Veroushka | From City Life to Organic Farming
By ELLE ARSCOTT
I was born in Greece and have a Bachelor's Degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent. I continued studying for my Master's degree at the London School of Economics and graduated in Theory and History of International Relations. My dream as a small child was to become a diplomat and work for the United Nations, as I always had this belief that I could change the world and be the voice of those in need. Instead, I worked for several years in marketing & public relations and, on returning to Greece, in politics, media and football.
5 THINGS ABOUTS
OPTIMIST | TRAVELLER | LOVE ANIMALS | ORGANIC LIFE | DOER
LEAP OF FAITH
For 15 years I worked in very demanding and stressful environments. I need change, creativity and room to grow but, despite working in a variety of different sectors, I strongly felt the need to create something of my own and focus all my energy and passion on a business that represented my philosophy on life. I felt that my body and soul needed a diversion from the city routine I had been living in for so many years. 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!
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 produce top quality Greek natural products, including honey, almonds and prickly pears. All of our products are naturally grown, with no insecticides, fertilizers or hormones. Our soils and groundwater have been carefully examined and have been found clean from any chemical substances, thus not contaminating our harvests. Anthea's products are currently sold in many different parts of Greece and exported to 6 different countries around the world!
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 discovered prickly pears, an amazing super-fruit, on his travels abroad, whilst my mother's partner learned everything there is to know about ecological beekeeping. I assembled all this together under Anthea’s, working on branding, marketing and international exposure through digital and social media. Since then all four of us have fully evolved and are now handling all aspects of business, from farming and beekeeping to visiting international exhibitions to present our products and attract foreign buyers.
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. By learning new skills, instead of hiring others, we were able to (and still are) cover many different aspects of the business without needing to hire more staff.
THE TOUGH TIMES
Leaving a secure well paid job is an enormous leap of faith for everyone. 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
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.
Don't expect others to necessarily understand or endorse all your decisions; this is your life.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the importance of balance in everything we do: receiving with giving. My grandfather was a firm believer of "do good and good will come back to you". Over the last few years I have realised that this is true, 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.
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.
Always have an in depth knowledge of your business' finances and know when it is time to cut your losses if something is not working.
Elle is a copywriter and digital creative from the UK. With a background in arts & museums, she currently lives in Athens where she works for a small marketing agency and enjoys the sunshine.