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The Success of Lillian VernonIt all began with black and white in 1951 Today nearly 45 years later the mail order business of Lillian Vernon has swept the mail order market and maintained a financial foothold where others could not Lillian Hochberg now known as Lillian Vernon started her business at herLillians motivation was to supplement her husbands then 150 dollar a week income by working from her home She could be homemaker and help with the finances too Her success started by using 495 dollars of wedding gift money to place an mail order add in Seventeen magazine selling an inexpensive leather belt with matching purse that she herself had designed As a hook she offered to moaker in the Chelsea district of New York manufactured the two items for around 3 dollars The purse and belt came in black tan or red and sold for 7 dollarsYouman N 1989 pg 26After 6 weeks of advertising Lillian had received over 16 thousand dollars in mail orders Her belt and purse were such a hit she immediately increased her inventory to inexpensive jewelry and make-up paraphernalia Over the past 45 years Lillian has had two sons Fred and David Hochberg both of whom joined their mothers business and quickly rose up through the management ranks With their help her -little business went public in 1987 on the American Stock Exchange Since the Lillian Vernon Corporation went public it has overcome the unavoidable but near fatal traumas that face every entrepreneurial enterprise In this case inadequate computing capacity and inefficient warehome the customer places the order to the time they receive the merchandise in the mail Lillian Vernon has not relied on demographics to sell her products to the public Instead her secret to success lies in womens intuition The lean seat-of-the-pants operation she prefers makes her company tremendously agile For example in 1985 Lillian spied the cacooning trend and immediately put a furniture specialty catalog
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