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General News

Small Business Owner Interview: Elaine Setas of Taste & Art of Greece

December 19, 2022

MANCHESTER, NH – It’s no secret that many Greek-Americans connected to their roots anticipate a summer in Greece to enjoy majestic sunsets and good food with family and friends. The wait may be a little sweeter, one may argue, when one surrounds themselves with items reminiscent of Hellenic culture and traditions.

Small business owners Elaine Setas and Stratis Vougioukas of Taste and Art of Greece (TAG) dedicate their time to sourcing and importing to the U.S. a selection of Greek-made products they hope will bring a “taste of Greece” to those seeking to feel closer to their roots.

The two met as teenagers during a summer holiday in Greece – one from the U.S., and the other from the island of Lesvos. After 29 years of friendship, they decided to launch an e-shop (https://www.tasteandartofgreece.com/) and pop up events around the East Coast featuring items celebrating Greece, seeking to find hidden gems that would otherwise not make their way abroad. Since launching in 2018, celebrating and supporting artists of Greece has been TAG’s mission.

“We want to share all these wonderful, innovative, stylish, and delicious products beyond Greece,” Setas said. “We are working directly with the artists and producers of our products, some new to the American marketplace, and some old familiar favorites.”

Small business owner Elaine Setas founded Taste and Art of Greece with Stratis Vougioukas in 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Taste & Art of Greece

Taking the time to meet and interview Greek designers to share their stories and highlight the cultural significance of products she curates in her shop, Setas brings a unique element to her business. Featured designers are hand-selected by Setas, who said she considers not only products, but designer character.

“There has to be a mutual synergy and passion for their work, an openness to be able to take feedback, and a strong creative energy, as we collaborate on many designs with the artists,” she said. “One artist had some beautiful jewelry that sold well but was arrogant with a very cold personality… that relationship didn’t last long.”

One of the greatest challenges running a small business, Setas said, is the element of time. “We live in an Amazon-driven world where people expect immediate gratification, however, we are representing mostly handmade products coming from abroad that take time to make and travel,” she said.

In addition to showcasing Greek artists and designers in the U.S., TAG supports several charitable efforts, raising funds for Greek-Orthodox churches and the Hellenic Nursing Home of Canton, MA.

Small business owner Elaine Setas founded Taste and Art of Greece with Stratis Vougioukas in 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of Taste & Art of Greece)

After Setas was diagnosed with cancer in early 2022, she was inspired to launch the Hope and Health Collection – a line of products by the artists of TAG, supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation she launched this past October.

“Because of cancer research funds, a test was created that determined I did not need chemotherapy. This is a huge game changer for women already suffering from invasive treatments if they can avoid some of the harshest treatments safely,” Setas said.

One of TAG’s best sellers in the U.S., Setas said, is the pomegranate. “Pomegranates signify luck and prosperity, which make them an excellent new home gift, and are very popular during the holidays.”

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