Why open a boutique store in Athens?

Paris inspired me! I studied there and came across the huge range of niche concept stores that the city is famous for: careful selections of beautifully curated brands and objects! This was not yet a known idea in Athens and I felt it would be a perfect fit for the city centre. My family has traditionally belonged to the fashion and textiles business, and we have previously owned retail stores. However, this has been entirely my own project with a fresh name and touch.

What is the concept behind the store?

I generally prefer to stock smaller, ethically sourced brands that have a unique story to tell. I carefully edit the collections I bring into the store and ensure there is a great variety. I want my boutique to tell its own story, and for my clients to be introduced to new styles and brands they may not have seen before; I hope for this to be an experience of discovery!

Why a physical boutique and not an Eshop?

Meeting your client in person adds a whole new essence to the story you are telling! Personal relationships are very important, especially in this industry. We discuss clients’ ideas, they see the fresh collections that come into the store each week and I get a chance to style their outfit in ways they may have not imagined! And of course they can observe and feel the clothes before making choices.

Tell us about the store’s atmosphere.

The space is minimal and industrial, to allow the clothes to be the focus. The collections are on two floors with grey walls and wooden details. A large table takes centre stage on the lower ground level, where customers can sit and discuss their ideas. Eventually, I see the boutique becoming a complete concept store with homeware and books: a space where people will want to linger, have a coffee and browse a magazine.

How do you promote your business?

I have to admit it’s mainly by word of mouth, although this is a very powerful tool. I only use social media to create a mood and aesthetic that will draw people into the store, and I’ve not worked with influencers yet.

How did your family’s presence in the industry influence your venture?

Growing up I have always been surrounded by textiles and clothes. I learnt how to discover new brands and create a concept from a young age, and I definitely owe this to my family! Observing their strategies has played a major role in shaping my professional personality. But now I’ve added my personal touch and when people see my curation, they can definitely recognize my aesthetic.

Were there any challenges in creating your own brand name?

Definitely! The Tsantilis name is known in the industry and has played a major role in shaping Athenian fashion. This is not always a plus when establishing your own name. Tsantilis is mainly associated with very expensive, luxury and high fashion. Their clientele would criticize my younger, more modern aesthetic. I have often questioned my decisions, but I know my instinct is guiding me correctly! Times have changed and the fashion industry needs to reflect this.

Interview by Daphne Karnezis, Athens-based journalist
Photo by Ria Mort