Mario Christian and Luca Daniel: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

With half a million charms sold and over 100,000 bracelets on the wrists of loyal customers, it’s no wonder Toronto-based jewelry design firm Joseph Nogucci is becoming a household name. We caught up with Managing Directors Mario Christian and Luca Daniel to find out what makes them so charming.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
We design beautiful, innovative, fashion forward jewelry and support charities that mean something to us – it’s really as simple as that. We’re not revolutionizing the world or developing an app that will let you text by blinking. We are simply a dedicated team of designers and engineers and we love what we do. 

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
Our business evolved from a few sketches in a notebook. I was in the middle of my Masters of Architecture thesis at the University of Toronto and my brother Luca was finishing his Structural Engineering degree at Waterloo when we had originally decided to begin prototyping jewelry. Six months later, we launched the Joseph Nogucci portfolio site. Reception was almost immediate, and we sold out of our first run of beads and charms in less than a week. From that point on, we realized that this was our opportunity to combine our passions for design and material fabrication and took on the roles of building the Nogucci brand full time. We now have a global reach, receiving thousands of international orders and shipping worldwide.

What is the best part of what you do? The most challenging?
The best part of our job is being able to build a team of people that we love to work with. Each member of the Nogucci team is hand-picked and we wake up every morning excited to be able to surround ourselves with amazing and talented people. We really are blessed.

I think the most challenging thing about our business is also the most rewarding. This is keeping our brand fresh, relevant and innovative. We are continuously designing new lines and products and testing new fabrication techniques. Our most exciting line, Morfologi, is yet to launch and has taken us down an incredible design path utilizing 3D printing technology to custom manufacture our pieces. This likely has been our most challenging undertaking since we’re one of the very first jewelry companies to be doing this (thanks architecture school, you came in handy after all!).

We also have to give credit where it is due. We wouldn’t have been able to get to where we are without the dedication of our Creative Director Heng Tang. He’s a brilliant designer and an invaluable asset to our team. 

Where do you see your business going in five years?
Our goal for the Joseph Nogucci Brand is for it to become a global name. The reception that we’ve already seen in European markets is exciting and we hope that once we’re able to get our designs in enough hands, large retailers will see the value that we bring to their in-store collections.

We plan to expand further into the custom manufacturing market and offer customers, as well as other businesses, a full 360-degree solution for their jewellery design needs. We would love to be able to get to a point where we are not only designing for ourselves, but designing lines for other companies as well.

What does success look like for you?
We think success is a state of mind, it’s all about perception. If you have to “measure” success, you’ll never be truly happy since you’ll always be comparing your success to someone else’s. You’ll go nuts thinking like that. Simple fact is, no matter where you stand, there will always be some person or some company more “successful” than you. It skews your perception. Luca and I think success is being able to do what you love and live your life the way you want to. It seems cliché, but I truly believe that.

In a more fun sense: going to a wedding and sitting next to a woman dressed to the nines, wearing your jewelry. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When Joseph Nogucci surpassed 100,000 active customers. It was a very exciting day. 

Advice for young professionals?
The only way to learn is to do, and the only way to do well is to find your rhythm. Everyone works differently, so jump right in, make mistakes and learn about yourself. Work hard, put in LOTS of hours and do something that excites you. If you’re in it just for money, you may get rich but you’ll miss out on a lot that comes with doing something that you’re passionate about. You need to have uncompromised integrity and you need to care about what you’re doing. If you can check off all those boxes, you’ll be in a good place.  

Do you support any charities?
Certainly. Both Luca and I were born with cystic fibrosis so the first thing we did, once we established our business, was reach out to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and donate what we could. We look forward to building a lasting relationship with them moving forward. We have also partnered with the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and are currently running a three-month long campaign with them. We’ve got a few other charities that we are hoping to build long term relationships with as well and are grateful for the support from our customers. Without them, we couldn’t be able to do what we do.

What is notable to you?
Doing things you love and having others share in your passions. 

iPhone, Android, BB or other?
We only use Motorola Brick Phones. Gordon Gekko-style, circa 1987. Obviously. (I joke!). We’re all iPhones.

How do you keep active, energetic and vibrant?
We do our best to surround ourselves with dedicated and inspiring people. We also try to play tennis and squash as much as we can every week.