A Facebook page dedicated to Greek imports to Australia is gaining momentum.
As Greece continues to trudge its way through the economic crisis, one man Down Under is trying to assist in the best way he knows how.
Steve Tsouparidis is responsible for the Facebook page ‘Greek made products in Australia’.
Through the page he promotes various Greek-made brands and products, ranging from fashion and food products to musical instruments and building materials, all with the intention to “make Greek Australians aware of what Greece actually manufactures and produces”.
“A lot of the products are available in Australia. Everything from hand-made suits to soft drinks, machinery paint, windows, floorboards, and makeup,” Mr Tsouparidis explains.
“These are 100 per cent Greek companies, made in Greece – they’re not foreign multinationals. Many of them are family-owned too, which is all the more reason to support them.”
Since starting the page in 2012, he has seen a peak in people’s interest over the years and now has close to 2,000 people connected to his page from all over the world, including North America, Canada, Germany, Belgium and Sweden.
What’s more, the Melbourne-based construction worker does all the research and promotion in his spare time without a desire to be compensated. For him it’s simple: Greeks abroad can do their part to help Greece, by choosing to buy Greek.
“We are Greek Australians and we should be in some way supporting our motherland. A lot of other cultures support their own products; for example, my wife is Italian and many Italians only buy Italian products. So why shouldn’t we do the same?”
The page is not only aimed at educating consumers about their choices, but also looks to give Greek companies a platform through which to promote themselves to a wider audience free of charge, while showing importers new potential products.
“I have a lot of Greek companies that get in contact with me; this way I make a lot of importers aware of what Greece actually manufactures, and they can say ‘hey, this is advertised on the page, maybe we can bring it to Australia’. I’d really like to see more products made in Greece sold in Australia – that’s my main aim,” he says.
Though Mr Tsouparidis’ page is not the only one of its kind, his is by far the most detailed, providing links and details on where each product can be found.
But while we know that Greek imports to Australia increased by 30 per cent in 2014 alone, he admits the only way to continue seeing results is by people taking their vote to the checkout.
“Product awareness is very important. If people see a product, they think ‘I’ll try it’ or at least it’ll be in the back of their mind.
“But the thing is, people have to go and buy these products. I could put them on my page 100 times, but we can only do so much. We put them on there so people are aware of it, but then they have to actually purchase it,” he explains.
He cites examples where demand has seen real results with consumable products such as Loux soft drinks and ION chocolate, which a few years back were nowhere to be found in Australia until there was adequate demand.
While certain products may carry a heavier price tag due to the cost of importing, there are others that prove to be a better investment.
“There are these good quality aluminium windows and doors that are manufactured in Greece called Aluminco. The quality is better than what we have here and the cost is virtually the same,” he says.
Having experienced the variety and quality of products first-hand, Mr Tsouparidis says he will continue to spread the word about Hellenic products until people of the diaspora have more access.
“Some people are pretty ignorant and think Greece doesn’t make anything. But actually it does – we just need to show a little bit of interest in what it manufactures. If we show more interest, it will import more into Australia. It’s just educating people – that’s the aim.”