Yonson Pak, 24, remembers having to coax buyers to view the Y. Pak Ltd. collection in her drafty workshop, though it was just a block away from New York's fashion district. "Getting buyers in used to be my biggest problem," she sighs. No longer. Pak's line, aimed at women a decade older than herself, is now being snapped up by Neiman-Marcus in Dallas and Beverly Hills, Ann Taylor in New York and Washington, and small boutiques nationwide. Pak hopes to net $120,000 this year. Her fall collection (above), priced from $98 for leg warmer pants to $196 for a sweater jacket, features soft angora wool knits. Pak's family emigrated to the U.S. from Korea when she was 16. Her father is a messenger and her mother a dressmaker, and when their daughter was 18 she sold her first design—to Henri Bendel. Later, as a senior at New York's Pratt Institute, she started Y. Pak Ltd. with a $50,000 loan from friends and relatives. These days she often works past midnight, then camps out on a small bed in her office. She does find time to date, but rarely with men in the fashion world. Observes Pak: "They are superficial and pretentious."
Robert Lang Adams, a 25-year-old distantly descended from Paul Revere (though not the Adamses of Boston), wonders how he made honors in his first year at Harvard Business School. "I partied almost every night," he confesses. But he also netted $30,000 that year publishing student directories for Harvard, Wellesley and Simmons colleges. Then, after talking to school counselors ("Some of my best ideas come from other people," he admits), Adams set out to write and publish The Boston Job Bank, a 167-page paperback employment guide for recent college graduates. A year ago—four months before Adams received his master's—the reference book, listing more than 500 companies and contacts, came out in 200 Boston-area bookstores. So far he has sold more than 10,000 copies at $5.95 each. Last month his company, Bob Adams Inc., followed up with The Metropolitan New York Job Bank, which covers 2,060 companies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut "whether they want to be included or not." By the end of the year he hopes to have Job Bank books in Philadelphia, Washington, L.A. and Chicago. A bachelor who enjoys skiing, sailboat racing and tennis, Adams now plans a novel based on his illustrious family. "All I need," he says, "is three or four weekends to write it." Who will publish it? Who else? Bob Adams.
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