In Memorium: Entrepreneurs Who Died in 2009

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Nancy Talbot, Co-founder of Talbots

From a humble start mailing 3,000 fliers people on the New Yorker’s subscription list, Talbot's retail business cornered the market on preppy women's apparel, churning out argyle sweaters, sensible skirts, and tweed jackets. The red Colonial door from the company's flagship store in Hingham, Massachusetts, became, among members of its target market, an iconic brand. Talbot and her husband sold the business to General Mills in 1973, but she remained on as a vice president for another decade. The company topped $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008, largely from the 55 million catalogs it mailed out that year.