Greece Is

Staci Wagner Hamalis is no Shirley Valentine. After getting engaged to her Greek partner she left a jet-setting corporate career and moved to Greece, but instead of wiling away her days sipping ouzo in the sun, she immediately set up a dynamic business making artisanal soaps. Discovering more and more about the Greek landscape and artisanal traditions during each visit to the home of her parents-in-law in Kavala, eastern Macedonia, Hamalis eventually tried her hand at making soaps and fell in love with it.

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X-Pat Athens

This is a great story from WindyCity Greek about an American woman, who after having met and married her husband in Chicago, returned to his family’s homeland of Kavala in Greece. It was there that she began down a path much different from her corporate career in the US. Staci Wagner learned the art of traditional soap making and founded the successful Vilia Soap Company.

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Windy City Greek

American Staci Wagner Hamalis met her husband in Chicago, where she lived for four years. The city was especially romantic for him because that is where his own parents met. Since he proposed to her in 2012 at The Bean (a sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park), she began visiting his homeland. Gradually, she fell more and more in love with Greece — and his family — while also learning about traditional soap making. Her life changed dramatically when she settled in her husband’s hometown of Kavala.

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Kalimukti

Reading the ingredients list on the back of cosmetics can be mind-bending. We’re sometimes left wondering if it will cause more harm than good. Unlike the food industry, we’re not offered the same protections with the products we use on our bodies. But when we put so much attention into what goes inside our bodies, we need to apply the same logic to what we put on the outside of our bodies.

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Hellenikozmo

From a young age, San Francisco native Tony Kutulas, whose parents were from Greece and Cyprus, felt a strong kinship to his parents’ homeland. This strong connection to the Mediterranean eventually led Kutulas to start Hellenikozmo in 1999. Initially created with the idea of cultivating an international social platform for connecting Greeks, Hellenikozmo evolved into a platform for showcasing Greek culture, food, travel destinations, and outstanding accomplishments of Greek people. 

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Olives’n’ Wine

Staci, recently contacted me about her new soap company, Vilia Soap Company. She and her husband recently moved back to the United States after living abroad in Greece (#goals) and decided to begin selling handmade soaps made with Greek olive oil. She sent me a few to try and I am pleased to report that these may be my new favorite soaps!

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I’m Very Well Thank You

The all-natural soaps Vilia Soap Company are made using olive oil from northern Greece and almond oil from the region of Volos, as well as organic coconut oil from abroad. The company combines these skin-friendly oils with essential oils made from Greek herbs and flowers such as lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint. Non-Greek organic ingredients sourced from small producers are also used, such as lemongrass, activated charcoal, Early Grey tea, sandalwood and patchouli.

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