This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As I went into my monthly last-minute "I have nothing to write about" panic searching for something to say to inspire you, I read (one of my methods is to pretend I'm not thinking about a column topic and distract myself with Web surfing) about someone who has long inspired me. And I can't let the moment pass without acknowledging her many contributions to the entrepreneurial world.

Lillian Vernon, founder of the catalog company that bears her name, just sold her business in mid-April to a private investment group. While she's not retiring, Vernon is relinquishing daily control of the business, though she will still be the company's non-executive chairman as well as spokesperson.

Why am I telling you this? Well, Lillian Vernon is one of a handful of business owners who can rightfully bear the title Legendary Entrepreneur. She founded the business literally from her kitchen 52 years ago. Her initial $2,000 investment (money she received as wedding presents) grew into a $260 million company. Vernon has said the highlight of her career was taking her company public in 1987, when Lillian Vernon became the first firm founded by a woman to be publicly listed on the American Stock Exchange.

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In