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- October 22, 1979
- Vol. 12
- No. 17
Rae Schiff, 24, boasts of her Chicago publication, Word of Mouth: The Freelancer's Guide, "We begin where the Yellow Pages leave off." It lists everything from calligraphers and ethnic caterers to hypnotists. "They're special people," she says, "and best of all, they're available round the clock." Indeed, the volume includes all-night plumbers. A listing (which usually throws in a personality profile as well as a phone number) costs $15 to $150; the book itself sells for $1. After trying her hand at art, poetry and jazz at colleges from New York to Mexico, Schiff joined the economy. Word of Mouth would have classified her variously as a cocktail waitress, designer, chef and tour guide. "People were always asking if I knew a house painter or a shoemaker," she explains. "And I had all these friends who didn't know how to find jobs." So after borrowing $1,500 through her dad, a former delicatessen owner (her mother is an artist), Rae spent eight months of 15-hour days producing the first edition last July. "I voided my social life," Rae complains, and now she's toiling on an update to run as an insert in the magazine Chicago Faces—which will triple her circulation to 30,000.
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