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Expressing yourself creatively as a way of living

How many of us could say that our profession reflects our passions and our true life calling? You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and you realise you make your living by practicing something that you love as if it was a hobby.

Olga Alexaki feels very lucky waking up every day with such a sensation. She comes from a family of architects and she grew up with an inclination to arts and crafts and the habit to draw anything that came to her mind.

“Because of my family, I was always fascinated by architecture and I could easily picture myself following the same profession, as Ι ended up doing. My aspiration was to give a more modern and creative approach to my personal work based on my expertise and taste.”

During her studies Olga explored her creativity by designing jewelery. She formed a company named “Open that Stone” producing handmade collections of wooden and perspex accessories.

Surrounded by inspiring people

As a professional architect you may find multiple ways to cover your clients’ needs and simultaneously express yourself creatively. The trick is to find the source of inspiration. For Olga this source is the everyday life and that is the main reason she wanted to have an office in a coworking environment rather than a traditional office place.

Olga is working with Iris Papadatou at YOU & ME Architecture, which is based at Stone Soup. According to her, being surrounded by individuals from diverse fields of expertise is really inspiring.

“We like the kind of fun architecture, with playful structures that gives the opportunity to people to feel comfortable and welcome. Operating in a shared environment triggers our creativity and enriches our perspective for our own projects, as we view it as a chance to observe how people use the space, in order to work, to cowork and network.”

Do you have to leave Greece to start your career?

We talked to Daphne Xourafi this week and our conversation raised one daunting question.

Can you find work in Greece if you are a highly trained and skilled young professional?

The social and economic crisis has deeply affected the living conditions and opportunities in Greece, resulting in unemployment and a poor working environment. Human capital flight, or brain drain is usually described as a problem that needs to be solved.

However, there are benefits that can be derived from this process. The country can naturally profit when talented workers return with new competencies and carry the prospect to create better job possibilities for Greeks. Another phenomenon that also acts as a bridge between the Greek and the international scene is the attraction of foreign human capital. Professional nomads are not merely tourists but they come to Greece to start a new life. They spread a strongly desired global mindset by carrying professional, social and personal skills.

Usually, the returners and the nomads choose to shelter their activities in co-working spaces, like the creative hub Stone Soup, because of the limitless networking potential and the inspiration one such dynamic environment may offer.

The effects of brain drain are quite visible in our daily practice, but should we despair?

Daphne was introduced to us as a talented, young professional looking for opportunities abroad. She has spent six months in Paris, at Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines with the Erasmus programme, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media from the University of Athens (UOA) and a Master’s Degree in Computer Animation and VFX from the University of Dundee.

Daphne is a passionate and determined person driven by her passion and ambition to distinguish in her profession. She has a broad range of interests and skills that she acquired during her education or she was self-taught, such as illustration, concept and comic art and 2D & 3D animation and she is already acknowledged for her work in some of these. In 2017 she illustrated a children’s book written by Cleopatra Deliou, a lecturer of Athens University of Economics and Business, and she released her own comic in Comicdom Athens Convention called “Requiem in Deep Blue”.

Both experiences were very important to build her confidence as an artist and gain constructive feedback to help her improve creatively and to build her network. A few months after graduating, Daphne returned to Greece, while seeking positions worldwide, in concept art, character design and animation, with the long-term plan to direct animation films. Asking for career advices she ended up at Stone Soup where she had the opportunity to network and to cowork on some freelance projects.

Daphne considers Stone Soup as an environment where global job possibilities come up all the time through getting to know all kinds of freelancers and you may find yourself committed in ongoing or future projects very naturally. Thus, she came to realisation that going abroad is not the only choice, because there are places for people to perform and network in an international setting in Greece too.

So if you are planning to leave Greece…

We hope we gave you enough reasons why you might want to drop by and check what is simmering for you here!

If interested you can reach here Daphne’s portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

 

Starting-up your business in Greece, could a coworking space benefit you?

Lucy is a US citizen who decided to move away and live in Greece. She is a marketer and start-up advisor, and she recently launched the website for her new company The Port. For the last couple of months she has been working from Stone Soup, so we thought to ask her about her experience and how is life for her in Greece.

In the summer of 2016, Lucy traveled to Greece on holiday and fell in love with the country. By the end of the year, she had become educated on the local tech community in Athens, and made the move to bring her skills to a new market. Since arriving in Greece over a year and a half ago, Lucy has been getting to know the local tech scene and culture, working with startups and small businesses both in Greece and the States. She is using her experience to better understand the needs of startups here, and identify the best practices from Silicon Alley (New York City) that could be adapted to help Greek startups grow.

This year, Lucy officially launched The Port, a startup resources hub and consultancy that is “helping startups navigate unchartered waters.” Specifically, in the Greek Market, The Port is helping local startups adapt and leverage the strategies that have helped the rapid growth of American tech companies.

Lucy joined Stone Soup in search of a shared space to surround herself with creative energy and inspiring hustle, and for all the other coworking space benefits that come with it. The welcoming community and open space office layout provides her with a “tight-knit community” enabling her to interact and collaborate with “creative and bright minds.”  The location was also a big plus and attracted Lucy to the space. Working in the heart of Athens, she is in walking distance from all other central neighborhoods—like Greek food hub, Syntagma Square and the famous Monastiraki Square and Flea Market.

To answer our initial question, Lucy felt that setting up shop in a local coworking space has greatly helped in both her transition into the Greek lifestyle and the successful launch of her business.

We would like to thank Lucy for her kind words, and to wish her lots of success!

More about Lucy:

Lucy grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and spent her university years in Philadelphia where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she went on to join IBM Global Business Services in New York City. After spending some time in corporate America, Lucy decided to make the shift to working with technology startups: early-stage e-commerce game Drop’ Til You Shop  and visual commerce platform Curalate. To learn more about The Port and the services it offers for Greek startups, go to the official website www.totheport.com

The Coworking Space Concept: Through the Lens of an Intern

After working at Stone Soup for the past 2 months, I can easily say that the community of people working in this space are welcoming, kind, and made the transition into an entirely different culture, almost effortless for me. I was introduced to many aspects of the local culture through food and drinks, by my coworkers – which is reflective of the kind of place the Stone Soup is.

Throughout my stay, I conducted interviews with several Stone Soup residents, which gave me a more specific insight into what they were doing and what lead them to their current position. This also gave me the chance to properly meet the people in the office, that I was seeing every day, in an organic and informal way. To a college student like me, hearing about how career paths can differ so drastically, is knowledge that both placates my worries about the future, and excites me for what’s to come.

                                           

I also gained experience with SEO marketing, which I previously knew nothing about. My understanding of SEO is very multi-faceted in the way that I was taught about it – I learnt about SEO from many different people around the office, who gave me many approaches to tackle SEO, which I could look at and consider on my own. This form of interaction, in which ideas and knowledge can be exchanged at many levels, with different attitudes, is something that about the coworking space concept that I highly appreciated.

My unique experience here can be attributed to a variety of factors, but an overarching theme revolves around the different kinds of people that I have continually met throughout my stay. The diverse job-fields that I encountered within Stone Soup, broke down the preceding connotations and traditional assumptions that I had about the “work place”. The benefits of a coworking space span a much larger scale than I had previously anticipated – the framework is not limited to startups, but is rather a window into the way that different local and social networks can function.

Many aspects of my experience here have been shaped by, and are a result of Stone Soup, an environment that fosters inclusivity in every sense of the word. There is no way for me to show my appreciation for what Stone Soup has shown me, and the kinds of opportunities that have begun to form as a result of my time here, other than by thanking each and every person that I came across during my stay. I am excited for the future of Stone Soup, and for anyone that has the chance to be a part of the community, even if for just a short while.