Oct 30 2014
I am not a purse girl. My wristlet is years old and falling apart, and it’s only lasted this long because I prefer to slide my student ID into my phone case and eliminate carrying anything extra. It’s a little inconvenient, even though I do own a fairly pricey Longchamp purse. My grandparents noticed that my every day items (cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.) were always misplaced, and took it upon themselves to fix it. My grandfather discovered that we both liked Vineyard Vines products, and gave me the Vineyard Vines Classic Whale Tote for Christmas last year.
The bag comes in a variety of patterns, with more novelty designs available for $105. The most reliable places to buy them are Vineyard Vines stores, which are most prominent in Massachusetts. However, they can be found online in places such as eBay. According to Google Shopping, however, they can only be purchased through Vineyard Vines. My grandfather is older, and opted to go the easiest route of purchasing from their official site for $95.
Every time a purchase is made from the retailer directly, one of the classic whale bumper stickers is included in the package. This is a great method of brand promotion, and makes customers feel like their purchase is “special.” It also makes up for the fact that a nearly perfectly plain canvas tote bag costs approximately $100. L.L. Bean’s rival bag, the Boat and Tote, is the most comparable bag on the market, and comes in various sizes at less than half the cost. Admittedly, the VV designs are a bit more fun and feminine, and each Vineyard tote has a light blue gingham insert with a zippered compartment and three deep pockets to hold keys and cell phones. The Boat and Tote, while it has a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty, is merely a large canvas hole.
Vineyard Vines was founded in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian, who are so passionate and confident in their products that they publish reviews directly onto the site. The Classic Whale Tote earned a 5/5, with 5 reviews. Buzzwords like “classy, convenient, sturdy,” are bulleted at the top of paragraph long reviews, with notable usages ranging from “office/computer” to “beach/yoga.” And to keep up with their growing college demographic, Shep and Ian have remodeled VV a bit to fit social media. They run an active tumblr page, and are quick to “favorite” or “reblog” their fan posts. They’ve also jumped on the hashtag trend, creating #EverydayShouldFeelThisGood or #EDSFTG. I was upset by this, because I’ve always considered Shep and Ian as leaders of their industry. However, this could also be a marketing “defensive” tool, as several lesser known “prep” brands have tried to imitate the original canvas tote, insert included. In fact, Salmon Cove, a brand I had never heard of before, asked lifestyle blogger The College Prepster to review their version. One of the most recent comments on her post was the the insert looked “exactly like Vineyard Vines.”
I chose to post about this tote bag because it was not something I would have purchased for myself on a college budget. However, since acquiring it, I’ve taken it to both class and the beach. The worst that’s happened to it is a stain, which would wash out if I bothered to try cleaning it. Mine has the most “basic” design, making it versatile enough to match any casual outfit. If I were to purchase another bag, I would likely spring for the Americana themed one, despite the fact that it is no longer 4th of July season.
For those looking for a reasonably sized bag that is fashionable and well organized, I highly recommend the Classic Whale Tote. While it may not have the backing of L.L. Bean, the inside pockets and design beat the Boat and Tote… or at least in my opinion. After having my own Classic Whale, and growing up with a Boat and Tote in my family, I would never go back to L.L. Bean’s bag unless I needed a very large size.
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