Greek American Angelica Tassoulas Connelly might call Atlanta, Georgia, home, but twice a year she returns to Athens to discover new designers and artists for her online shop, Angeliki. There you'll find her favorites, some making their international debuts. The collection includes clothing, bags, jewelry and home accents that Tassoulas Connelly handpicks from the neighborhoods of downtown Athens and the Greek islands. She told us how she finds her products, why she was inspired to take Greek artists to the U.S., and why she'll always love Athens.


What inspired you to create Angeliki?
ATC: My family and I have been traveling to Greece almost every year for more than 25 years. Our friends and family in the U.S. kept asking where we got that pair of turquoise earrings or the fabulous ceramic bowl. So, keeping with the spirit of our favorite Greek tradition, filoxenia, the Greek word for hospitality, we created a way to share and bring these treasures to friends abroad. Filoxenia literally translates to "love of strangers." It is a generosity of spirit, a joyful kind of the-best-of-what's-mine-is-yours attitude in which Greeks take great pride. We have curated the shop and travel section to share our favorite items and places to visit from our trips. We want you to feel welcomed and connected to Greece when we are not there to do so ourselves.

How do you discover the artists and designers you feature in your store? 
More than anything else, we spend a lot of time when we are in Athens wandering down tiny streets and taking breaks to enjoy coffee at new spots and old favorites. We literally stumble upon a lot of the artists' and designers' studios or shops we work with. That is how we've found most of our unique jewelry, clothing and other prized possessions — around every corner is another surprise. We are also learning about new, up-and-coming artists and designers in places like Thessaloniki and some of the islands via Instagram and other social media platforms. Over the last four to five years we've begun to see a burgeoning art scene and cultural wave that is energizing the people, and we believe Greece is about to have its moment.
 
 

A photo posted by ANGELIKI (@shopangeliki) on


As a Greek American you probably have a different perspective about Athens than locals do. What’s one thing you wouldn’t want to change?
Every year we visit Athens, we take note of changes — some slight, some more noticeable. What doesn't change is its authenticity. Athens is still very Greek. A lot of major European cities are not what they used to be. Athens has remained the same for a long time and we really cherish that.

What’s a place that feels like home, although isn’t? 
Our village is near Thermopylae, north of Athens, where much of my relatives live or spend their summers. When my Aunt Maria grabs my hands, pinches my cheeks and ushers me to her garden to give us fresh eggs, feta and peppers, there is really no place I'd rather be.

What dish are you still dreaming about? 
Sesame-crusted feta with tomato marmalade from Melilotos on Kalamiotou, with their fresh bread shipped daily from Euboea. Melilotos does a great job of keeping the integrity of Greek cuisine, but making it far more interesting and worth going back three or four times in one trip.

What is one place in Greece that you're still dying to visit? 
Monemvasia, during olive-picking season. The village is perched above the Mediterranean Sea and sounds breathtaking. A friend of mine grows olives near there and the setting must be magnificent — just like the olive oil he shared with me. 

Photo by askii


What’s one item on your bucket list? 
In addition to exploring more of the islands, to spend the day with an old shepherd on one of his or her daily treks into the mountains, with their herd of goats. They know the mountains better than anyone and see some amazing views. And the sound of the goat’s bells is so sweet. 

What are your favorite Angeliki products? 
Lembesis pottery: We have been going to the island of Sifnos, in the Cyclades, since I was 12 years old. Each visit, we stay in windmills on top of the island and visit the Lembesis family studio down the road, where they have been making this pottery by hand for more than five generations. Many traditional homes in Sifnos proudly display these traditional pottery pieces in cupboards or hung on the walls of rooms.

Lembesis Bowls via Website


Enamel earrings with silk tassel: This kind of hand-painted enamel detail on jewelry is something we have never seen outside of Greece, and the artist only hand-paints a limited number of pieces each year. Between my mom, my sister and myself, we probably own about a dozen of his pieces, and they never go out of style.

Greek leather sandals: Many U.S. brands try to imitate the leather sandals Greece is known for, but nothing beats getting a pair from the source. Our two-tone leather sandals have everyone stopping us, wanting to know more. A great pair of leather sandals is one that you reach for as often as your favorite pair of jeans, and they last forever.

Olivewood serving set: One my favorite sights from Greece is of the rolling hills of olive trees as we escape busy Athens and head to our village. Many of these trees have been there for thousands of years. The wood from these trees is unique for its vivid grain and color range, which get better with age. Plus, it's hard and nonporous, so ideal for use in the kitchen. It will not absorb flavors, odors or bacteria, and it does not stain.

Olivewood Serving Set via Website


Little girls' dresses: We first stumbled upon Zooms Fabrica's shop on Pitakki in Athens when we were searching for old fabrics. Their dress patterns have a flattering retro style and are cut from incredible European, vintage fabrics that you can't find anymore. 


Angeliki currently ships only to U.S. locations. You can follow the boutique on Instagram.

By Eleni Zoe

Eleni Zoe is a writer and daily chai drinker. She's powered by mystery novels, afternoon naps and good food. She would not think twice about swiping the last falafel ball off a child's plate.