Monthly Moment featuring: Eleni, Kostas and Eliza
It is one thing to read about another culture and then experiencing it. When it comes to Greek culture family and tradition seem to transcend generations and age. How one manifests this however may look different. Enter Eliza and Kostas.
After exploring the shopping alleys on the seafront in Paros, Greece with the intent of passing the slew of tourist trap stores towards archeological ruins, an energy pulled me into one particular store (the wall message also helped lol). I took a moment to connect with the staff, understand the driving force of the storefront, and hearing their stories.
Hearing the stories of Kostas and Eliza (either hailing from Athens and/or spending extended time there) speaking about the strength of family, happiness, and the struggle to maintain these values given the current social/ political situation in Greece, their motto of their resilience of getting through such times were blown up in the white background with balloons reading "Happy Day."
I later found out this motto was the inspiration for the store front, the passion/vision of the owner/founder, the essence of how the store approaches their customers, vendors, and most importantly each other as employees, correction- "family" as they put it. I was convinced that what I previously read about Greek culture had been coming to life experiencing an familial embrace through conversation and connection especially after hearing the alignment with the efforts of this store and Positivity Tribe.
Take it from Kostas as he spoke of his philosophy of happiness, "Balance on the inside is happiness for me" allowing him to serve his customers and creating genuine connections with people or Eliza speaking of family and connections as "Greek people are like this", and ultimately this philosophy driving both of them to come to work everyday and truly loving it.
This place that they both spoke so passionately about was Melissa Store, a brain and passion child of the owner and artist Eleni Tsantani who infuses this family and happiness philosophy with her staff, the products she curates and carries, and her personal narrative. I was further intrigued especially to hear more from Eleni's point of view but noticed she was not in-oh well. On the verge of concluding this amazing exchange to continue exploring Paros- Enter Eleni (on an office run) to her store.
Upon meeting Eleni you immediately feel as embracing warmth, the passion for her store, staff, and her personal mission of creating positive change in her way. Whether this is through connecting with people, creatively through finding alignment of philosophies with the artisans of the products she carries in her store, the energy that she creates space for in Melissa Store, or taking an hour out of her day (in a middle of a meeting and invoice run) to speak with a stranger on an happenstance run in about one's impact in the world- you feel her powerful but genuine spirit especially when speaking about her staff and connecting with others as, "Its a family, its truly a family." Essentially, i've found another spirit sister to add to the tribe and my extended family.
Her way of creating change through Melissa Store according to her, "I want to create a space where people can come in, feel happy, and relaxed even if they do not buy anything" creating a positive moment in their day before getting back to their daily routine. She promotes philosophies and products like #lovegreece who wants to spread the love of Greece, supporting sustainable agriculture, products, industry, and made entirely in Greece (check out the crew neck sweater she graciously gifted me). We continued to speak of how hard it is to maintain and practice such philosophies but how it so needed especially in challenging times. How this narrative needed more ambassadors and how she may not know if her store will be around longterm but is here now to make an impact. Eleni and her staff audaciously lives their truths through their passion and promoting happiness through connecting with others.
What a pleasure to know another ambassador of the human spirit, happiness, and positivity. If you want a genuine connection and feel what family feels like in Greece, go check out Melissa Store in Paros, Greece. Oh and they have amazing products as well 😉. Follow them on facebook: Melissa Paros and on IG: @melissaparos.
Thank you Eleni, Elezi, and Kostos for sharing with Positivity Tribe and continue to Claim Your Moment. Welcome to the family.
Photo Credit: Edmund Lee