THINKING BIG

THE PHRASE GLOBAL ECONOMY CONJURES UP VISIONS OF A WORLD DOMINATED BY MULTINATIONAL MONSTERS. BUT U.S. COMPANIES THAT COULD FIT INTO EXXON'S OR COCA-COLA'S BACK POCKET ARE ALSO CARVING OUT A PROFITABLE

SILVERWARE FROM BENEATH THE SEA To move offshore, a designer takes on pirates

IZABEL LAM INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS Brooklyn, N.Y. 1996 REVENUES $2.5 million MARKETS All continents

Creative genius allowed Izabel Lam to produce sensational dinnerware and cutlery designs. But to sell them successfully worldwide, she had to develop other qualities: a tough skin, a readiness to fight legal battles in country after country and a willingness to subordinate her artistic tastes to production considerations, though of a special sort. Her problem was one that bedevils many other American exporters and overseas manufacturers, big and small: design piracy.

Lam arrived in...

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