I have to say that I'm just loving all the incredible women we're meeting thanks to our Zelos community! I'm especially grateful that we've been introduced to inspiring women beyond our own food-related business world, women like Kristina Maria Headrick. A real wellness guru, Kristina started Yia Mas, a platform dedicated to workshops, events and carefully-selected products, all of which take their own inspiration from the ancient wisdom of Greece. I knew we were kindred spirits when I saw on her site, "we find it important to present alternative perspectives about the country's rich culture and land."
It's that upending of the cliches still associated with Greece that motivates so many of us Greek Women in Business. I hope you enjoy reading about Kristina's take on this challenge and how she works to extend the wonders of Greek culture to a diverse audience.
When we asked Katerina for her favorite recipe, she shared this picture from a taverna in Perdika, Aegina. "One of my favorite simple healthy meals! Fresh fish with ladolemono, vegetables, and some house wine." Hard to argue with that!!
What's the story behind Yia Mas?
Yia Maswas born organically from a workshop and event series I created in 2018. Prior to this, I ran a blog called Delphi Reclaimed, where I interviewed Greek creatives around the globe. From that, I had a small audience (which is primarily how people found out about Yia Mas to begin with). I didn’t set out to start a brand, per se, but I felt very passionate about the idea of sharing Greece’s holistic side. Both as a meditation/movement teacher and writer, my career had shifted towards wellness since 2015, and Yia Mas was born naturally from that.
What are your philosophy and goals?
I believe that the healing powers of Greece’s land and ancient wisdom can heal anyone. I hope to continue growing our message via our workshops, conscious objects, and retreats. Ideally, one day, I’ll write something that lives offline ;)
Our name also says it all: to our health! It is at once cheerful as it’s literally how we say "cheers", but also our homage to our commitment to health, Greek culture, and experiences that cultivate joy.
What was/is the biggest challenge as a woman entrepreneur?
I don’t know how much of it comes down to my gender, to be honest, but it does often feel like as a woman you have to work a bit harder to be taken seriously. Luckily a lot of my audience seems to not care :)
In general, the biggest challenge is Capital, period. It takes a lot of money to invest in your business and create products - it has taken me time. I’m my own investor! So it’s been about building and reinvesting wisely.
What do people think of your brand? What’s your most popular product/service?
Oh, this is tough! Product-wise, people love our Livani andAvli candles. Avli literally transports you straight to an avli(garden or courtyard in Greek) in the village. Workshop-wise, it's our Greek dance classes. They’re honestly so fun. I encourage people to stay mindful and present in their bodies, something usually absent from a typical Greek dance class. Also, we usually have some libations, so it turns into a bit of a mini glendi by the end. We do them in-person but actually had many very successful virtual classes during lockdown! The joy of Greek dance is contagious. I love teaching and sharing my passion for Greek culture and wellbeing, and I think that passion comes through. We bring in guest teachers (including professors from Greece) and musicians when we can.
What's your favorite Greek food and why? Could you share with us your favorite recipe?
My favorite Greek food? Gemistá(stuffed tomatoes & peppers) always! Or a fresh fish on the grill, preferably seaside in Greece.
Why gemistá? Firstly, they remind me of my great aunts in Greece, one of whom knows they’re my favorite and always has them waiting for me when I arrive. (Maria: this really resonated with me - read my recent blog about my own aunt & her gemista!!!) I love that they’re filling but also healthy and aromatic. I’ll admit, I do like them with some meat in them. I’m a proponent of eating small amounts of animal protein as it helps me feel fuller faster.
My favorite recipe to make is spanakorizo (spinach & rice). I literally eyeball everything (like a real yiayia, haha), so I don’t know where to start with the recipe. BUT I will say I always add a lot of fresh dill, a lot of Greek olive oil, leeks, lemon juice galore, and some tomatoes or tomato paste. There are a lot of good spanakorizo recipes out there, but those ingredients are a must for me.
Check out Katerina'sSiga Siga film, a homage to Greek slow living and a holistic Greek Summer.
Enjoy the delicious taste of PDO Kimi figs from the island of Evia and bring the flavors of a Greek summer to your table. Hand-crafted by Kumilio using traditional techniques with no additives, preservatives, artificial coloring or flavors.