Catalog Queen Lillian Vernon Dies at 88

Catalog Queen Lillian Vernon Dies at 88

08881b0cd977ee5d2e47773f0978406f0848f152?w=240&h=240&fit=crop
Tara Bellucci
Dec 16, 2015
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Lillian Vernon)

Lillian Vernon, the woman who built a catalog empire, passed away on Monday in New York. She was 88.

Vernon began her business in 1951 by selling personalized belts and handbags through classified ads in Seventeen Magazine. Her mail-order business grew from there, where her niche became affordable monogrammed items sourced from around the world. In a time when Sears was the major player in the catalog space, she monogrammed her name onto American coffee tables.

A marketing pioneer, Vernon was the first to release seasonal catalogs for Easter and Halloween and popularized the gift-with-purchase. In 1987, hers became the first woman-owned publicly traded company on the American Stock Exchange.

Created with Sketch.