This feature has been kept on the back burner for quite a long time… mainly due to the fact that we couldn’t quite compete with the volume of quality media coverage STEVE VARSANO was already receiving when we caught up in London. Steve operates ‘The Jet Business’ from possibly the most unique aviation showroom in the world, located on the ground floor of a listed mansion on Park Lane, Mayfair in London. Entering the double doors of the property is to enter another world… the exclusive realms of the super-rich and super-famous who can afford to travel in their own plane as they criss-cross the globe. Steve has created this magical bubble for himself, and is an entirely self made man from humble beginnings in New York, which makes his spectacular success all the more admirable. One half of the dynamic business and high society duo that is (Lisa) Tchenguiz-Varsano, Steve is literally ‘jet-propelled’, and counts self development guru Anthony Robbins and property tycoon, Mohammed Hadid, father of supermodels Gigi and Bella, amongst his closest longtime friends. Here are a just two video clips which explain the man and his style much better than we could ever do, plus further down the page, a conversation between Steve and model/lifestyle designer Nicky Summer held only a few months back… IONA LEWIS

There are few things more inspiring than the story of a self-made man or woman, and here is a glimpse into the truly fascinating ascension of Steve Varsano, who has propelled himself from an extremely challenging upbringing in New York to the height of international business and society through a mix of solid hard work, discipline, determination, initiative and people skills. We met for tea at the London headquarters of ‘The Jet Business’, Steve’s ultra sleek private aviation showroom at Hyde Park Corner… NICKY SUMMER

NS: “Steve, what was your life like when you were growing up?

SV: “My mother was born in Austria and my father’s family was from Greece: they divorced when I was five and I was basically brought up all my life with my mother always working to support her four children. This resulted in us all being very independent kids who did whatever we wanted; some of it was good and some bad, but it matured us quicker than a regular kid…”

NS: “How did you survive, never mind thrive? Your life is like a story from a novel!”

SV: “We had absolutely nothing and my mother worked two jobs to bring us up; if we wanted anything we needed to earn the money to buy it. I admired successful people and was taught if you wanted something you had to earn it, not expect to get anything from anyone for free. So, I’ve worked hard my entire life, from when I was very young…first I worked at a hair salon when I was seven years old sweeping floors, then I progressed to working at restaurants – in every job, from dishwasher, to waiter, to head chef. When I went to university, I took university cooperation education jobs, which is ‘on the job’ training, first as an airport manager intern and then as a Washington DC lobbying group intern…”

NS: “How did aviation first make an appearance in your life?

SV: “I started learning to fly when I was fourteen years old and worked a month to pay for every hour of flying lessons. I then graduated from university with a bachelor degree in Aeronautical Studies and after that became a lobbyist on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. During that time I met someone who sold jets and convinced them to hire me for free, until I learned how to do it myself…”

NS: “You now have your own very successful jet sales business, who are your typical clients?

SV: “The typical Jet Business client is the entrepreneurial CEO who has really been instrumental in creating and building their business, more than the Fortune 500 companies. I need to be able to deal directly with the decision maker to be effective rather than rely on the many levels of decision making and committees of big corporations. We associate our product as being a crucial business tool and time-making machine, more than just a ‘luxury brand’, even though we truly are the uber-luxury product. We see private jet travel as the best way to maximise time for all the top executives, government officials, celebrities and billionaires of the world…”  

NS: “Your lifestyle is an excellent example of successfully mixing business with pleasure; who and what inspires you most today?

SV: “Those who inspire me most are my clients who have achieved so much in their respective businesses; especially the ones who have become friends and I get to spend more time with…”

NS: “How do you spend your leisure time?

SV: “I travel a great deal… my favourite hotel is the world is the Peninsula Shanghai; my favourite place to dine is the ‘Sexy Fish’ restaurant in Mayfair, London. Although it would not be my first choice, I mainly eat healthy salads, it’s part of my lifestyle. I drink only water during the day, and vodka by night. I work out with my private trainer six days a week at 6am and three times a week I also take a Bikram yoga class. When I shop, it’s Oswald Boateng for day suits, Dolce & Gabbana for evening. I do love to organise events and earlier this year I staged Lisa’s birthday in a deco-themed venue in London. We’re  also invited to many amazing celebrations, and those that stick out in my mind particularly are the birthday events hosted by Sir Philip Green; Bruce Ritchie, the owner of Residential Land; and Kamel Alzarka, founder of The Falcon Group; these nights always have serious ‘wow’ factor! My closest friend and ally is most definitely Lisa Tchenguiz; in the summers we love to spend time in St Tropez, Sardinia and Mykonos because we are with the most interesting, fun, smartest, adventurous and creative people. I love my life, I live it to the full and there’s never a dull moment!”


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