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Society

The Hellenic Aesthetic: Bringing “Meraki” to Greeks Abroad

May 15, 2019

Marianthi Vlachos, born in Clearwater, FL with roots from Kefalonia, Rhodes, Leonidion, and Constantinople, spoke with The National Herald about her company, Hellenic Aesthetic (HA), as well as her motivation and inspiration driving the e-commerce business forward.

HA is an e-boutique and lifestyle brand selling items that “reflect the pace, style, and ethos of summers spent under the Mediterranean sun.”

They sell jewelry, sandals, women’s accessories, housewares and paper goods. Most of these products are made in Greece by established Greek designers who Marianthi discovered either while traveling to Greece or on Instagram.

“Wherever I travel I always try and shop local and support the designers and makers from a given place. During my summer travels to Greece I would purchase unique and beautiful jewelry, sandals, and accessories that were made in Greece for myself, friends and family back home. I thought, why is no one importing these products to the USA? And then I thought, why can’t I be the person to do it?”

After a trip to Greece in 2016 and driven by a personal desire to create, Marianthi began reaching out to designers whose items she had seen and purchased and subsequently hired a graphic designer in Athens to create their logo. She had finally decided to combine her many passions – fashion, travel, design, and her Greek heritage. And so, slowly but surely, the HellenicAesthetic.com started to come to life.

When HA opened its virtual doors in 2017, the company only sold other designers’ products. However, in 2018, they slowly began introducing their own products. “We started with a leather luggage tag that was inspired by the nonstop flight from JFK to Athens airport. I designed them and they are made in the USA for us. We expanded to jewelry and we now have a line of necklaces. Our nameplate necklaces are our best selling product, and they can be customized in Greek or in English. My grandmother purchased a Greek nameplate necklace for me from Greece when I was a little girl. I began wearing it constantly in 2017, and it would occasionally make an appearance on Hellenic Aesthetic’s Instagram account. Our customers fell in love with it and wanted to know where they could get one for themselves. They are made in a small jewelry workshop outside of Thessaloniki. It is important to me and to the brand that we make as much of what we sell in Greece as we can,” Marianthi said. Now HA is selling Greek-made designs to customers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK.

With her inspiration deriving mostly from Greece, Marianthi became a Greek citizen in 2010 as a way “to feel even closer to Greece.” Speaking about the motherland, she said, “In everything we do, we try to incorporate what summers spent in Greece means to us. Much of my inspiration also comes from my family. We recently teamed up with a U.S.-based felt pennant company to create a pennant inspired by traveling to Greece. It was inspired by my mom’s many trips to Greece to visit her grandfather during her childhood in the 1970s. The idea was, what type of souvenir would she have brought back to the States with her? A felt pennant was the obvious choice.”

The Hellenic Aesthetic’s slogan is: a piece of Greece to your doorstep. “We want [our site] to reflect the vitality and beauty of Greek culture…We aren’t just selling evil eye bracelets and art prints, we’re selling a lifestyle, a culture. There’s a huge responsibility in that. At the core of everything we do is the creative spirit behind the Greek word μεράκι (meraki), that some things are created with love, soul, and artistry. We want our customers to see the hard work, skill, and design expertise of these Greek creatives.”

Find out more about Marianthi and the Hellenic Aesthetic at: HellenicAesthetic.com.

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