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Vernon, Lillian

Born: 1927 AD
Currently alive, at 88 years of age.
Nationality: German
Categories: Entrepreneurs

1927 – Lillian Vernon was born Lilly Menasche in Leipzig, Germany. Lillian Vernon, 75, is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Lillian Vernon Corporation, a specialty catalog and online retailer that she founded 52 years ago on her kitchen table.

1949 – She attended New York University, but, like many women at the time, left after two years to get married.

1951 – A 4-month pregnant Lillian Vernon started her mail order business. Her goals were modest at first: earn a few extra dollars to pay household bills and keep occupied while awaiting the birth of her child.

1954 – Her company took over a storefront for a warehouse. She rented a building next door for her monogramming operation, and a store across the street became the shipping department.

1956 – The Lillian Vernon catalog was born–16 pages in black and white, mailed to 125,000 customers who had responded to her ads.

1965 – Lillian Vernon Corporation was formed and five years later annual sales soared past $1 million for the first time as women began flooding the workplace and had less time to shop.

1995 – Her company went online, becoming one of the first retailers to market gift, houseware, gardening, holiday, and children’s products over the internet.

1996 – She wrote memoir "An Eye for Winners: How I Built One of America’s Greatest Direct-Mail Businesses".

2003 – Lillian Vernon, headquartered in Rye, New York, shipped 4 million orders and posted sales of $259 million.