We hope everyone continues to stay healthy and safe as we leave our homes a little more these days and get out to enjoy the warmer weather. As States around the USA relax and lift quarantine rules, we continue to proceed with caution getting back to "normal" life. What hasn't changed is your desire to be close to Greece. For those who can't get there this summer, we are proud and happy you have trusted us to be the source for your made in Greece products. Shipping from Greece since they reopened after over a month shutdown has changed. What used to take ten days can now take over a month or more. This is why we have started using expedited courier service from Greece whenever possible. We cannot do this with all our products , but we are doing this with jewelry and some accessories to get them here fast and also at no extra cost for our customers. Some of our shipments sent with regular Hellenic post have been arriving weekly, we have many in transit which means you will be seeing MANY more NEW products from Greece! We pride ourselves on keeping regular communication with customers on their pre and special orders...we are always available to answer questions. Every company you order imported products from are dealing with the same shipping challenges as this is a global issue. Make sure when you make a pre order with any company that they give you a realistic time frame for arrival and are responsive to your questions and requests. We are posting products as fast as we can when they arrive, if you see a COMING SOON message on a product, that means its in transit. For the time being, we are only taking pre orders on products that are coming by expedited courier, we feel this is a more responsible way to do business with our customers, so don't hesitate to contact us if you are interested in an item marked with "coming soon". On another note, we are also so honored to be working with so many wonderful Church communities on our Adopt a Church program. To date, we have given back almost $3000 to various Churches around the USA and still have a full roster of Churches and Hellenic organizations signed up all summer long. We are helping to support Churches, Hellenic schools, also Hellenic groups like AHEPA and Philopticos for fundraisers - message us to learn more at email@example.com . And finally, we just introduced a new made in Greece mask with stitched expressions such as Love Greece. We have other designs from this clothier in Greece, and can use other color fabrics such as black. We are using these to supply requests from Greek owned restaurants and businesses for their staff, and are able to do large bulk order on these. Message us on Facebook or our gmail if you want more information. Happy June everyone, be safe and well, and keep watching our social media to see what lands from Greece in the coming days!
We were travelling in Greece in mid February through mid March when the first cases of Covid19 started to hit in Athens. It was a scary time to travel and a scary time to ponder the unknown effects this crisis was going to bring to us globally. While I was visiting in Lesvos and posting beautiful images from around the island, trying not to think about the fact that there was a crisis with Turkey in addition to the growth of the virus building around me, a customer commented on a post suggesting we make Mati face masks. My first reaction was not a positive one in all honesty. I dismissed the comment. Wasn't even a possibilty to consider. As the crisis grew, and I returned home, and we kept hearing mixed messages on whether to wear a mask or not, and the critical shortage of masks that existed. Then something wonderful happened, manufacturing companies starting changing their production lines, donations of masks to our healthcare workers started pouring in, and Americans started pulling out their fabric bins and making beautiful ones for everyone to wear. In the midst of this, I was also checking on the well being of all our artists around Greece. My discussion with Calilena design team was a familiar one - none of the artists were working, no one was shopping, everything had come to a stand still. I asked them what they thought about making masks until the business conditions improved. And that is where the first domino took its place. A few weeks later, the designers came up with the first prototype. They had taken time to learn the proper way to make them, to add the filter pocket, to create the folds as recommended by the WHO, but also to keep their signature flair and style to make a mask with a fashion statement - if we need to wear them, why not make them beautiful too? The morning before posting, again the questions on our page about making masks were asked, even though at this point we had never publicly revealed the idea. This was all customer driven and clearly something with a growing interest. One customer simply asked the question whether we were making masks on an unrelated post last Sunday, and then several more followed suit seeing that comment - the second domino now took its place. I answered the customers privately, as the designers were still finishing the last samples, we werent going to release the photos until the next day on our page. Our plan was to take orders for those interested and donate a mask to any healthcare worker who contacted us. The designers even threw in extra masks to help with the donation . We were not thinking of the larger impact these masks would make - the next several dominos now started lining up. Sunday afternoon, as we had finished our phone calls with the designers and wished good night to my partner in Greece with a plan to release our masks the next morning, a flurry of messages now started hitting our email asking if we would "also" be selling masks because they wanted to wait and see ours before they purchased. Its no surprise as the need for masks are growing, eventually folks were going to start coming out with "Greek-ified" versions of facemasks. The box of dominos has now been hastily placed with a second set of dominos lined up rearing to go! We have said over and over, we are a company that is not in this business to compete. We are in this business to share beautiful products of Greece, to elevate the artists and people making the products, to share a piece of Greece with our customers. At that point however, we decided it was time to post the masks so the designers' hard work, research and dedicated efforts did not go to waste. We don't like to follow any shop's post with a "similar" product out of respect, especially when we know the online Greek shops share many of the same followers....its fine for some shops to work this way, but it is just not who we are. Yet, as you will find with with much of our catalog, we feel we are bringing something different to the market in regards to an authentic Greek made product. The Calilena design team who are used to selling sought after handbags in Europe and Australia created these masks as a special product for us, not just for our customers who requested them, but also for us to be able to donate to the dedicated healthcare workers who have given so much to all of us. And once we posted that first photo - the dominos began to fall. Between online orders and personal calls with customers who needed assistance, notes of encouragement, of thanks, comments of gratitude, WOW - you guys really lifted all our spirits! As of yesterday, the designers were given hundreds of orders from us to fill for our customers around the USA and also for Canada, Australia, New Zealand UK...even Africa! After they finish our initial collection, they have also had requests to sell their masks in Greece and Australia. The designers, who have not worked in two months now had something to create, to bring their signature style to, and to know that they are also helping folks with this product. We also have donated so many masks and will continue to do so when the first shipment arrives from Greece. The clothiers where the designers get the cloths from in Athens were given fresh new orders to help create the masks. So the dominos that have fallen have uplifted so many simply from your purchases of our masks. Think in this manner for any made in Greece product you purchase...a purchase that supports the artists and designers making them, that also brings you pleasure, or in the case of masks, some light in a dismal time, As much as we love Calilena's collection of masks, we hope its a product we won't have to carry for very long, but we will have it as long as they are needed by our customers. Thanks for keeping our artists working, and for keeping the team of Taste and Art of Greece going strong. We can't wait to see everyone again at the next festival, and continue to wish everyone health and strength.
As we continue to navigate through the crisis facing the world and our day to day lives, we wanted to find a way to give back and help those in need. We've spoken before about charity being a huge part of our company mission. At Christmas we were super excited to be able to provide a generous donation based on our holiday sales to the Hellenic Nursing Home of Canton, Massachusetts. We feel compelled to once again not only support our local communities at this difficult time , but also our fellow Greek business entrepreneurs with their efforts to make a positive impact on the doctors and nurses fighting every day to help patients recover from this virus and who work tirelessly risking their own lives.
Taste and Art of Greece is proud to announce we are making donations to three wonderful charitable endeavors in both our local communities of New England as well as other regions of the USA:
1) Our family friend Diane Sikellis Barbieri has put together a fund raising effort for food donations to all hospital staff and lab workers of Winchester, Massachusetts.
In addition, her efforts are also helping a wonderful local business - Eleni's Mediterranean Grille, who is not only providing the food but also generously adding extra food to those they deliver to. This will be our second donation for this fantastic effort! To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/667294630510698/
2) The second fundraising effort we are supporting is by our dear friend Christina Julakis , a consultant at Pure Haven cosmetics, a company that offers self care products which are 100% free of toxins, manufactured in Johnston, Rhode Island. You've probably seen photos floating around of healthcare workers with severe abrasions on their faces and rashes on their hands from wearing protective equipment non stop. Christina is working together with Adopt a Healthcare Worker to provide personal care kits to nominated healthcare workers. Christina's efforts are bringing kits to several area hospitals in New England, and we are super excited to be able to adopt several healthcare workers for this fabulous program! To learn more, visit:
3) Also, the amazing granddaughter of my Nona, Irina Kapetanakis, who is the CEO and Founder of Obscur Intimates located in New Jersey as well as VP of Marketing at Suuchi Inc, a manufacturer of fine clothing and apparel in New York....has spearheaded an effort along with her partners at Suuchi to transform their manufacturing efforts to produce much needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for medical staff all over the USA. Irina is raising funds to continue these efforts to provide supplies for hospitals in most critical need of this safety equipment. 100% of all donations she collects will go towards the purchase of much needed equipment to help save the lives of those putting their lives at risk every day to save ours. Whats great about this program is it is not limited to the New York and New Jersey areas...they will try to help as many hospitals all over the USA as possible, all someone has to do is simply reach out to inform them of their need. We are proud to be able to make a donation to this effort as well! Copy this link in your browser to learn more: https://www.gofundme.com/f/let039s-get-ppe-to-our-hospitals?utm_source=custome
THANK YOU for supporting our business! We are committed to doing whatever we can to help during this time of crisis. Stay well and many blessings to all of you!
First, a big thank you to all our supporters of our small business. We thank you for trusting us to send your loved ones gifts on your behalf, for continuing to shop with us during such a precarious time in our lives. You have kept us going, have kept our business strong, and we will continue bringing you the best of Greece online. Stay tuned for our $100 gift certificate drawing happening on Good Friday - anyone who made purchases between March 1st and April 16th will be automatically entered. We had also been preparing for our 2nd year of traveling around Greek festivals in the New England area, and some exciting new opportunities which include other states. Festivals have provided us a with a wonderful experience to meet so many of you, and we hope some of these events will still happen in the later months as many have been rescheduled. We are not sure what the future will hold for large scale events, but whether its in person or online, we will carry on without any disruption of our high level of quality and customer service. We are happy to be able to offer free shipping for the entire month of April. We have new product shipments scheduled to come from Greece in the coming weeks. The customs process has slowed a bit but we are confident in a short time all shipping from Greece will return to normal. We've had no delays with US Postal shipping for our packages to customers and we must applaud our postal service folks for their wonderful service. Perhaps you've seen the treats we have been leaving for our mailman Steve :) I think as a culture, Greeks are very entrenched in their Faith...especially now during Holy Week...it may not "feel" like Holy Week, but many of us are still preparing festivities, however small. I've especially taken comfort in the Icons I'm surrounded with these days....the photo here is of the trio of healing saints - St. Rafael, Nicholas and Irene. On the island of Lesvos, the Church of Agios Rafael is a place visited by people from all over the world, who come to be healed. These saints, and this Church, is known to create miracles....heal the gravely sick, cure ailments, Sometimes the cure is not what we would imagine, and sometimes it seems that our faith is only felt and not heard. When we are tested in difficult times, this is where we must gather our strength to carry on, this is when we must embrace the faith we feel, and as for healing....it comes with time, with patience, and it can come in the most unexpected forms. I've seen communities pull together, rifts healed, respect and compassion that has grown and spread faster than this terrible virus. As hard as it is to not be with so many of our loved ones during this time...there is so much good to reflect on and so much good to look forward to. We wish you all continued health, and a beautiful Easter! xoxo
We are in the midst of trying to navigate a new sense of normal for the time being. For most, its about the virus, but for Greece, its much more. In addition to fighting this global virus, they are in extreme conflict with Turkey, and regardless of the outcome on either front, there are no real winners. However, what has emerged amidst all of this, is a renewed sense of community, of caring for others, of supporting those in need. A reset if you will on human kindness. The show of support for our local communities, and also a show of support for Greece has been amazingly wonderful. Made in Greece products and supporting businesses of Greece is more meaningful than ever, to show our support of Greece, its people and its products. Please be aware, when someone says their products are Made in Greece, you have every right to ask for verification, to insure the authenticity of the statement. We've talked about the differences in the meaning - its realistic to assume that some components of products can come from other countries, but we work directly with artists and businesses of Greece who source local products whenever possible, and whose work and talents are still going into every product we sell, who are still making the products themselves, and adding their personal touches. Especially our jewelry, its purchased only from individual independent artists of Greece. We like to connect our customers with the artists making the products via artist profiles on our website and our new expanded collection of artist cards to go with the products....and also make our customers aware of the businesses we are buying from, to be transparent, to show authenticity, and to build trust. Its unfortunate that some Greek themed businesses in the USA have felt the need to put a blanket statement saying everything is from Greece when its sometimes not. We have stated over and over that there are beautiful Greek themed products coming from all parts of the world. There is no reason for a business to ever deceive customers, they should be celebrating their differences from other Greek themed companies, their diversity should be their strength and not masked to try to emulate any other business. We all work hard to build our businesses and our customer relationships. Stating "Made in Greece" or noting support for Greece and businesses of Greece should never be a selling ploy, it is something to share because its important to a business and their core values. The Taste and Art of Greece business model was built on working only with Greek artists and Greek owned businesses from day one, these relationships are the core, the heart of our company. Watch our posts, see our videos and photos with the artists and businesses. Check our history - we've only grown in this mission from our beginnings. We will continue to be transparent and answer our customers honestly. We are super excited we are at a point of expansion, where we can now include cards about the artists with every applicable order, and are actually graduating to our own shipping boxes whereas we depended on "our village" to help us with our startup supplies as a small business.
After one wonderfully busy year, we find ourselves in our 2nd February of business, recharged and energized for an exciting year of expansion and new opportunities, while still keeping our mission, vision and values squarely in our hearts and minds. We will be introducing new artists from Greece to our catalog that will represent unique, handmade items. We continue to be committed only to working with Greek artists of Greece, and Greek owned businesses in Greece, with just a couple of our products from Greek owned businesses in the USA, such as the popular Yiayia's Koutales. This past year, we also helped a Greek dance troupe from Florida and a Greek music ensemble in Boston with their charitable efforts by selling their products. We have found that we have a vehicle that can drive support for Hellenic culture in the USA, and we are beyond thrilled to continue this journey! We have also seen a change in our industry in general...have you noticed more online businesses talking about Greek artists, or using the #madeingreece?Maybe they were buying products from Greece all along, but never emphasized it before. We feel a movement has been growing where authenticating product has become very important to the consumer. We've seen the hashtags #supportgreece and #supportgreekdesigners used to advertise products that are Greek themed, but did not come from Greece. We even received a customer letter about another Greek shop that mislead them into thinking something was from Greece but really came from another country...and that shop actually argued with the customer rather than take responsibility. I guess in this last year, we've seen it all....we hope! LOL There are wonderful looking Greek themed products coming from many other countries, that is not the issue...the issue is misrepresentation, and misleading customers. We recognize that even our Greek artists and businesses are forced at times to buy components of their products from other countries, or what they are buying from their local Greek craft shop is carrying components from other countries. However, we support the Greek artists and businesses in their time, their ingenuity, their designs, and their products for sale that are coming from their hands, their shops, in support of their work. It would be easy and less expensive to buy from some other countries to acquire Greek themed products, but that is not who we are. Sticking to our mission, vision and values is more important to us. With that said, what you'll see from us this year will continue to emphasize our work with Greek owned businesses, a celebration of our heritage that we will take on the road this festival season, to new locations, new cities, and growth of our work with Churches and wholesale customers to keep the momentum growing for our mission to honor #madeingreece
This drawing by Strati's son reminds me of the early conversations we had in creating Taste and Art of Greece. One of the first things we talked about was giving back to a Greek organization. Our initial thoughts were to a children's orphanage, or something that supported helping children. We were going to make our own line of Greek greeting cards or something to support this. In our beginnings, we knew it was too soon to commit to a donation, we hadn't made $1 at that point yet, but it stayed on our radar. Our business model was built to support artists and businesses of Greece, but also any organization that supports our Hellenic culture. As a small business still its early years, we have to be somewhat conservative in the amount we can do. Through the year, we've made smaller donations for raffles and silent auctions, we do what we can. And even though we still aren't in a position to make a 50% donation, there was no question we wanted to do something. So many wonderful charities, what to pledge to? We are not just selling wonderful products from Greek artists and businesses, but also trying to keep the traditions of our culture alive and thriving in any part of the world where there are Greeks. As we mulled over the many fantastic organizations we could put some support behind this holiday season, it was really something we hadn't even considered but we are so excited about that we landed on! Over dinner with a good friend, she told me about her involvement with a Non profit organization - The Hellenic Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canton, Massachusetts. As it turns out, my Yiayia also lived there in her last months of life. My Yiayia Katina was a fabulous person. To me she always looked like a "yiayia" but she had quite a life, four children and not much money, lost her first husband young (my papou who I never met), married again but he passed as well, and she carried on.....a life that made her strong, but to me I always saw the soft and loving side, a happy side. Sunday dinners with Greek soup, playing cards even though she only spoke Greek and my language skills were poor, somehow we managed. Her making me warm milk with a little sugar when I wasn't feeling so great, always seemed to do the trick. Her warm Gingerale "Gingerella" that she liked. Listening to Greek music with her. She was a caregiver all her life, and then the time came when she needed someone to take care of her. Whats fantastic about this center is not just their care of the residents, but that they have Greek speaking workers, in addition to a top notch range of services short or longterm. A place where our Yiayias and Papous can get some short term care, or live their last days in comfort and care. Thinking about this....the foundation of our culture, our Yiayias and Papous, who passed on traditions to our parents, who pass on to us.... to keep our Hellenic roots growing for generations to come....how true this connects with our mission of sharing our culture and ....what a wonderful organization to put support behind this holiday season. If you listened into our interview with Grecian Echoes radio station in Boston, Massachusetts, you heard us make an official pledge of a % of our online sales for the holiday selling season. No matter the amount, we want to always give back whatever we can when it comes to helping our Hellenic communities around the world. And in this case, providing some comfort and care to the figureheads of our families who gave so much for us , who instilled our culture in us, just like my Yiayia did for me. We decided this was the best way to kick off our first official season of "Greek" giving. We know there are alot of online boutiques selling fantastic products this season, but we hope you will consider shopping with us, knowing that part of every sale will go to help an organization taking care of people who have worked tirelessly for their own families to carve a life here in the USA while carrying on the beautiful traditions of our Greek heritage. Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season xo
As we approach the end of October, November 15th is fast approaching. In addition to being able to enjoy that day with one of our wholesale customers at a festival in North Carolina, it will also mark the day we opened our website to all of you just one year ago. To say its been a whirlwind is an understatement. Tomorrow, we will have our second radio interview since we started Taste and Art of Greece, on air with Grecian Echoes, a station I remember listening to as a child, waking up on a Sunday morning it was a ritual to hear the music playing and the voice of legendary host Oresti Demetriades. To be able to actually be on the other side of the radio is somewhat surreal. Our first interview was with Kefi FM-Boston, who we are a sponsor for. a wonderful station run by a terrific team of folks who are like minded to our mission...sharing our love and passion for all things that represent our Greek culture. We run a business but its really just living out a dream in a way....to get into all the specifics would require a much longer blog post perhaps chased down with a little Plomari ouzo ......but we've taken on something that is bigger than us. We try to bring things beyond the standard, we have a good mix but we are expanding more on the new and different, traditional with modern twist...and this is what you'll see from us in the coming year. We all love Mati jewelry and accessories, and we'll continue bringing new and fun pieces with this popular symbol, but that is not what defines the Greek culture. The people define the culture, the traditions, the crafts passed down from generation to generation, The care each artist we work with takes in making their products and working with us to create extra special pieces. The time in September we spent meeting the artists who we've worked with this past year was simply fantastic. We also go into the next month thinking about how this was all made possible, our parents and grandparents who instilled in us our appreciation and devotion to carry on the traditions of our culture. Like them, everything we show you on our website, we do so with love.
ON THIS DAY ONE YEAR AGO, WE LAUNCHED OUR IDENTITY, OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, AND OUR JOURNEY WITH TASTE AND ART OF GREECE BEGAN. WE ARE HAPPY TO SAY OUR FIRST YEAR WAS MET WITH TREMENDOUS SUCCESS IN BOTH SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE TRAFFIC TO OUR WEBSITE. IT EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS, AND ALSO PROVIDED VALUABLE LESSONS TO HELP US CONTINUE ON OUR PATH INTO OUR SECOND AND FUTURE YEARS. WE STARTED THIS COMPANY WITH A SIMPLE MISSION - TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT ARTISTS AND SUPPLIERS OF GREECE BY SELLING THEIR PRODUCTS IN AMERICA, AND TO HIGHLIGHT WHO WAS PROVIDING THE PRODUCTS. WE'VE SPENT ALOT OF TIME THIS YEAR TELLING YOU WHO WE ARE. GOING INTO YEAR TWO, WE WANT TO TELL YOU WHO WE ARE NOT.
Our launch in 2018 was a whirlwind, and so much fun! One of our featured artists, Andromahi, came with her lovely friend Roula, their first journey to America, to help with our launch for the website and some special events. Having them here was fantastic not only for the extra hands, but to show the American side of the business those little extra special "Greek" touches when packaging customer purchases...like beautiful ribbons on their gift bags, with Greek words that translate to "Hope, Love, Luck" . After the Christmas rush, we took the time to build our direction for the business going into 2019. In addition to adding products to our Eshop, we have a full schedule for the year ahead of Pop Up appearances and festivals. We are even doing a few home parties, stay tuned for more information on that program. And now is also the time to expand our product catalogue. We attended an exhibition in Athens this month to source new suppliers, and connect with our existing ones. We are so happy with the artists whose work we support, and to share their beautiful products with the USA! The one thing we notice with some other Eshops in the USA of Greek products, they throw around appealing words like "handmade" or "from Greece"...and some of the products they are showing we are familiar with....the customer is not always getting the actual story on the origin of the product. To us, "Made in Greece" is an important distinction, and so meaningful when we say it. It represents the hard work of such talented artists, from a country that is very much a part of us. We are proud to show the work of any producer and artist you see on our website. So, as we continue to stay true to our mission, bringing the best of Greece to the USA, to "awaken your senses" to authentic Greece....you may be seeing some new faces on our artist page, more products from our current artists, and expansion on our producers for our Taste products. New packages have started to arrive, its like Christmas every month for us.... and we hope to bring that feeling to our customers every time they receive a package from us! Cheers to a fabulous 2019!