There are many readily evident examples of the economic crisis that has gripped Greece over the past several years. Businesses have closed, shops remain empty and not many new businesses have managed to flourish given the banking situation making it harder than ever for aspiring entrepreneurs to get a small business loan from a bank.
Against all odds, the age-old business of making leather sandals has managed to stay afloat and even prosper across the country and internationally.
The trendy ancient Greek leather sandals come in various styles and many of them are genuine Greek products, handmade in Greece, using natural leather, stones and accessories from Greece.
Greek designers find that using the natural resources and beauty of Greece in creating ancient Greek sandals has allowed them to create and expand their businesses beyond their wildest expectations.
One footwear company, Ancient Greek Sandals, was launched in 2012 and has seen an average growth rate in business of 51.69 percent ever since, mostly because of its attention to detail and high-quality authentic Greek sandals.
“It wasn’t devastating, but it was difficult,” Nikolas Minoglou, co-founder and chief executive said, according to businessoffashion.com. “Thank god that we are self-financed and we did not need a loan, because it would have been impossible. The general environment is simply not business friendly. The VAT that we collect is not easily returned to us, bureaucracy is long and difficult and taxes are high.”
Partnered up via a mutual acquaintance with Christina Martini, co-founder and creative director of the brand, the two entrepreneurs saw a leap in production of the sandals from 26,000 pairs annually to 45,000 in 2013.
“Our main factory was able to handle our growth — the Greek crisis was an ally in that. If it were not for the Greek crisis the factory would have been busy with other projects,” Minoglou noted.
Many designers in Greece also focus on and incorporate cultural elements in the decoration of ancient Greek sandals in order to not only make ends meet with sales domestically, but to create a name for themselves to prosper internationally.
One example of a company that pays special attention to detail and authentic Greek roots is Efi Store which offers authentic Greek handmade accessories.
“The designs of our sandals are the inspired from the beauty of ancient Greece and also astronomical Greek drawings, natural elements such as shells, beads, stones, lava, Greek leathers and materials,” Efi, founder of Efi Store and designer told Greek Reporter.
Efi says that the key to their success in surpassing the limitations of the economic crisis in Greece has a lot to do with their marketing and affordable prices.
“The company’s philosophy is based on a combination of low prices and high quality,” Efi says.