Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Iris Efthimiadou, Owner of Eliris Olive Oil, located in Drama, Prosotsani, Greece.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I produce extraordinary organic olive oil from my family Estate in Northern Greece. Extraordinary for its unique recipe, which is a very special blend of Greek olive varieties that have given the oil a rare character of aromas and depth in taste. It's an olive oil produced on a very small scale with a lot of attention to detail, focusing on freshness, high polyphenols, and working in harmony with nature (all certified organic).

Customers of Eliris across the world, the very few who discovered us, are the ones who appreciate premium quality and who are looking for the real thing. There are no shortcuts to making Eliris. A lot of work, speed, and persistence. Our customers value transparency and enjoy fresh olive oil, knowing from which harvest every bottle is made. Olive oil to use for finishing dishes or even to savour on its own!

Tell us about yourself

There is a personal story behind Eliris. The olive grove was my Dad's legacy. This was his dream. After his passing, the grove was badly managed and neglected until I came back to take over. He planted and raised these olive trees, so naturally, I felt the need to continue and protect this piece of heaven that he lovingly created. This alone fills me with a profound joy to carry on with what he started. What motivates me is that, somehow, I am making a difference. Being part of that change makes the world a better place.

We work with nature rather than against it. Striving for organic and sustainability, we leave the next generation in a better world than the one we found. Also, providing employment and spending money in the rural economy where the majority of people are moving to the cities or abroad. In addition, there is a hidden pleasure in offering the very best in quality to people, and positive feedback is also motivating.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I guess, apart from learning and rejuvenating a neglected olive grove and looking at the trees flourishing now, there is an achievement in what you have become going through this venture. I believe success comes in the form of becoming a better person every day.

This is what being an entrepreneur is all about, at least for me. There is so much detail that goes through your hands and mind, and there are hurdles that you never anticipate, but nevertheless, it is on its own a life experience that will change you and teach you a lot.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It can be a lonely venture. No colleagues, routine does not exist. Things may and can change constantly. That loneliness of not having anyone to brainstorm with! Also, finding the right people to work in different areas of the business has been a big challenge.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't be a perfectionist! - Even though it is great and necessary to have an almost perfect vision that you want to achieve, in reality, perfectionism can procrastinate unnecessarily. Things don't have to be perfect, as they will evolve and improve with time and experience.
  2. Be true to who you are. - Create something that represents you and your values. This will come out in the final product, so do not jeopardize this.
  3. Never give up! - even when it is the easiest thing to do. There will be many moments when you feel like giving up, and overcoming these moments will be a victory on its own. Great things happen when you don't give up.

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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