I’ve known Eugenia Kokkala-Mela since we were both teenagers, spending our greek summers in Spetses. So, I was thrilled to write this post about HEROES, her sophisticated Souvenir Shop – an absolute gem in Athens, Plaka! She has always been this incredible beauty, so opinionated and educated that carries the air of a Greek girl that has grown up and lived most of her life abroad. She was born in Athens but, due to her father’s job in the European Parliament, she has lived in Luxemburg, Belgium, France and England throughout her life. It was love that made her move back and “repatriate” in 2006, and ever since, she has been living in downtown Athens, Plaka, with her husband and two beautiful kids. Eugenia, a lawyer by profession and a woman with deep love for her country, is the kind of person with a story about Greece up in her sleeve. Her characteristic narrations are vivid and full of passion and her Greek, grammatically perfect and accurate to the nines! In our conversations, I frequently catch myself mentally writing down notes about greek history, or greek word origins; and trust me, she never ceases to amaze me!
HEROES is her new personal bet, which embodies her character and personality all the way. She wanted to create a shop that would elevate the souvenir world, a place where you can find the best quality of greek products, made locally by Greek artisans and artists. One of a kind items – within a really good price range – that would make a statement wherever you gift them. A wide range of little original treasures, from magnificent jewellery in greek motifs made out of ceramic, gold and hand embroided lace, to minoan print clutches, made out of goat skin (perfect to mix & match with evening gowns), silk scarves from Soufli, books of great greek poets and prose writers, translated in several languages, boxes filled with tastes and delicacies from Greece (greek coffee, dry figs, sardines, extra virgin olive oil), incredible excavation kits for kids, collective Playmobils featuring Zeus and goddess Athena, made especially for Greece (part of the proceedings go to charity “Orama Elpidas”) and many more that you really have to discover yourselves!
Eugenia wanted to offer foreign visitors the chance to take back memorabilia that would represent Greece’s authenticity, history, colorful folklore and aesthetics. As she so rightfully put it: “Greece, doesn’t only have beautiful light and sea to showcase; it also has beautiful and very talented people! ”
HEROES at Aiolou 9, Athens, is a souvenir shop I have become obsessed with, and urge all to visit asap. Get a glimpse of its little treasures below: