The Success of Lillian Vernon It 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 her Lillian’s motivation was to supplement her husband’s 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 dollars.(Youman, N, 1989, pg 26) After 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 together. She got the trend right but the bulky orders overwhelmed the company+s fulfillment capability. (Youman, N. 1989, pg 26). In 1993, when Sears announced that after many years it will cease publication of its giant catalog, known as the -wish-book,+ a very long ch During the time when the mail order giants were cutting back, the Lillian Vernon Corporation.
reviewed their catalog databases to clear out customers who had not ordered in quite some time. During their review, they found that many of the active customers were buying presents for children and grandchildren. This caused the corporation to create its first niche book called -Lilly’s kids. Lilly’s Kids does $30 million in sales of toys and school equipment. (Lightman, 1996, pg 1) Now, Lillian Vernon has targeted 1. Make time for yourself and your family. 2.
Surround yourself with the best people possible. 3. Be open to new ideas and better ways of doing things. 4. Be prepared to take risks.
5. Like what you do and like what you sell. 6. Don+t dwell on your mistakes or setbacks, but instead learn from them and move on. Never let mistakes defeat or discourage you. 7.
Don+t try to do it all—-Delegate! 8. Don’t grow too fast without the proper systems and people in place to handle it. 9. Don’t be afraid 10. Don’t spend more money than you have– set realistic budgets and stick to them.
Keep your debts manageable. (Lightman, 1996, pg 2) Finally, in todays fast paced society, it is easy to see how a company like the Lillian Vernon Corporation could appeal to the overworked consumer. This type of company provides an easy affordable way for those consumers to gift shop without derailing them from their hurried everyday lives. I suspect that the Lillian Vernon Corporation will stand head and shoulders above its competitors long into the 21st century. REFERENCES Coleman, L. -I went out and did it.+ (Iowa: Forbes, August 17, 1992) 150:102(2). Lightman, A.
Lillian Vernon Home Page (http://www.amex.com/weblink/Lvc/index.html #business, 1996) Mason, J. Lillian Vernon Focuses on Cusomers. (New York: Management Review, May, 1993) 82:22(3). Youman, N. The Queen of Kitsch. (New York: Adweek+s Marketing Week, April 24, 1989) 30:22(4).
The Research Process Researching my topic started through the World Wide Web (WWW) utilizing the software -Netscape+. I originally found the Lillian Vernon home page and several items from her catalogs. I then accessed the University of Maryland University College+s VICTOR (an online library catalog that allows the student to search databases of the University of Maryland and its associated colleges.) I accessed VICTOR through the University of Maryland’s Home page on the World Wide Web. After ac With the printed data, I went back into the main VICTOR menu and did a title search for folios that contained articles on my subject. The lists that I generated provided titles with two types of index numbers; titles by date and titles by serial number.
Dated titles were books and serialed titles were folios. I quickly located the folio titles and physically located them within the library using the assigned call number. I spent approximately 6 hours at the Mckeldin Library researching my subject. Out of 15 reference candidates, I found 6 for my paper using only 4 in the final revision.