With a love for her homeland, Eugenia Chandris, an executive in the hospitality industry, writer and co-founder of Huffington Greece, has created an innovative platform experience “A Magic Cabinet”, featuring a world of contemporary Greek treasures.
Imagine you had a magic cabinet filled with a recollection of childhood summers in Greece. All those little things that remind you of beautiful moments and entrancing scents, happy places and loved ones you spent time with. You could just open this painted cabinet and be transported to a sensory wonderland; reliving your carefree childhood and remembering the dreams you once had.
Every object in the Magic Cabinet has been carefully selected, tested and researched by Eugenia Chandris herself; and each piece is accompanied by a lovely description compiled from interviews with the producers who reveal how and where Mrs. Chandris discovered them. IN+SIGHTS GREECE caught up with Mrs. Chandris, to chat about the Magic Cabinet, which leads people to a world of eclectic and unique Greek items, and allows people from around the globe to make their own personal magic cabinet- filled with wonders from Greece.
How would you describe who you are today, in a nutshell?
I don’t fit into a nutshell but if I have to condense it, I’m an energetic and restless person who is inspired by new projects, I love to work and create and I am a person who is deeply in love with Greece, with its light, its sea, its ancient soul.
What drew you to create the Magic Cabinet?
The desire to fuse a commercial e-shop with an editorial platform, to be able to sell premium Greek items but also to elaborate on the story of their heritage.
If you opened the door of the Magic Cabinet and there was a place behind it, which would it be?
Actually, I have often thought about that. The cabinet would open up onto a delightfully green and lush garden, warm and bathed in the sunshine; where people could fly through the air of their inspiration and be able to live out what they dream of. There would be kindness and positive thinking. It would be a wonderful place.
Tell us about some of the most unique places you have discovered treasures for the Magic Cabinet.
I discovered Verikokos’ marble atelier inside the castle of Naxos, stumbling down a narrow street after I had been running outside in the sunshine. I couldn’t see my way. I discovered Lord Amber, Meli Baba, and Onoiamata in a rather dismal whole food supermarket in Thessaloniki, taken there by a guy who finds producers for me. Nikos Vladikas ambushed me in one of the aisles, thrusting his tsipouro at me saying “This is the finest”. He is right. I made my decisions by meeting producers at fairs, then during Covid, online. Not strange but surely magical.
What do you love most about your work?
It is always fresh and interesting; I get bored easily. With this site I never am.
Describe to us your usual daily routine.
I make sure I sleep for eight hours, as I feel sleep is essential for good skin cell repair and for the soul. I exercise six days a week, again this is important to me. In the office, I brainstorm with my wonderful team, write the texts, look at the business side of what we are doing and spend time in the stock room, studying the mix of what we offer.
Lately, there is a preference for “made in Greece” products. How did that come about? Is the soil “fertile” for that?
Yes, the time has been right for a while now. Greece should be featured so much more than this. A Magic Cabinet is trying to change that.
Tell us about recent changes in your industry.
I also work in the hospitality industry at the hotels my family is involved in –The Athens Marriot, The Met Thessaloniki, and the Chios Chandris. Covid has dramatically changed the way hospitality operates and it’s also affected online shopping, so I would say that event has changed most. Hotels are recovering and online has strengthened.
One thing that doesn’t change, is human contact. Hospitality is all about that and even though we are an e-shop, we are very excited about our pop-up events and our corporate business where we address our clients directly.
If Greece were a feeling, which would it be?
Unadulterated joy, soaring inspiration.
What can we expect from the Magic Cabinet in the near future?
With an emphasis on design, objects for the home, new Greek creators, A Magic Cabinet will always open up to something exciting, and it will always be rare and valuable, in a “soul” sense. Through the Magic Cabinet you can also create your own custom-made hampers, selecting from a range of unique Greek products or pick one of the already mixed hampers like “I feel like mezze in a shot”, “I feel like a sample of Greece”, “I feel like breakfast in bed”, “I feel like veranda cocktails” among others.