The Story of Us

Some simply call it a handbag. We call it a mission

What began as two Military Spouses in a small attic, armed with a big idea, one sewing machine and a little bit of canvas, has grown into a bold + achievable mission shared by many: to inspire, engage and empower. The R. Riveter movement captures the humble and courageous spirit of Rosie the Riveter and channels it into every American Handmade purse and handbag we produce. 

 Still think it’s just another handbag?

 

Our Founders

Lisa Bradley grew up in Columbus, MT – a small Rocky Mountain town with no traffic lights. Her parents were entrepreneurs, creating a unique lifestyle that has shaped her career ambitions. Lisa took off for the “Big City” lights of Bismarck, ND to study Business + Entrepreneurship. She met Jason Bradley during this time, and married both Jason and the Army in 2007. The two enjoyed four duty stations in just over six years. Lisa put her “roll up the sleeves” mentality and MBA from Chapman University to work as she launched R. Riveter.

 

Cameron Cruse is a mother, designer and proud Army Wife. Growing up just outside of Atlanta, GA armed her with an appreciation for culture as well as a seemingly southern mindset. Upon completing her Masters in Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010, she did what most Military families do: she moved. An opportunity in disguise, as the one thing that might ruin a career actually paved the way for a much more impassioned and fulfilling path. In a small attic above her home near Ft. Merrill, GA, Cameron and fellow Military Spouse, Lisa Bradley, founded R. Riveter.

 

Our Story

CHAPTER 1: Fate Brought Us Together

Our story begins in Dahlonega, GA - home of the Appalachian Trail, moonshine, and the 5th Ranger Training Battalion. Lisa and Cameron met in this cozy little town, a unique assignment for most Soldiers and their families.

 

CHAPTER 2: A Special Bond

From the very beginning in early 2011, Cameron and Lisa bonded over a shared frustration of employment struggles as Military Spouses. Even before R.Riveter was born, they were united on a mission to find flexible, mobile income for Military Spouses across the country.

"The path we were on led us straight to handbags. We wanted to make something that was functional and utilitarian, and something that connected to the Military Spouse community." - Cameron Cruse

CHAPTER 3: Military Spouses on a Mission

An attic, a sewing machine, and two Military Spouses on a mission.

"The name R.Riveter came to us right away. We wanted to create a brand that was an ode to the community we were a part of, and there really wasn't another question about it." - Lisa Bradley 

 

CHAPTER 4: #AmericanHandmade

We knew it wasn't enough to call our products American Made. From the hand-stitched liners to the hand-cut leather, every part and piece that goes into an R.Riveter handbag is crafted with thoughtful, genuine purpose. Most importantly, those hands are spouses of America's Military.  

CHAPTER 5: On the Move

Less than a year after the company was born, Lisa and her husband moved to New York, and R.Riveter's mission to provide mobile employment to military spouses was put to the test. Two short years later, Cameron and her family moved to North Carolina.
 
CHAPTER 6: Brought to Life

A 2014 Kickstarter campaign brought R.Riveter to life, providing the support and funds we needed to make our dreams of the next step a reality. 

"To me, the highlight of Kickstarter was in setting a goal and being able to achieve it collectively as a team." - Cameron Cruse.

CHAPTER 7: Setting Roots in North Carolina

In 2015, we held the Grand Opening of R.Riveter's brick & mortar storefront in Southern Pines, North Carolina. 

"The storefront gives us a chance to have customers access the brand, and hear words straight from the mouth of Military Spouses." - Lisa Bradley

CHAPTER 8: Into the Shark Tank

In February 2016, Cameron and Lisa dove headfirst into the Shark Tank, sharing their mission to employ Military Spouses across the country with the show's investors. They walked away with a deal of partnership and investment from Mark Cuban. 

CHAPTER 9: Welcome to the FabShop

We opened the doors to a brand new warehouse (dutifully named the FabShop), which serves as a home for our Riveter Operators, and is full of creativity, collaboration + promise! Remote Riveters from across the country send parts and pieces to the warehouse, where bags are put together and sent to their new homes.

 

CHAPTER 10: Empowered Women Empower

 In 2016, our Southern Pines Flagship store got a little makeover, and we continued our mission to provide flexible, mobile income to military spouses nationwide. We also launched Post to Pillar, a curated marketplace of home decor and accessories, handcrafted by Military Spouse makers and artisans.

In 2017, we are proud to have 30 Local Employees and 27 Remote Riveters on our team!