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Theoharis Dimarhos on Ellis and Its Entertaining, Educational Content for Families

NEW YORK – Theoharis Dimarhos, Founder and CEO of Ellis, spoke with The National Herald about his roots in Karpathos and his company which produces entertaining and educational content for children and families that highlights Greek culture and stories.

TNH: Tell us a bit about yourself, where were you born and raised?

Theoharis Dimarhos: You’ll often hear me say that “we come from hot dogs.” It’s meant to be playful, but it’s also the truth! My parents came to Cleveland, Ohio, from Greece in 1981, right after they got married. Like many of their generation, they had very little and worked extremely hard, running hot dog stands, to give us a better future. My sister and I were born there.

Ellis produces entertaining and educational content for children and families that highlights Greek culture and stories. Photo: Ellis

They later took those stands to Washington, DC, for a few years, before we all returned to Greece. I grew up on the beautiful island of Karpathos, where my family originally comes from. For us Karpathians, it’s our little paradise on earth. My parents still run a small taverna in the island’s capital, Pigadia, where my mom has been giving hugs to guests for almost 25 years now.

TNH: What inspired Ellis?

TD: When I got married to my amazing wife, Sophia, we started talking about what kind of world we wanted to bring children in. We talked about the need to share our Hellenic and Christian values. We would always see the amazing work that Greek schools and churches would do every weekend to keep these values alive all over the United States.

But we’ve also seen many families disconnected with our culture, either because they don’t have the time to engage or they don’t live around a thriving Greek community. That’s a big problem.

Separately, I had noticed the amazing impact that certain shows would have on children, such as Bluey, Cocomelon, Ms. Rachel, and more. It didn’t take long for me to realize that within the Greek culture, we had amazing songs and stories to share with our children, based on our own values.

My hope is that at Ellis, our educational and entertainment company, we can produce and bring parts of our culture to every family’s phone and tablet.

More recently, inspiration came when my wife told me that we were expecting our first little one. Ever since, it’s been my mission to build something we’d be proud to use in our own home.

TNH: How long did the process take from idea to realization?

Ellis produces entertaining and educational content for children and families that highlights Greek culture and stories. Photo: Ellis

TD: I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while. During the pandemic, we started by creating one song, called ‘Pame Ellada’ as an experiment. It’s about children hopping around Greece during the summer and learning the names of cities and islands. We shared it with friends and their families and it was a hit!

It took some time, but we’re finally ready to roll out more songs and stories on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

There’s so much time during the week where children can be interacting with the Greek language. From infants to toddlers and preschoolers, there’s an opportunity to slowly immerse them in our culture early on through bedtime stories, bathtime songs, and so much more.

TNH: What was the most challenging aspect of the project?

TD: What we’re trying to do is not an easy task. We need to create content parents love, children love and make sure it honors the Greek culture and values.

We need to keep our standards high on what we produce and listen to families on what they like to spend their time on.

TNH: What has been the most rewarding aspect so far?

TD: I love that every conversation I’ve had about Ellis has been emotional. People tend to remember the words of their parents and grandparents. They feel the weight of having to keep the light of our culture alive and pass the torch to the next generation – their children. We hope that by making stories easily accessible, we’ll make it a little easier, more fun and a bonding experience for every family.

Ellis produces entertaining and educational content for children and families that highlights Greek culture and stories. Photo: Ellis

I’ve also loved the people that have joined along the way. A few that deserve to be mentioned are Marigo Mihalos Sfaelos, Taso Pardalis, and Panos Moutafis for their support and encouragement and Giorgos Panou, who helped me shape the idea of Ellis in the early days, from our long conversations.

TNH: Where do you see Ellis going in the future?

TD: My hope is to reach every Greek family around the world.

TNH: What are you working on next?

TD: We’re working on new stories and some special collaborations with creators that the Greek community loves.

Recently, the co-publisher-editor of The National Herald/Ethnikos Kirikas, Vanessa Diamataris, told me that we need to produce the Greek version of ‘Ms. Rachel’ and I haven’t stopped thinking about it ever since. That’s going to take lots of time and resources, so we have a lot of work to do!

We’d love to hear from everyone! You can email us at: [email protected]. Follow us on Instagram: https://shorturl.at/KFpEs and check out our stories and songs on Apple Podcasts: https://shorturl.at/rX9LR.

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