Featured From Australia~ Story of Stefania (Part 2)
June 30, 2019
Meet Story of Stefania ~ Part 2 Interview
Happy Sunday friends! This weekend’s posts are all about my friend Maria Trovas owner of Story of Stefania from Australia.
If you didn’t get a chance to check out the exciting recipe Maria shared on the blog yesterday please do so here. (A very delicious phyllo pastry stuffed with loukoumi candies and walnuts.)
Maria has been a super busy bee preparing Story of Stefania orders all around the globe. We wanted to catch up with Maria and see what she has been up to.
Q & A TIME
Hello Maria! Welcome back to Kouzounas Kitchen blog. How have you been since we last spoke?
Thank you for featuring Story of Stefania on your blog again! Since our last interview, life has gotten a lot busier! Firstly, my husband and I welcomed our second baby, Christos. The business has grown, with more stefana orders for Greek weddings around the world. I have also sourced high-quality wedding and christening items into my shop, which was a goal of mine when we last spoke!
Can you tell our audience how you started your love and passion for Story of Stefania? Who inspired you?
Story of Stefania began six years ago. I wanted to add something personalized to the Greek wedding ceremony. The idea came to me that the stefana joining ribbon could be personalized with the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date. It’s something that I had never seen before and I wanted for my own wedding.
I am inspired by the women role models in my life. My Yiayia, mum, mother in law and auntie Maria are all women I admire and all their weddings have inspired me in different ways. Their crowns have inspired the stefanai have created in my collections.
I always wanted to visit Australia especially for the pure fact it has one of the largest Greek communities in the world. For someone new planning a trip to Australia what Greek places would you suggest seeing and why?
As a Greek Australian we are very lucky to have so many Greek places to eat, enjoy music and our culture. I am from Adelaide; South Australia and I am proud to say our Greek community really supports one another. Our Adelaide Greek festival (Glendi) always has a huge turnout, as well as the church Panayiris throughout the year.
Krystina, there are so many Greek food places I would take you to visit in Adelaide! I know you would absolutely enjoy so many Greek restaurants, not only in Adelaide but in Melbourne and the other cities in Australia. I could write such a long list but these are my personal Adelaide favorites;
Kalymnos Pastries: a family-run cafe with traditional Greek, European cakes and pastries. This place is a must to visit, as all the sweets and pastries are delicious. The owner George has such a passion for his business, and it is evident as the cafe has a friendly and inviting atmosphere.
Meze Mazi: a stunning restaurant with authentic Greek food dishes.
Diaspora Kouzina: a beautifully decorated cafe that makes the best Freddo Cappuccino! It took me right back to holidaying in Greece.
How many different styles of stefania do you make? What is your most unique one? Can you explain the process of making one?
I have created a variety of stefana styles (rustic, glam, traditional pearl and on trend-colors), to compliment a couple’s wedding style. I believe that the stefana should represent the couple’s style, as it is their wedding keepsake that will last a lifetime.
I believe all my stefana are unique! I make sure not to look at any other stefana designs out there. I create from within my ideas and inspiration. If I had to pick one stefana, it would be the White Berries Stefana. It is made from white stems and white berries which is unique from any other rustic berries stefana. It is a design I created for my own wedding, as I had envisioned an all-white rustic style stefana.
The process of making stefana is all handmade. I personally make each stefana order. I start by making the bases and then use Swarovski crystals, pearls, etc. to decorate the stefana. I then complete the stefana by joining them using personalized ribbon (with the bride and groom names and wedding date).
Maria where do you sell your products and is it available worldwide?
We last talked about growing up in a Greek household. Well, Maria is a mother of two handsome boys and I wanted to ask what has it been like? How has motherhood been
I feel blessed to have been chosen as Theodore and Christos’ mum. Motherhood is honestly the best and hardest job. There are days when I can get so much done and then other days, the bare minimum can only be achieved. As they are growing, they are understanding more about the Greek culture, food, and religion. I make a conscious effort to teach them about our Greek culture and religion, to pass on the values that were instilled upon myself and my husband when we were growing up.
Speaking of the kids I saw that you started your own children’s clothing line? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I am excited to be stocking a range of children’s clothing brand “Angel Wings” in my shop. The suits and dresses are perfect for weddings, christenings and other special occasions. I specifically chose this Greek brand, as their clothing is high quality and compliments the Story of Stefania brand. As a mum to two boys, I noticed there is not much variety out there for modern, stylish and good quality suits for boys. I am so in love with the suits I have in my shop, they truly are unique compared to other boy’s suits!
Any plans to get your own brick and mortar shop up in Australia?
No plans yet but it is definitely a dream goal to set up a brick and mortar Story of Stefania shop in the future!
I can imagine you work with many many brides making custom stefania for them. What is your best and worst experiences?
Working with brides (or koumbari) to create the stefana they envision is one of the reasons why I love Story of Stefania! I get to know the customer and it is the best experience when friendships are formed! I have remained in contact with many of the brides I have worked with and love watching their lives progress and start families! I think the best experience is when I have worked with a bride one on one, to create her stefana and when she sees it for the first time, the excitement on their face and the appreciation for the craftsmanship. It is always humbling when customers notice the work it takes to create their wedding crowns.
I am thankful for not really have horrible experiences with customers. The only negative experiences I can think of is making stefana orders and being told to stop the order, as the couple has gone their separate ways (weeks before the wedding). It is difficult to read those emails, as it must be a difficult time for the families involved.
What do you do to relax since you seem like such the active busy bee? Any tips or tricks for the stressed-out people out there?
To relax I will make myself a cheese platter and watch a romantic comedy film! Everyone who knows me knows that I love cheese and a good girly film.
I am someone who can get stressed out on the difficult days especially when there are so many jobs to do and I feel like I am getting nothing done! As a mum, my trick is to take a long shower at the end of the day and de-stress. It’s like a fresh start and you can see things clearly. Also, another tip is writing a list. Crossing off the tasks you have completed is satisfying!
Lastly, I know how EXCITED we both are to have the second cookbook come out. Maria is one of my features in the new book and she will share an amazing recipe by her sweet yiayia. Maria how exciting is this?
Words can’t describe how excited I am for your second cookbook! I am honored that Story of Stefania is one of your features and proud to be sharing my Yiayia’s recipe! I can’t wait to try out all the recipes in the new cookbook. I have always been a huge fan of your blog and your first cook book was absolutely amazing. So, I am super excited to see what you have planned in your next cookbook!
**Thank you very much to Maria for joining us today once again on Kouzounas Kitchen blog. Please connect with Story’s of Stefania to tune in to the latest news!