What's the best way to break into the Asian market? First, establish your product as a premium American brand, then let the foreign markets clamor for it, contends Arlyn Morse, president of Kayla Cosmetics, in Burbank, Calif. The year-old privately funded Kayla hopes to create a demand-pull for its makeup and skin-care products -- designed for the Asian face -- by letting the Asian American market of an estimated 7.5 million consumers seed the way to a much larger market in the Pacific Rim. Phase one of the strategy seems to be working. Ringing up $3 million in first-year sales through a single Beverly Hills boutique as well as direct-mail catalogs, the company eschews slick-image advertising in favor of a grass-roots approach using multilingual sales reps. After introducing its line in upscale U.S. retail stores this year, the company intends to expand to Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea by 1994.

-- Anne Murphy