R.Riveter: Empowering military spouses

During World War II, Rosie the Riveter famously left her home to go into factories and shipyards and help her country; now, R.Riveter is bringing jobs into the homes of modern-day military families. Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse are military wives and co-founders of R.Riveter. Earlier this year, they were recognized as Givers on the NRF Foundation's List of People Shaping Retail's Future. In this episode, they share how the handbag business empowers military families through mobile, flexible income.

Bradley and Cruse started their journey in 2011; Bradley has moved six times since then. That transient lifestyle makes it difficult for military spouses like Cruse and Bradley across the country to gain meaningful employment, so the women decided to create their own employment while helping others in the same situation. “What we stand for is being able to find opportunity where there is none,” Bradley says, “and creating connections between individuals that really, truly believe in our country and want to be able to do their part.”

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Like the classic assembly line that Rosie the Riveter might have worked on, each Riveter has a specific task and parts to build. Up to 12 women make the pieces of one handbag, and each employee stamps their piece with a unique identifying number. Customers that buy an R.Riveter handbag can see the community of women who came together to make it.

Listen to the episode to learn about Bradley and Cruse’s experience on the TV show “Shark Tank,” their advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and how they make their unique business model work.

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