The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) named Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley, founders of R. Riveter, as co-recipients of its Woman of the Year Award for their support of military spouses through their U.S.-based handbag company.
“… this is about every military spouse who ever had a dream,” said Cruse.
Based in Southern Pines, N.C., R. Riveter employs military spouses who help make the handcrafted handbags the company sells. This work can be done remotely, offering military spouses flexible and mobile job opportunities in response to employment challenges – such as frequent relocations – which can come with military life.
2016-2017 ALA National President Mary E. Davis called the work opportunities offered by R. Riveter to military spouses “something they desperately need considering the employment challenges that do come with military life.”
R. Riveter had its modest start in November 2011, in the small attic at Cruse’s home near Camp Merrill, Ga.
By 2014, R. Riveter’s brick-and-mortar store in Southern Pines had opened. Another highlight in the life of the company was Cruse and Bradley’s successful appearance as contestants on “Shark Tank,” ABC’s business-themed reality TV show, in February 2016. Cruse and Bradley’s pitch landed them a partnership with, and financial investment from, well-known billionaire businessman Mark Cuban.
“Although R. Riveter started in an attic, we’re now providing income to over 100 military spouses. We’re fiercely dedicated to providing income to military spouses,” said Bradley.
Bradley has a Masters in Business Administration from Chapman University. Cruse has a Masters in Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Established in 1984, the American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding women who exemplify the values and ideals of the American Legion Auxiliary, particularly those women whose contributions advance the quality of life for America’s military, veterans, and their families. Past Woman of the Year honorees include former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy L. Duckworth, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Army Wife Talk Radio Host Tara Crooks, Patriot PAWS Founder Lori Stevens, and U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson. To learn more about the Woman of the Year Award and the American Legion Auxiliary, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.