R. Riveter on ‘Shark Tank’: Interview With the Army Wives Who Founded the Company

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R. Riveter, a handbag company staffed with military wives, entered the Shark Tank in Season 7. They pride themselves in providing jobs for military spouses, who can struggle with unemployment.

The leather and canvas bags are made from military-inspired material and are available online and in their shop in Southern Pines, North Carolina.

We interviewed co-founders Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse and here’s what they told us about…

How the Idea Came About to Incorporate the Talents of Military Spouses

Lisa: Cameron and I are both military spouses and met when our husbands were stationed at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, Georgia. We were two educated women with so much to offer, but we were both having a difficult time finding employment. We had many conversations amongst ourselves about how difficult it is find even a part-time job, and this same discussion came up with every military spouse I talked with. As military spouses who relocate every few years, having a successful career in one area is very difficult. That’s how R. Riveter became a reality. We knew we wanted to build a company that would allow those passionate, driven and talented military spouses to have mobile income; careers they could be proud of and take with them no matter where the military asked them to go next.

What It Means to Be an Army Wife

Cameron: When we talk about how R. Riveter got its start, we do feel that it’s important to bring up the fact that military spouse unemployment is a very serious issue, and one that is very near and dear to both of our hearts. There are a lot of intricacies of this life that you don’t understand until you’re part of it. Sure, this lifestyle presents its challenges, unemployment, deployments, being away from family, having to relocate our children halfway through the school year. But, being a military spouse is something we are extremely proud of and has many amazing, rewarding aspects as well! We get to travel and see the world. We have the opportunity to meet some amazing people that become family along the way, and we discover a greater appreciation for our loved ones.

How They Find the Riveter Family

Lisa: Several of our Riveters have been with us from the very beginning. Every Riveter feels just as strongly about the mission as we do. Other Rivers, have found us through word of mouth or social media. But, this company isn’t just about the handbags; it’s about encouraging social responsibility and providing these women with a community of support, too. I’m proud to call all of our Riveters my friends, and I think they all feel the same way about Cameron, myself and each other. We’re like a big family and really rely on each other throughout the many relocations that are part of this lifestyle.

Their Husbands’ Unwavering Support

Lisa: Our husbands’ are not only our strongest supporters but are our toughest critics and they are very much a part of what we have done. In the early years, my husband would always come with me to carry in the display walls, helped us set up the bags in between chasing the kids around and speak to shoppers about our company and mission. I have always been incredibly proud of his service for our country, and he inspired me to do my part as well.

Plans for the Future

Lisa: We would love to see R. Riveter expand west and continue to change the face of at-home work. We understand the unique struggles that the military life presents, so we provide our Riveters with the flexibility to work when they can from wherever they can. It’s definitely something unique to our company.
Cameron: Absolutely! We’ve been so blessed to be able to help so many military spouses on the East coast, but there are so many military installations on the West coast full of talented military spouses who would make amazing additions to our Riveter family!