After a twelve year career in marketing Mr. Costas Balafas took the decision to change his activity field. So in mid 2011, he created the company “Olive Vision” together with his partner Mr. George Dimarakis. Olive Vision is a small family business specializing in production, bottling and marketing of quality olive products. The company without any State funding invested from the beginning in its own facilities (bottling – Hermione warehouses and offices in Athens where we visited Mr. Balafas). Then olive oil “Moria Elea” was created. A product which besides its excellent quality (which is evidenced by the awards received) stands up in a luxurious and elegant packaging.
As he explains himself, Mr. Balafas: “We created an ultra premium brand in order to change the way we treat the oil. After market research abroad, I saw competing brands, prices, packages and so we went on. Since 2012 Moria Elea has launched abroad to markets such as France, Germany, Britain and of course Greece, in selected delicatessen, hotels and top restaurants. Next target is the entry into new markets.”
Around the world
“Our production reaches 20 tonnes on average per year. The “Moria Elea” olive oil can be found on the shelves of some major super markets such us Woolworths in South Africa, KaDeWe in Germany, Emporio Santa Maria and Casa Santa Lucia in Brazil, Isetan in Japan, Jelmoli in Switzerland etc.” says Mr. Balafas. He also adds: “80% of our production is exported to 15 countries in total.”
Packaging of “Moria Elea” is handmade using environmentally friendly materials. The bottle is made of French glass, cork is made of natural wood, the label is cotton cloth made by hand and the wooden box designed specifically for Moria Elea by a carpentry workshop in Greece. According to Mr. Balafas, each bottle of Moria Elea is unique and numbered on the front label. There is a limited number of bottles. The suggested retail price is 29 euros for the half-liter bottle and 39 euros for the wooden.
The legend behind the brand name
Concerning the name «Moria Elea» Mr. Balafas advised that in order to create a brand name someone first will have to decide the product that will produce and then give it a name and a story behind this that will follow the product. “According to ancient legend, in her bid to become patroness of the city of Athens, the goddess Athena struck the ground with her spear and an olive tree sprouted from the rocks, symbolizing nourishment, peace and prosperity. In homage to this, Olive Vision named its flagship brand after this first tree, Moria Elea, to represent the origins and attributes of this exquisite olive oil” explains Mr. Balafas.
Olive oil is not always “gold”
Mr. Balafas also referred to the fact that in recent years, particularly the years of economic crisis, some write or suggest to producers to deal with the export of olive oil. “People think that olive oil is the El Dorado, the land of gold. Very soon, however, one finds out that it is not the truth”, says Mr Balafas.
According to him “one can reasonably wonder, why my company entered this market sector since things are so difficult? The answer is that there are always opportunities provided especially if you have an excellent product to sell. If someone knew our products will then understand that our competitive advantage is not only packed, high quality but an integrated marketing mix which covers all parts from raw material to final consumer.”
Finally, asking him to give an advice to someone who wants to get involved in a similar project Mr. Balaphas notes to AgroTypos: “A big mistake we all make in the beginning is that we believe we’ll be the best and everything will be fine. In practice that proves wrong. When something new starts we should have a business plan. Without it you we can not do anything. What we did was to launch products gradually, based on the real needs of the market. We took care to improve all of our products before entering into larger markets, and also we created the conditions so that we can satisfy larger sale needs”.