The king of high-end tchotchkes (Richard Thalheimer, former CEO and chairman of The Sharper Image) and queen of low-end tchotchkes (Lillian Vernon) have been dethroned. Lillian Vernon and Sharper Image—two iconic catalogs—were known to have been struggling in recent years. Their bankruptcies were expected. That they were announced on the same day is astonishing. How could this happen? Both Vernon and Thalheimer launched businesses without paying their dues. Ultimately, neither of them knew what the hell they were doing. Lillian Vernon’s Story In 1933, Lillian Katz’s family fled the Nazis. They left Leipzig, Germany, for Amsterdam, and four years later were lucky enough to
Note: Denny Hatch responds to all correspondence. Readers respond to “Three 800-Pound Guerrillas” published Aug. 8, 2006, which compared the war in Iraq to the General Motors business model. I enjoyed the “800 Pound Guerilla” piece today and I feel compelled to comment. The unfortunate truth of our current situation is that almost everybody knew it would turn out this way, but nobody had the guts to admit it. Ego and greed have always been, and will always be man’s downfall and those are the two key reasons for our involvement. I appreciate you having the courage to discuss the war in your newsletter.