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Meet The Woman Who Co-Founded A Handbag Business To Fight The Military Spouse Unemployment Rate

After personally enduring the struggles military spouses face with finding employment, a woman has created a decentralized manufacturing company that will not only allow her to make an income for herself, but employ fellow military spouses.
Lisa Bradley, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who is married to a former Army Ranger instructor, is the Co-Founder and CMO of R.Riveter— a business that employs military spouses from around the country to manufacture handbags, wallets, backpacks, and more. In an interview with the Daily Wire, Bradley explained the history of the company she created with Carmen Cruse and their mission to empower other military spouses.
Bradley was raised in Montana by parents who taught her “the benefits of entrepreneurship and what it can bring to a family.” After she married her husband, Jason, she moved with him to Georgia, the beginning of a series of moves because of his military career.
“As a military spouse, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” she said, referring to the frequent moves of military families who move an average of every 2.9 years. Bradley explains that although she has an MBA, it was difficult finding a job due to the frequent moving. “Military spouses are highly educated but inexperienced,” she said.
Bradley said she found part-time or admin jobs, but they were not related to her career path. “The constant moving and finding a career path is extremely disruptive to your identity — people identify with their job,” she said. “I went through an identity crisis every time we moved — new friends, new doctors, new employers — you have this internal struggle: who am I? We need consistency.”
Bradley and Cruse created a solution: their new business, which they launched in 2011 in Bradley's attic. It revolved around the vision of a decentralized manufacturing platform. Bradley said she wanted it to be flexible so “military spouses are able to move and still work.”
"R.Riveter doesn't hire military spouses to make handbags. We make handbags to hire military spouses, and create a greater sense of mission,” R.Riveter’s website says.
Bradley and Cruse eventually appeared on the popular television Shark Tank, where investor and businessman Mark Cuban decided to invest in R. Riveter.
“We resonated well with him and his vision for our company, and he understood the close-knit military community and how military spouses are the backbone,” Bradley said. “He definitely believes in the military and supports them in any way he can, so we are happy with our choice to go with him. He has been a huge help in just being a soundboard for ideas and helping guide in the company.”
Bradley said the name of the company comes from Rosie the Riveter, who symbolizes “a group of women who left their homes and kept the engines of American manufacturing going” during WWII. “When the men left the country to defend our nation, [women] didn’t just stand on the sidelines— they jumped full force into helping our economy and moving our country forward,” she said.
Each product is named after a military spouse or inspirational woman, including the Corbin backpack named after Margaret Corbin, a woman who manned a cannon in the Revolutionary War after her husband fell dead.
 The Corbin backpack.

A portion from each sale also goes to a scholarship fund to help military spouses start their own fund according to Bradley.
“We are serving in a unique way and this is a way we can help the economy and produce other opportunities for military spouses so they can have supplemental incomes as well,” Bradley said.
Today, Bradley said they have 50 employees they call “riveters” who live all across the country and work from home sewing and manufacturing — or riveting — their products. She said all products are then shipped to North Carolina where they are assembled.
According to Bradley, about 75% of the staff are military spouses and all of them are remote.
Bradley said R. Riveter’s products are “individualized and personalized,” and that “every maker stamps each part that they make so you know that there is a real person making the product.”
“When a woman picks up a R.Riveter handbag, she is picking up a whole community of women.”

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