Handbag company helps military spouses keep employment


FOUNTAIN, Colo. — Before making tags for handbags, Jocelyn Velazquez worked part-time at a tanning salon.

“I didn’t even expect to work. I was getting my degree in accounting, so that I could have a job when he retired,” Velazquez said.

But that all changed when she heard about R. Riveter, a company that caters to the military lifestyle, offering a portable career.

“As a military spouse, you’re moving around every 2.9 years so, it’s really difficult to find long-term employment and something that can not only find employment, but something that you can take with and something you can grow in,” said Lisa Bradley, co-founder and CEO of R. Riveter.

A report by the Institute for Veterans and Military says military spouses are three times more likely to be unemployed regardless of age or education.

It also reports 90 percent of female spouses have more formal education or experience than needed at their current position.

It was a challenge the founders of R. Riveter faced. Both of them had master’s degrees before creating the company.

The company is named after Rosie the Riveter for her “can do” attitude while serving our country and community.

Velazquez said being a Riveter works in her favor, allowing her to have a flexible schedule to take care of her kids, while still having a career.

“Of course I was worried about not being able to find a job and not only that, but child care,” Velazquez said.

Each bag is handmade by military spouses at home. Each worker creates different parts of the bag, from tags to lining and color.

Business was good before, but after getting a deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank, it’s now booming.

“Before I was working one or two days a week. Now I’m working every day of the week and probably sending roughly 1,000 to 2,000 tags a month,” Velazquez said.

“We’re a true American-made story. We saw a need and we went for it, and it’s amazing to see the ability to do that is still very alive and well in America,” Bradley said.>>Get more information on how to become a Riveter.>> Follow R. Riveter on Facebook.

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