“Building on what my father had started and my many years of experience designing high-end jewelry, I started this company and named it after my son, Stefan Paul.”
If you haven’t heard the name Mario Novo in passing, it won’t be long before you do. Novo’s jewelry line, dubbed Stefan Paul, has not only caught the attention of such bold-faced names as Nancy O’Dell and Bon Jovi drummer David Bryan, but is also in the midst of expanding its reach. Novo, a New York City jeweler whose baubles appear in high-end department stores as well as in two distinct storefront locales, has decided to branch out with an innovative marketing tactic: selling his creations in high-end hair salons.
Of course, the jeweler to the stars would only showcase his precious stones in the best beauty shop in Manhattan: the lavish Warren-Tricomi Salon, an urban haven swathed in Persian rugs, gilt mirrors, and stunning glass vanities-a place where signature haircuts will run you several hundred dollars and the experience is unparalleled.
It’s not all PR-hype behind Novo. Beyond the celebrities and personalities that eagerly line up to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $1 million for his bespoke jewels, there lies real talent, hard work, and dedication. Novo knew from a young age that he would go into the jewelry business, following in the footsteps of his father who left Argentina for America when he was 28 in order to design and manufacture jewelry. “I have always known I wanted to do this,” says Novo. “I’m just taking what my father started and bringing it to a different level.”
After working 27 years behind the scenes, designing and manufacturing jewelry for Tiffany & Co., Novo launched his own line and his success has been snowballing ever since. “When my son was born 15 weeks early, weighing only 1 pound-the smallest child ever born in this country-I quit work to be with my family for the four months it would take for my son to leave the hospital. During this time, I thought about what I could do to leave a legacy for my son, something to secure his future. Building on what my father had started and my many years of experience designing high-end jewelry, I started this company and named it after my son, Stefan Paul.”
With the expansion of the brand, Novo is ensuring his son’s legacy. But it’s not just the soon-to-open boutiques in Warren-Tricomi’s New York salons that Novo is looking forward to. Rumor has it that Novo will be expanding to 10 boutiques across the country, which will include locales on Hollywood Boulevard and in the newly renovated Plaza Hotel. “This is a very big expansion,” explains Novo. “As for the distant future, we’ll possibly look at opening stand-alone stores.”
Also available in Novo’s collection is a men’s line, which is sold in his boutiques. Novo’s ongoing popularity is due to his willingness to commission any piece imaginable. “There is no piece that we cannot do, from design to completion,” he says. He meets with every customer to get a feel for his or her individual personality before creating their masterpiece and is often inspired by the clients themselves. Will his increasing success affect his personable approach? “No,” says Novo. “I will still be hands-on, even as we get bigger.”