Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mail Order Marvel

Lilly Hochberg launched her mail order catalog business out of her home in 1951, at a time when many women didn’t work, much less start their own businesses. She used the two thousand dollars she and her husband had received as wedding gifts and purchased purses and belts, then placed an ad in Seventeen Magazine offering the belts and purses with free personalization. She received sixteen thousand dollars in orders from that ad alone. The company direct mailed its first catalogs in 1956, selling household goods, gifts, seasonal merchandise, and children’s products.

The Lillian Vernon company continues to provide mail order goods sixty years later. The company now has eight mail order catalogs, along with a website and fourteen outlet stores across the Eastern United States. Free personalization is still offered on a variety of items, which is one of the reasons the company is still going strong today.

The company went public in 1987, but remained a family-run company throughout much of its history. The website was launched in 1995; and in 1996, Lillian Vernon mailed 179 million catalogs and made revenues of $238.2 million. The company is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Its national distribution center and corporate headquarters encompass an 827,000-square-foot facility. More than 130 million orders have been shipped since the company got its start in 1951. Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Frank Sinatra have all been Lillian Vernon customers at some point in their lives and the company has been featured on a variety of television shows, including Jeopardy, Saturday Night Live, and David Letterman.

No comments:

Post a Comment