by Hallie Mummert Not many people can say they got their start in business by investing a portion of their wedding money into a direct marketing venture. That's exactly how Lillian Vernon, president of Lillian Vernon Inc., began her illustrious career in direct marketing. In 1951 she took $2,000, placed an ad in Seventeen magazine for personalized handbags and belts and "achieved success beyond my wildest dreams." After parlaying her start-up capital into 6,450 orders that generated $32,000 in sales, Vernon was able to continue growing her business with more space ads and eventually black and white mini-catalogs "that cost a nickel to produce,"
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