Lillian Vernon Shares Insight, Wit With DMCNY Audience

Share this article:
NEW YORK -- More than a half-century of direct marketing experience, wisdom and wit was on display yesterday as catalog icon Lillian Vernon was the featured speaker at a Direct Marketing Club of New York luncheon.


Her five minutes of opening remarks included a mention of her "greatest passion and joy -- merchandising -- traveling the world, looking for new products." She also said her company had a great Christmas season and that 35 percent of its orders were realized via the Web.


Then she spent about 35 minutes in a Q&A session that covered everything from the start of her firm to its sale. She was asked about Direct Holdings Worldwide LLC's acquisition of Time Life Inc., the music and video direct marketing subsidiary of Time Inc. Direct Holdings Worldwide also owns Lillian Vernon Corp.


"I think it will be good," she said. "They needed a partner. You put two good brands together and you've got something to shout about."


She provided some laughter following a question about whether she has offered any advice to Martha Stewart.


"Martha gives advice, she doesn't take advice," Vernon said.


More laughs were generated when moderator Ruth Stevens asked whether customers were signing up for an e-mail newsletter.


"Whatever we offer, they'll sign up for," Vernon said.


She was asked after the event whether conditions exist currently that would allow her to start her company as she did in the early 1950s. She began shaking her head, indicating that the answer was "no," before the question could be asked completely.


"You would need much more money now," she said. "I had $5,000 in wedding gift money. Circumstances are much different, and it was a different retail environment. What is $5,000 worth today, $100,000? You couldn't start a mail-order business now with $100,000."


When asked the amount of money needed now to start such an operation, "I have no idea," was her response.


Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.
close

Next Article in News

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in News

De Quinto Tapped as Coke's Next CMO

De Quinto Tapped as Coke's Next CMO

The president of the company's Iberia Business Unit will take over from Joe Tripodi upon his retirement in February.

Customer Centricity Is Spurring Marketing-Tech Investments

Customer Centricity Is Spurring Marketing-Tech Investments

A majority of marketers rank customer satisfaction improvements as paramount in the technology investment decisions.

Big, Bold Moves in the C-Suite

Big, Bold Moves in the C-Suite ...

JCPenney appoints Home Depot's Marvin Ellison as CEO; Harte Hanks and JWT add hitting power to their C-level benches