mean, we have the same name, share the same office and are basically joined at the hip.” [Laughs]
VMB: “We have to agree before we move forward. We might fight or disagree, but it’s got to work. There is no other option.”
VSB: “And a massive part of our success has been that there are two of us and we can off-load and share responsibilities. We have somebody to call and commiserate with about the fears or the failures and then celebrate the successes with. That’s the greatest thing in the world.”
Part of Veronica Beard’s DNA is believing in enduring personal style. Can you elaborate on that?
VSB: “I think it’s when you see a woman with a unique signature, like she always wears all black or has amazing silver hair. And it’s really about confidence. We always say that when you look good, you feel good — so when you’re wearing something that you feel great in, you walk into a room with that energy.”
So how do you keep the brand current while also honouring this motto?
VSB: “We always say that the best businesses are the ones that both change and stay the same because that’s how a brand maintains its DNA. For us, Veronica Beard delivers classics with a twist. You can wear our blue blazer today or 10 years from now — it’s a forever style.”
VMB: “If you were to witness a design meeting with us, you’d see that it’s not us sitting around going ‘This is the trend and we’re gonna set it.’ It’s more like ‘These are the trends that are coming, and this style is missing from the market.’ It’s also us going ‘Is it long enough so that when she hails a cab, there’s no skin showing?’ and ‘Are the butt pockets in a place where they make her ass look higher?’ You know what I mean?”
This article first appeared in FASHION’s October 2023 issue. Find out more here.
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