Αn amazing woman with passion, vision, love for what she does. A conversation with Μina Apostolidis.
What are the secrets to your success?
Perseverance and faith to the original vision: Share my Greek heritage via my handmade chocolates, by using the amazing products of Greek nature, incorporating our traditions in the making of my handmade chocolates.
Real chocolates( no extra, flashy colors, sweeteners, as much as possible , products close to the roots, featuring the Mediterranean diet) prepared in small batches, with love, so that those who taste them open their hearts, and find joy.
How does your business look different now vs. when you first started?
When one starts is an ''idea'', nowadays it is an ''act' with all the successes and drawbacks. Now, I count about 10 international and regional awards and a recent inclusion of Gault § Millau 2024, as one of the best chocolatiers in Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as relations with brilliant and beautiful people, who were initially my clients. Grateful!
What are some of the challenges you face regarding catalyzing innovation?
There is only one challenge really: to educate the palettes and inform the public. Actually, there is another one too, which is to have the patience ( we go back to perseverance and faith ) to see one's work and innovative proposition or approach to give fruit.
What are your tips for growing a company?
Follow your market, have a top financial advisor, if needed, find an alternative way to reach your goal, therefore, be flexible and last, remember why you started!
What inspired you to change your career and shift from PR to chocolate creating?
Loving to see people smiling and their eyes shining when tasting my chocolate creations, and, the fact that this profession, I could ' take it ' anywhere I go-if needed to live Greece again ( had already lived in Dubai and couldn't work in the field of PR ), which became the case , some years, after my decision to become an artisan chocolatier, when I decided to come to Belgium to start over my personal life with my three kids.
What do you love about your work?
The creating part? Most of the times, when I create a new recipe, I end up dancing at my atelier!
The sharing part of me with the world.
The joy of the faces.
Being an ambassador of my country, Greece, via my work.
What routines do you follow each day?
I wake up at 7 am. Before I appear, I do my breathing for five mins and/or meditate, then I do one or two dances from my dancing morning list, give a high five to myself in the mirror and say good morning to the world.
Depending on the day, I would go out for a half to one - hour brisk walk in nature ( grateful for the beauty that surrounds me and inspires me in Belgium), or have my yoga session via zoom.
Coffee or green team or my chocoelixir, shower (cold to raise up the vibration) and around 10 am usually I am at the atelier, the shop until 7 PM or in my office doing admin.
This year, as all my kids are off school, my schedule has no everyday drop offs and pick ups, which make it more flexible. the rest of the day includes cooking for the family, a one-time per week going to my Biodanza class, writing my book and reading.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their own pastry business?
Whatever business that includes creation: know that running a business like this, includes the necessary, 'boring'' part of administration and logistics. In creating food, please, avoid using ingredients of second or third quality to cut the cost.
At the end, you lose.
What is the hardest part of being a woman entrepreneur?
Juggling between the business and the family ( if taking the family as a priority, which was and, still is, my case. )
What do you want to achieve next?
Sell to an inspired and successful business partner, so that we can share the joy of the experience and our amazing Greece via my handmade awarded -chocolates, inspired by my heritage, with people all over the world and shops in metropolitan cities.
( Thank you Mina for the inspiration.)