CULTURE

Sound mix of nature and science

Coriander, cedar, cinnamon, vanilla and lime are just a few of the natural ingredients George Korres uses for his exciting range of skin and hair care products and homeopathic treatments. A unique – for local standards – venture, Korres Natural Products offer an exciting combination of pharmaceutical expertise (no testing on animals), sensible pricing and hip, recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging. The choice is considerable: There are 120 products currently available, ranging from hair and scalp scrub, made of green silt and coralline oligo-elements, to red vine hair protection, bitter almond shower gel and nutmeg body water, among others. «We are a little bit like Nikes as opposed to hand-made loafers, but without compromising on quality,» said Korres to Kathimerini English Edition. Since establishing the company in 1996, the maverick founder and managing director has made stunning progress without shifting focus. Right from the start, the aim was to develop effective skin and hair care products from nature’s gifts, while exploiting scientific knowledge at the same time. Thus the young company developed in two major areas: homeopathic remedies on the one hand (the Korres lab is the only of its kind officially licensed by the National Drug Organization), and natural cosmetic products – including skin, body and hair care, sun protection as well as the recently launched anti-cellulite treatments – on the other. Given Greece’s long history of herbal remedies, dating back to antiquity, Korres’s homeland was an ideal point of departure, but while the young entrepreneur was eager to learn from the glorious past, he was also looking to incorporate his venture into a more global framework. «I’m not suggesting using these products because they are made in Greece, but because they are good,» said Korres, who has steadily refused to use Greek names for shampoos, scrubs and creams. At the same time, however, he does incorporate traditional and locally produced ingredients such as olives, honey and camomile, among others, to add a Greek spin to the products. Born in Athens in 1965, Korres graduated from the capital’s School of Pharmacy and proceeded to take over the city’s oldest homeopathic chemist’s. As his work with the various natural ingredients turned into a thriving passion, the pharmacy’s loyal clientele demanded more. That is when Korres decided to make the huge leap forward and develop his own line of products. His first offering? Honey and aniseed throat pastilles. As the project took off, Korres made a considerable investment, which eventually attracted both local and foreign interest. Today, this translates into the brand being sold, exclusively, in more than 3,000 pharmacies all over Greece – where the developing range of products enjoys a privileged display position and has specialized staff to answer queries – while at the same time the products are increasingly available at international outlets. In Britain alone, they are on display at the prestigious Harvey Nichols Beyond Beauty points, various Pure Beauty outlets and at Libertys, while the celebrated department store Selfridges is next – a collection of products will go on display in June. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Korres products are available at a number of Whole Food outlets, department store Henri Bendel as well as various beauty specialists. In Paris, they are on sale at the Left Bank department store Le Bon Marche, while a presence on the Spanish, German, and Italian markets can be expected to follow. Meanwhile, a number of products are available online at a variety of beauty sites such as www.sesto-senso.com and www.beautydoor.com. Korres’s success on an international level points to a word-of-mouth process; the company does not have an advertising budget for promotion abroad, while on a local level, ads appear in the press. Meanwhile, the company continues to grow spectacularly every year, while a staff of 78 working either at the company’s Athenian headquarters or at the two separate factory units ensure production and distribution. «I would like to see our products in every local household, and in many more abroad,» said Korres. «I want them to gain their rightful place locally, while at the same time be seen in many more outlets all over the world. These products should reach more people.»