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Homespun Wisdom A designer's down-home hospitality pays off.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Lana Bilzerian left her position at an upscale Italianknitwear company to start her own line in fall 2001, she puttogether a winter collection of her knitwear in three months. Shorton time and money, Bilzerian, 27, opted to forgo a showroom andinstead invited buyers from seven stylish stores, including Barneysand Fred Segal, to view the collection in her home.

Buyers were led through the back entrance of a restaurant toreach Bilzerian's Greenwich Village apartment for individualappointments. "There were chairs hanging everywhere; it waswhere the waiters changed, and there was no doorbell, so I'dcome down to get them," recalls Bilzerian. Once inside, buyerswere greeted by a fireplace, tea, cookies and mellow music-as thedesigner modeled the collection.

Providing a cozy atmosphere for buyers paid off-all of themplaced orders. Her highly exclusive line of knitwear is in 20stores, and 2003 sales are projected to hit $1 million.

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