The story of It's All Greek

Way back in 1999, a Classics teacher with a passion for ancient Greece had a crazy idea. That teacher was me, and the crazy idea was It's All Greek. This year, It's All Greek celebrates 22 years since the first website went live.

It's hard to believe, but in 1999 there were no smartphones, internet connection was mostly dial-up, and my Greek suppliers and I communicated via fax. Amazon and Google were just 2 years old, Ebay UK just 1 year old. It was 3 years before iTunes, 4 years before Facebook, 5 years before Etsy, and 10 years before Instagram.

It all started in 1972. My parents, Dilys and Wynne, took me to Greece when I was only 12. There began my passion for Greece. My then history teacher, now in her 94th year, still reminds me of the painted polystyrene corner of the Parthenon which I proudly produced during the weeks after this trip!

After reading Classics at St Hugh's College, Oxford, I took a bilingual teaching qualification in my home city of Cardiff. I taught at Queen's Gate School in London for 16 years. Every time I took a group of students on a Greek trip, I would return with bits and bobs I'd bought along the way. My favourites were a solid bronze Diskobolos and a mini bronze tripod. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a little shop selling things like this.

With no knowledge of websites or the first clue as to how to import from Greece to the UK, things weren't looking too good at first. Nor did I have any idea of where to find suppliers, let alone how to pay them. And my Homeric Greek wouldn't be much use...

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A bit more...

The first Greek supplier I discovered whilst trawling around Athens was Kostas Semitekolo. The little discus thrower and the tripod turned out to be two of his superb bronzes. His pieces have formed the bedrock of It's All Greek for these past two decades. Other amazing suppliers soon joined team IAG.

 

Since the launch of the website in early 2000, The USP of It's All Greek has been its unique blend of suppliers, media, textures, and styles. The product range has embraced miniatures, gift items, and interior design pieces.

From 2003, I had a succession of three shops near the British Museum, supplied the movies Troy and Alexander, museum shops including the Ashmolean and Fitzwilliam, famous bookstores Blackwells and Heffers.

 

Best of all, there have been thousands of enthusiastic and appreciative customers all over the world.

 

Since June 2018, It's All Greek has come full circle, and is, once again, exclusively online, with a much reduced stock range, mostly of smaller pieces.

 

Since 2018, I am running the website and the business on my own, flexibly, from home, in tandem with my more recently established Coaching and Mentoring business at elinorwynnelloyd.com No bubblewrap involved with this one!

I have been so lucky on this odyssey. The best Greek suppliers, many of whom have become close friends. The best colleagues as friends too, many of whom were former pupils. And of course, my customers worldwide, who still keep in touch even though they can't visit a shop! I'm so very grateful to them all.

Last year, this website eclipsed its previous incarnation. This was the fourth major overhaul since the very first one in September 2000. How much more straightforward it has been to create this one!

I am still navigating the murky depths of life after Brexit and Covid, with all their complications and implications. Inevitably, I have had to make some tough decisions about stock and the importing process, but It's All Greek continues to give pleasure and nourishment, so on I go, for now!!

I hope you enjoy your visit.

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With my parents, Dilys and Wynne, in Athens in 2003, just before opening the first shop by the British Museum. My mother died in 2005, my father in 2010. I continue to be grateful to, and inspired by them, and to cherish our shared experiences of Greece.

Athens in 2002