From City Life to Organic Farming

From City Life to Organic Farming

A quote you live by

"Life takes you where your are meant to be, one step at a time"

Introduction

I was born in Greece and at the age of 18, with the amazing support of my mother, I left home to study in the UK. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury and a Master's Degree in Theory and History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. My dream as a child was to become a diplomat and work in the United Nations. I always had this belief that I could change the world, and be the voice of those in need. However after finishing my studies and realising what a diplomat's life really entailed, I decided to stay and work in London for several years in Marketing & Public Relations. Then I got homesick, I returned to Greece and worked consecutively in Politics, Media and Football!

5 things about you

OPTIMIST / TRAVELLER / LOVE ANIMALS / ORGANIC LIFE / DOER

Leap of faith

For the past 15 years I have been working in very demanding and pressing environments. I am the kind of person that needs change, creativity and room to grow and therefore after returning to Greece I took upon different challenges in my career not once, not twice but three times! All three fields (Politics, Media and Football) proved extremely fascinating and instrumental to me and have undoubtedly shaped me into the person and professional I am today. However at some point I strongly felt the need to create something of my own and focus all my energy and passion in a business that represented my philosophy on life. Ι must also admit that during the same time, I had been heartily feeling that my body and soul needed a diversion from the high speed daily city routine I had been living in for so many years. What is really remarkable is that after discussing this with my mother and brother, we realised that we were all going through the exact same phase in our lives. Less than a year later, our family business Anthea's came into life! 
 

Company

Anthea’s reflects our family's desire for a healthy and natural way of living! Our business is located on the beautiful Greek island of Kea in the Aegean sea, where we proudly produce top quality Greek natural products, such as Raw Thyme and Flower Honey, Organic Almonds, Organic Prickly Pears, the Bee Elixir (propolis, pollen, royal jelly and honey all in one) and Handmade Honey- Sesame Energy Bars! All of our products are naturally grown, with no insecticides, fertilisers or hormones. Our soils and groundwater have been carefully examined and have been found clean from any chemical substances, thus not contaminating our harvests. Similarly we implement the same natural philosophy on our Raw Honey, which we collect with great responsibility, constantly updating our knowledge around the proper methods of ecological beekeeping, without the use of chemicals or harmful substances! It is safe to say that our bees are busy, healthy and happy! Anthea's products are currently sold in many different parts of Greece and exported to 6 different countries around the world! 
 

Getting started

My mother was the one that first envisioned Anthea's and introduced my brother and I to the beautiful island of Kea and its outstanding natural resources. My brother was the one that in one of his travels abroad, discovered prickly pears, this amazing super-fruit with a very unique composition of nutrients for the human body. My mother's partner Nikolas was the one that discovered and learned everything there is to now about proper ecological beekeeping. And I was the one that assembled all this together under Anthea’s, initially working on its branding, marketing, and international exposure through digital and social media. Since then all four of us are now handling all aspects of business, whether it is the actual farming and bee keeping manual work or visiting International Exhibitions to attract foreign buyers!

Financials

We founded our company by using most of our personal savings to buy the land needed on Kea island and the proper equipment for our farming and beekeeping needs, as well as the construction of a modern ISO-certified bottling facility. Thanks to the valuable support of close family and friends we started selling our products initially to them and then we were gradually being recommended to others! Furthermore, we approached friends with companies of their own who chose us for the corporate gift needs and this proved to be a big advertising channel for us!

Another crucial step we took in establishing our business and saving money, is that we all focused in learning new skills, and instead of hiring others we were- and still are- covering many different aspects of production, research, promotion and client service.

The tough times

Leaving a secure well paid job is an enormous leap of faith for everyone. And today more than ever I appreciate the haven that a big organisation or company offers you, especially in times that your financial stamina is seriously tested. 

Anthea's was created amidst the massive financial crisis that hit Greece and just a few months later Capital Controls were imposed by the Greek government. We had just started implementing our business plans and exporting our goods abroad and overnight Greek banks closed for almost 20 days. The government also imposed tough controls on all bank transfers and daily limits on cash withdrawals. 

Undoubtedly, those were the darkest days and our determination and endurance were vigorously tested. Since then, although Capital Controls remain enforced, they have significantly softened and we have learned to adapt and work accordingly.

5 Insider Tips for others

1. Changes in life require a certain amount of faith. Don't be afraid, sometimes you need to take the step and let life take you wherever it takes you. Believe in yourself and your abilities and trust that you will be okay.

2. Don't expect from others to necessarily understand or endorse all your decisions, this is your life. 

3. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the importance of balancing -in everything we do-  receiving with giving. My grandfather was a firm believer of "do good and good will come back to you". And what I have realised is that it does come back to you, in ways you have never imagined. When you are positive and you put out good energy this affects everyone and everything around you.

4. It takes double the effort and time one expects, to establish your own business. You have to do all the work and prove that no one wants it more than you. 

5. Always have an in depth knowledge of your finances and know when it is time to cut your loses if something is not working. 

Quotes that inspire you

  • Do what makes you happy in life, you only get one life so trust the process.
  • To love what is ahead, you must love what has come before.
  • Leave footprints of love and kindness wherever you go.
  • You are always one decision away from a totally different life. 
  • The strongest hearts have the most scars.
  • The love of your family, is life's greatest blessing.

 

Thank you Guts & Tales (www.gutsandtales.com) and Elle Arscott for introducing our story to people with guts! https://www.gutsandtales.com/thetalescollected/veroushka-from-city-life-to-organic-farming-beekeeping

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