LAGOS TAKES A TRIP TO THE HEART OF TEXAS

Byline: Holly Haber

DALLAS — Steven Lagos has taken Texas to heart.
The jewelry designer has crafted a heart-shaped sterling silver charm, sculpted with eight motifs that represent the Lone Star State, including oil rigs, longhorns and The Alamo.
Cast in sterling silver or sterling with 18-karat gold, the charm adorns a variety of pieces, including a bead-ball necklace, earrings and cufflinks. The line is sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus and the four Lagos stores as an upscale souvenir, with retail prices ranging from $85 for a lapel pin to $795 for a leather bolo tie.
The Philadelphia-based designer got the idea from a similar “Heart of Philadelphia” that has been one of his top-selling pieces since he created it two years ago.
“It surprised us how people got into it,” said Lagos during a visit to the Neiman’s downtown flagship to introduce the Heart of Texas collection. “We’ve probably sold 3,000 or 4,000 units of the Heart of Philadelphia — mostly the basic pendent for $100. People come to town and they want to take something home and there is not a lot of nice stuff out there.”
The Philadelphia heart got a big boost from the Republican National Convention last year, when the piece was favored as a keepsake. Barbara Bush received about six of them as gifts, Lagos said.
Texas was an obvious next place, since 20 to 25 percent of Lagos’s volume is generated in the state.
“People here like to dress,” Lagos said. “They dress up to go shopping. They like jewelry. You can always tell transplants because they are more low key.”
Lagos plans to create similar hearts for several cities, beginning with a Beverly Hills introduction in late March, followed by Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York. Lagos has stores in Philadelphia, New York, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas. A percentage of sales from the hearts is donated to children’s charities in the respective regions.
Though Lagos declined to reveal the firm’s annual volume, he said it ships about 100,000 units every year to roughly 300 points of sale, at an average retail price point of $450. The firm is projecting 15 percent growth this year on top of a 21 percent gain in 2000.