Dimitra Kolotoura and Mareva Grabowski founded their luxury lifestyle label, Zeus + Dione, at the height of Greece’s economic crisis in 2011. ‘I still remember those terrible headlines saying that Greek people consume and don’t produce,’ recalls Kolotoura. ‘Which simply wasn’t true.’
Determined to turn this negative perception into a positive one, the two friends decided to start a brand that would utilise and showcase their native country’s rich cultural heritage. ‘It was a romantic notion – we would create fine, sustainable clothes and accessories that would be designed and made in Greece,’ she says.
Kolotoura, who ran a travel PR company, and Grabowski, a Harvard MBA and founder of her own asset management firm, drew upon their credentials to set the wheels in motion. After devising a business plan, their next port of call was finding local artisans to work with at a time when demand for traditional craftsmanship was at an all-time low.