After studying history and international relations and following an 11-year career in Greek radio and television as a news person, Nickie Achimastos decided that owning her own business was what she really wanted to do.
Six years ago, right in the heart of the crisis, she opened her first clothes and accessories store featuring talented Greek designers and is enjoying half the year in the Greek capital and the other half in the idyllic Paxoi island group. She talks to us about how this has changed her life and also offers some great style tips for Summer 2019 and the Top 5 Tips for the most unmissable things to do on Paxoi!
Please describe yourself to our readers...
For as long as I can remember myself, I have had people tell me what a distinctive, expressive sense of style I have. The way I dress and especially accessorize is who I am... Being it a ring on each finger, a multitude of necklaces all at once, belts, always, hats, usually my dad's overcoats, my mom's vintage clutches... This was always me. And around nine years ago, I found a way to turn my passion into my living.
My decision to come to live in Paxoi for at least half the year was a very personal one, an internal need to find balance and inner peace and start fresh. Paxoi is the ideal place for that. Sharing my life between Paxoi and Athens gives me the balance I need between quiet and fun, offering inspiration while my work puts a constant smile on my face. My mom was born here, so growing up, I spent many of my summers under the olive trees and in these crystal clear waters; the energy is magical. I was always in love with the place - its endless beauty and it's capacity to surprise me constantly.
Paxoi is a small place, tiny, in fact. And it has all the pros and cons of any small place. It’s a paradise of seven islands of remarkable beauty, serenity, and clarity. Life here is as predictable as small communities are; same people, same places, a tranquil routine.
Having a summer business means you mostly deal with happy, interesting people worldwide on their holiday. I can spend hours chatting with them! And then when the ladies buy my clothes and come back for me to see them wear them, that is the happiest I can be - it offers true satisfaction and joy. There’s nothing better than a smiling customer who feels beautiful in my clothes.
What does your store sell? How have you made it what it is today?
Eliani is my baby, my soul, it is me. It’s all about femininity and honesty. Anyone stepping into the store feels that. I sell women's clothes and accessories like jewellery, bags, swimsuits, and hats, all created by Greek designers and all made in Greece. This is the fourth season for Eliani Paxoi, and it is fascinating to see it grow and evolve.
How do you choose the designers you showcase in your store?
Just as Eliani is my heart and soul, a representation of me, so are the designers I carry. They’re people I respect and admire for their creativity and professionalism. And most of them, I’m proud to say, are by now my friends. For me, integrity and honesty in what we do is essential, but I also choose my collaborations based on my personal taste; they are designers I would wear - in fact, I do wear them all the time! Fabrics and craftsmanship must be top-notch. And all my jewellery and accessories are handmade with love and care. I love supporting local production, and so do my clients. They love the Greek brands and know they will return home with something to remember Greece by.
What are the top Summer 2019 trends for Greece?
For me, summer '19 is all about colour and femininity. The most beautiful women are those who discover and embrace their feminine beauty, take pride in their bodies and their “imperfections” and discover how to accentuate their sensuality. Be elegant, find what suits you and master it. Style is not about being dressed in expensive clothes, it’s emotion, what feels and evokes.
*Wear feminine clothes! This summer is all about skirts and crop tops with a somewhat '70s flair to them, midi dresses, bright colours like yellow and coloured prints and sensual, natural fabrics like silk and cotton.
*As far as jewellery goes, it’s all about shells, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings, all-natural.
* For the perfect stylish look, wear mules - forget flip flops and forget your sandals, please... Mules are the ‘it’ shoes for this season, for a city or island look, from morning til night.
* Summer ‘19 is also about colourful, flowy dresses, skirts, and deux pieces.
* Accessorize! Wear belts to accentuate the waist. All women can look slimmer with the right belt. Don't be afraid to wear an expensive dress with a 15 euro belt, for instance, or vice versa.
What are the top 5 best things about Paxoi that our readers shouldn't miss?
1. A boat ride around the island. Rent your own boat. The island by sea is absolutely stunning; for me, its waters are the clearest I've ever swum in.
2. A day-trip to Antipaxoi. Voutoumi beach is a dream.
3. Sunrise over Gaios and sunset at Erimitis.
4. Dinner at Loggos. It’s so picturesque and peaceful, with amazing food.
5. Indulge in beauty. Aperitivo in Mongonnisi, followed by a swim in the passage between Mongonissi and Kaltsonisi. Enjoy an afternoon drink.
Eliani paxoi follow them on Instagram