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The Right Stuff

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  • Posted on 22nd Sep, 2022 23:42 PM

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This story appears in the December 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

It's difficult to believe that a single household remains inthe United States that hasn't been touched by Lillian Vernon.If its residents are not among those who have ordered from any ofthe half a billion catalogs sent out over the last 46 years, thensurely they've received a gift from someone who did.

Last year, Lillian Vernon Corp. earned revenues exceeding $238million, a phenomenal achievement for a company launched at ayellow Formica kitchen table by a newly married, pregnant,21-year-old woman. Starting with one small ad in Seventeenmagazine for matching, monogrammed leather belts and handbags, thecompany has burgeoned into an empire that mails 29 editions ofeight different catalogs, each averaging 96 pages and offering morethan 700 products. In addition, the company's wholesaledivision services corporate accounts and a retail division operates15 outlet stores.

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