Eye for Winners: How I Built One of America's Greatest Direct-Mail Business

Overview

In 1951, using $2,000 of wedding gift money, Lillian Vernon founded a mail-order business - on her kitchen table! She placed an ad for personalized belts and handbags in Seventeen magazine, then filled the orders from her home. The ad was a huge success, and the Lillian Vernon catalog was born. This year, her company had sales of $238 million to its lifetime customer base of 18 million people. This is her story: how her family fled Nazi Germany; how she grew up as an immigrant in America; her travels, marriages, ...
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NY 1996 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Immaculate. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Pristine. Tight. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: ... General/trade. Gift Quality. Immaculate. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Pristine. Tight. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In 1951, using $2,000 of wedding gift money, Lillian Vernon founded a mail-order business - on her kitchen table! She placed an ad for personalized belts and handbags in Seventeen magazine, then filled the orders from her home. The ad was a huge success, and the Lillian Vernon catalog was born. This year, her company had sales of $238 million to its lifetime customer base of 18 million people. This is her story: how her family fled Nazi Germany; how she grew up as an immigrant in America; her travels, marriages, and children. But mainly this is the story of one determined woman and the business she built - relying largely on her gut instinct and her "eye for winners" - into a mail-order industry leader that is a national institution. Beyond the story of this one extraordinary woman's success, An Eye for Winners provides an intensive how-to manual for aspiring entrepreneurs. From building mailing lists to the art of picking "winners" for her catalogs, Lillian Vernon gives us an insider's look at how to break into the mail-order business. Each chapter includes informative sidebars covering management strategies, negotiating tips, practical guidance on how to secure a bank loan, crucial advice about marketing and merchandising - everything the beginning entrepreneur needs to know about starting a business.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Vernon, one of the nation's best-known merchandisers, here presents an ingenuous self-portrait. Born to wealth in Germany, her family fled Nazi persecution, settling first in Holland, then briefly in Palestine, before arriving in New York City, where they built their fortune anew. After she married, to make extra money for her growing family she began a mail-order business at her home in suburban New York. For many years she ran the entire show, relying on her "golden gut" to select the products, which are primarily aimed at the middle-aged wife who works outside the home. Successes include the "Hurry Door Knocker" for families with only one bathroom and crocheted snowflakes for a Christmas tree; the average order totals around $50. How does Vernon account for her success? A single-minded devotion to business and a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, the book seems to have been written in haste and includes some confounding contradictions: e.g., she claims alternately two primary residences. Yet as the unselfconscious disclosures of a terribly ambitious woman, the book has the power to absorb readers. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Vernon offers a step-by-step, how-to book on creating your own mail-order business wrapped snugly inside a larger autobiography detailing a great American success story. Readers can follow her from Nazi Germany to the United States, through two marriages, to the rapid growth of a mail-order business that started with an ad in Seventeen. At times, Vernon the writer is as entertaining, engaging, and straightforward as her own Lillian Vernon catalog. Writing as clear as this in a book about business is a treasure in itself; a lesser writer could put readers to sleep with details of the monogrammed belts and bags and the quest for precious Christmas ornaments and other baubles. Vernon gives us an attractive mix of the best of sound business advice with a compelling personal story told from the heart and delivered concisely. The reader learns what it feels like to have a passion for business. Recommended for all public libraries.-Randy L. Abbott, Univ. of Evansville Libs., Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887308185
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.95 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 0.98 (d)

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