SINGAPORE - In 1972, pharmacists Niki and Nikos Koutsianas first met in a pharmacy and realised they shared a love for natural formulas. They were married in that very pharmacy and it wasn't long before they started making their first creams with royal jelly and honey, and co-founded Greece's first natural cosmetics company, Apivita, in 1979.
Fast forward 33 years later, and Apivita can be found across the world including Singapore, where it opened its very first outlet at ION Orchard. "Our products are very much inspired by bees and how they live," Niki explained when she was in town last month. "(The bees) are very healthy, very balanced and very productive. In fact, Apivita means 'bees and life'."
Why did you decide to bring Apivita to Singapore?
Niki Koutsianas: We have stores and Japan and Hong Kong. We think that Singapore's an important market and we're very happy to be here. I believe we will do well here as we can offer something unique. It's not just about offering a brand, it's about our philosophy and values as well. Our message is nature is important - I feel that here, as well as in Europe, people forget that. We must live in harmony with nature, eat well, and manage our stress. It's about transferring the Apivita way of life first before the brand.
Besides bees, what are your products inspired by?
Nature. In Greece, there are more than 5,000 plants and herbs. Plants have many medicinal and healing properties. We use a lot of herbs in one product. And we believe in cultivating them in the correct way. You can see on each product how much natural ingredients go into them - we state the percentage. And we only use 100 per cent pure essential oils. We are also inspired by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, who believed in the holistic approach.
What's your holistic approach to beauty?
It's quite similar to what a lot of Asians believe in. The people in the Orient, you'd know and understand, it's about being balanced. For me, I think my holistic approach also includes passion for life - liking what you do. As for diet, I eat a lot of honey. I always carry my own honey with me. I take a spoonful every morning after I drink a little hot water with lemon. I try not to consume too much caffeine - I usually drink chamomile tea or green tea, which has antioxidants. I take fresh fruits, vegetables. And, most importantly, relax.
How do you relax?
I swim, I dream. I travel once or twice a year to the different Greek islands. I like the islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Crete and Ithaca. And (I like to) see beautiful things.
What favourite products can't you go without?
Our essential oils. They're 100 per cent organic and I always bring it for my travels. I use the lavender and tea tree oils a lot. I also like our almond natural oil very much. It's very good for moisturising - just massage it into your face or body. And our Express Masks. We have many different types for different purposes and they are in packaged in packs so it's good for travel too.
Apivita is located at #B3-45/46 ION Orchard.