Interview with Varsakis Panagiotis at Jewel Time.
"The only way to recover and return to growth is to change the way we all think." Panagiotis Varsakis has been at the helm of the "Varsakis" company for a few years now. The young man of his age, the only obstacle can not stand, since he has a mature mind, a specific strategy and most importantly, he knows what he wants. The discussion with him proves that there is a future in the Greek jewelry industry. Interview with Tassos Spanoudis JT: Panagiotis, as far as I know, you have been involved in the family business since a young age. What is the reason that made you the protagonist of the company today? As you mention in your question, my involvement with my father's business from a young age played a primary role, but it came from my love for jewelry and not from some kind of pressure from my family. On the contrary, I was free to do anything that filled me and I wanted. And surely my career so far in the industry would not have taken place without the support, guidance and trust of my father.
There are several Greek workshops whose constructions not only do not have to envy any of the imported jewelry but exceed them
JT: Knowing the "Varsakis" company, one's mind goes to the crosses, is this still true now? The cross was and is one of the "strong papers" of our company. However, in the last decade, the investments we have made have enabled us to produce all kinds of jewelry, without this meaning that there are discounts on quality. The beginning was made with children's jewelry and then large varieties of fashion and classic women's jewelry were added. And of course we continue to constantly enrich our range. JT: Are the products made entirely in your laboratory or part of them? All production from the conception of an idea and the design, until the completion of the production of the jewelry takes place within our laboratory. In this way, the authenticity and quality of our products are ensured. The only exception is the chain, which we use for our collections, but which is also made in Greece.
The market has shown that it does not forgive "paratroopers" who want ephemeral success and profit
JT: So you have all the necessary mechanical equipment and the corresponding human resources required? In terms of mechanical equipment, through the continuous investments we make, we have what the world industry has to show. Regarding the human resources, in recent years our laboratory has been staffed with young children, who with the appropriate education and guidance both at the technical and spiritual level, contribute the most to the achievement of our goals.
JT: Is this something your customers value? In other words, do you think that the investments you have made take place or, in the end, in an economic environment that our country is experiencing, are not worth it? Definitely any investment made, either in human resources or in mechanical equipment, is worth it. From there on, it is up to each craftsman to make the most of these investments and in combination with other moves to be able to stand out and progress in his environment, despite any adversity. And there is no doubt that all of the above are rewarded and appreciated by market professionals. This is something that our customers verify to us every day. JT: What is your opinion about the Greek manufacturers that have remained in the industry? In order to survive in today's environment requires - among other things - a lot of good organization, emphasis on quality and frequent renewal of collections. Therefore, those who have remained in the industry, I believe that they do all the above well, are properly set up and deserve to be where they are. After all, the market has shown that it does not forgive "paratroopers" who want ephemeral success and profit. At this point I would like to emphasize that there are several Greek workshops whose constructions not only do not have to envy any of the imported jewelry but surpass them in both design and quality. This in combination with various other advantages they offer, such as the immediacy in delivery time and the custom constructions and modifications of the already existing designs, overcome the small price difference that is observed between them. This is something that stores should realize and support Greek companies and consequently the Greek economy. JT: A person like you can not help but try to see "tomorrow" by trying to make plans for it. Could you tell us about your next moves? The first goal is to participate in international exhibitions. This in itself is something easy to do. In our case, however, due to philosophy and mentality as a business, it presupposes a series of actions that will highlight the whole project. These actions will be completed soon. At the same time, the goal is to penetrate markets with a different object. As I mentioned before, our company has state-of-the-art mechanical equipment, which we will take advantage of and offer innovative products of unparalleled quality. You will see more about this in the market soon. JT: How do you see the current market picture? And let me take it for granted that you will not tell me the most positive things about it and I want to know if you think there is a way to improve and recover? The picture of today's market is that my generation at least has experienced the worst. I believe that this situation is a consequence of a mentality and attitudes that have their roots decades ago. So this is a problem first of all social and consequently economic. That is why I believe that the only way to recover and return to development is to change the way of thinking of all of us and especially of young people. JT: What is your opinion on overseas markets? Should Greek goldsmiths aim there? Do you think that might be a solution? Certainly foreign markets are a way out of the domestic situation. They may not be able to offer what they could a few years earlier, due to a general recession in the Eurozone, but they can undoubtedly help boost sales. Unfortunately, in terms of exports, we are significantly behind other countries due to the lack of state aid and due to the endless bureaucracy that any of our projects face. JT: And finally you would encourage young people to take up the profession of silversmithing and why? Undoubtedly yes. This is because silver and goldsmithing is a creative and imaginative profession that combines the virtues of many other disciplines. There is no greater joy and satisfaction, for me at least, in seeing people wearing jewelry whose existence was once just a thought in my mind. Especially when they know the creator and congratulate him for it.