Made in the South: R. Riveter Handbags

November 10, 2013 | By | Comments (3)
Photo by Laurey Glenn

Photo by Laurey Glenn

For military families, frequent moves are a way of life. And with the average enlisted soldier relocated every two to three years, it’s often difficult for his or her spouse to pursue or maintain a single career path.

Enter R. Riveter, a one-of-a-kind handbag company that helps families on the move. Founders Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse, both military wives stationed in Dahlonega, Georgia, devised a clever business model in which “Riveters”—military spouses employed across the country—fabricate the various parts of the handbags in their homes and then ship them to Georgia for assembly.

Lisa spoke with us about the experiment-turned-thriving business that has more than two dozen employees.

The Materials
“Each handbag features durable materials—from uniforms, tents, and blankets—sourced from government surplus or, when possible, directly from service members.”

The Name
“Rosie the Riveter embodies everything that we stand for. Our mission is a bit more modern, but her spirit and ‘we can do it’ attitude still apply.”

The Process
“Riveters receive textiles and leather in the mail to cut and dye. Those are then shipped to our home base and stitched into handbagson a 50-year-old industrial sewing machine.”

The Look
“The repurposed materials mixed with supple leather create a rugged but sleek look that embodies both the toughness and polished esteem of military spouses.”

Prices range from $32 for wallets to $320 for a large custom bag (custom orders ship four to six weeks after purchase).


  1. Trish Minor

    – JUST VIEWED YOUR PRESENTATION ON SHARK TANK. I HAD A DRAPERY this is my cell1-901-484-8902-USINESS FOR 15 YEARS. Want to know how I may help in this market. You have Millington Navy base right next to me. I no longer have the business nor the equipment.

    My husband was a special ops person in the Army. I want to support you in some way. I have access to machines very a very low cost. I can help set someone up and maybe train.

    I have access to many workrooms that can maybe help train also.

    Please contact me at -1-901=484-8902.

    February 6, 2016 at 11:15 am
  2. maggie devereaux

    I just got done reading the magazine, tearing out the recipes and coupons and locked on to the article about R. Riveter. I am impressed. I am going to grab another ‘cup of joe’ and sit back down and write that gal a letter to see if I can be of any service to her

    November 11, 2013 at 5:34 am
  3. lauree

    this is full of wonderful

    November 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

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