With her interview with post4life Aliki Vasilopoulou sheds light on the conditions that led to FoodsCross, a crossroad to delightful and healthy foods -small wonders with a story and rich in nutritional content.
Just like Alice from the famous fairytale, who out of curiosity followed the white rabbit and ended up living the most incredible adventure, Aliki Vasilopoulou (not that randomly though) set off three years ago to make her own business.
So, once upon a time?
There was a girl named Alice… and there was her family. There was my deep worrying about our daily food, that needed to be healthy and nutritional. But what would those foods be? And how could we get them? Could we find them in a super market, say in a package with almonds? Would these almonds have all the precious nutritional properties that we read in magazines and books? Is every jar of honey that we find on the shelves real, pure and unrefined, coming straight from the hive and boasting all its magical properties? So, I started studying, researching and seeking natural sources, I took up travelling and meeting producers directly in an effort to chronicle a dietary map with foods that are as natural as possible with the least human intervention. We started out with the most rare and unique honey, which was sent to certified laboratories to be cheked and then the selected quantities were bottled without any mechanical or chemical elaboration, in sophisticated, unique, internationally awarded vases. Our first little wonders were two collectible findings: the unique honey from the island of Astipalea featuring 80% thyme pollen grains and the honey from the mountains of Crete with 60% thyme pollen grains.
What exactly are these percentages?
According to the European law and the Greek Food & Drinks Code, a honey may be labeled as “Thyme honey” provided that it contains a minimum of 18% of thyme pollen grains. We traced two exceptional honeys that the analysis showed to contain 80 and 60% of thyme pollen grains respectively. Well, we managed to discover two thyme honey varieties of such power and richness in nutritional value, that are almost impossible to find in the global market.
I must say, that the packaging is also special and it trully impressed me with its elegant and minimal design. Was it your idea?
Well, mainly yes. I wanted it to exude a feeling of present opening, as if it ware a rare perfume and yet one with obvious therapeutical properties. This is why we chose white as our main color and I believe that the packaging, despite being quite emblematic, is simultaneously eye catching and really simple. This concept inspired our chosen partners in this field: Mousegraphics -a leading greek designers’ firm- and celebrated British illustrator, SiScott.
This is a rather difficult period and yet you ventured for a very ambitious project!
When you start something new, all you need is self-awareness. You must know your streangths and your weaknesses and how to handle them. I have worked very hard in research and analysis of both the products and the market before I launched FoodsCross, since I never intended to add another new product on the shelves. I wanted to offer something that is missing, a product that will make a difference; something that each of us can not easily find on our own. Needless to say, this has been a great challenge in terms of quality controls, financial and human resources. Not all our efforts thrived: some partnerships failed and forced me to postpone this project more than once and now I know that if it wasn’t for a deep faith in my vision and my determination to do what I started out to do, FoodsCross would have been a thing of the past, already!
Would you say that confidence is one of your secrets?
I wouldn’t put it this way. I would rather say that the secret is love and faith towards myself and my choices. However, this is not enough. No matter how much you believe your self you will not go far without organization, thorough research and lots and lots of work. If we look for a secret behind FoodsCross I would definitely add the need to read the signs of the times. I mean, you need to follow the current -this is the idea behind our e-shop, the real need of our contemporaries to save time by shopping online. Now, wherever I am, I am able to check sales through my cell phone and see how people react to our facebook page. In real time!
Tell me more about FoodsCross’ future plans…
We have targeted several other foods and we are currently in the stage of quality control, because as I mentioned earlier if a product is not PURE, UNREFINED and EXCEPTIONAL it cannot enter the FoodsCross family. Therefore, once we decide on the features that add a certain food to the top quality league, we seek the product that has this feature in excess! Until now, we have discovered a fascinating variety of wine in Northern Italy, which is sulfite free without any added aromas and its secret lies in its special fermentation inside clay amphorae. Then there is an exceptional aged rakomelo from Cefalonia island with real thyme honey and not just the usual honey essenses of most rakomelos in the market. Finally, we are currently checking on crops of emmer, certain varieties of mushrooms and many many more that I hope to be able to present very soon.