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Homeopathy was the starting point; inspired by its 'mild yet effective approach' yet focusing solely on nature as the ultimate provider.
The advantages of natural ingredients lie not only on their efficacy but also on the unique, irreplaceable synergy between their components. Each herb constitutes of a number of components, some of which have well-known properties, while others seem inactive. However, there is a unique synergy in the way those components interact, which cannot be reproduced in the laboratory. In other words, a formulation developed on the isolated components of each herb, would not be as efficacious as in the herb's 'original form'. The laboratory is part of the equation but in the context of skin biochemistry; researching natural ways to activate specific biological paths that enable cells to prolong their healthy life cycle.
The pharmacy's homeopathic heritage is encapsulated in its extensive archive of over 3,000 herbal remedies; remedies based on natural actives that have approached and surpassed the efficacy of long-researched synthetics. Aloe, Borage, Calendula, Evening Primrose, Hamamelis, Quercetin, Wild Rose only some of nature's harvested multi-action skin beneficiaries.
Natural ingredients that are selected due to their properties and are then extracted, isolated, stabilized and tested exhaustively so as to further access their action in relation to skin needs. The homeopathic heritage provides the data, the lab provides the clinical efficacy, the formulations provide the natural alternative to conventional skin solutions.
Naxos island is the inspiration for the first ever KORRES product. The biggest and most fertile Cyclades island in the Aegean, known as the hiding place for Zeus, the God of Sky and Thunder, till he reached manhood; also known as the island Theseus abandonded princess Ariadne on, after the killing of the Minotaur.
There is an old saying in Greece.."when you smell rakokazano, winter is coming".
Rakokazano or Charani in Greek is the wood-fired kettle used to distill grapes and produce Raki, a strong alcoholic spirit, much needed during the harsh winters on the Aegean islands.
This traditional extraction process, known as Rakitzo, has been used all over the Mediterranean region for nearly 2,000 years. The KORRES rakokazano story begins in the middle of the 19th century with the great great grandfather of George Korres, Ioannis.
It was then passed on from generation to generation ending up in the hands of George's grandfather, the last to honour the family tradition of raki distilling. Eventually the rakokazano got lost only to be rediscovered by a Korres family member who still lives on the island of Naxos and arranged for it to 'travel' to Athens. Ever since its return to the family 'home' the rakokazano is on display in George's office; for George, the rakokazano tradition links back to the first KORRES product he has created, an aromatic cough-relieving syrup with honey and aniseed.
Still a best-seller after all these years, that syrup was inspired by Rakomelo, the warming concoction of Raki and Honey which George's grandfather used to make in his village, Skado of Naxos, and offering it to underage (!) George as a cold remedy in the winter days.
For George the Rakokazano also symbolizes the exemplary, eco-certified organic plant extraction that KORRES has developed; the team traveled literally across the world to assess the contemporary plant extraction 'know-how' available and
ended up designing in cooperation with the University a first-for-Greece unit combining various technologies, another testament to the brand's obsession with quality and attentiveness to the smallest of details. These strong associations have led George to depict it as a symbol, featured today on the brand's packaging.
Rakomelo / Rakitzo
It means 'Raki and Honey'; Raki distilling in Greece is called 'rakitzo'. It takes place at the end of September after the 'moustopatia', the crushing of the grapes to extract the must. 'Strofilia', the must, is then left to ferment or as the locals say 'get angry' in a stone basin for ten days. The preparation of the 'charani' the kettle, would start by breaking its seal. At the end of every 'rakitzo', the local police secured the kettle with a wax-seal, so as not to be used for unlawful alcohol production. The following year, the policeman would return to issue another permit for raki production and break last year's seal. When it was time to start the distillation, the raki makers lit up the fire and placed the boiler on the 'pyromachous', the base that kept the boiler on the fire. Then, they would place some 'marathies', fennel stalks, on the bottom of the boiler to scent the distillate. Having half-filled the boiler with 'strofilia', they fitted the lid, and sealed it shut all around, using mud and cow manure, 'svournies'. They used to fit one end of the 'moula', a metallic tube, on top of the lid, and run the other through a large narrow-end clay crock, the 'birbinitsa'. The birbinitsa was filled up with cold water to cool down the 'moula' and allow the 'strofilia' steam to turn into raki. While waiting to taste the first batch, the so called 'protoraki', the producers grilled quince fruits, an excellent raki accompaniment. Once ready the raki would be stored in large glass bottles or clay crocks and kept in the house's storeroom, the 'magatse'. It would be used to make 'rakomelo', a warming spirit-with-honey concoction that farmers and emery mine workers took to work. It was also used on bandages to dress wounds and pads for comforting abdominal discomfort.
The first KORRES product, an aromatic syrup with honey and aniseed, was inspired by 'rakomelo', a warming spirit which grandfather Giorgos Korres used to make in his village, Skado of Naxos.
The Tzivanides Pharmacy; located behind the Kallimarmaron Stadium in Athens, set up in the mid 60s as Greece's first homeopathic pharmacy. George Korres, joined the team of Mr Tzivanides in 1989 while still studying Pharmacology at the University of Athens. Though sceptical at first about homeopathy, George was soon overwhelmed by the power of natural ingredients. Driven by his own passion and deep understanding of herbs, George envisaged the development of a natural skincare line, which was realized soon after he was trusted with the management of the pharmacy, in 1992. His first step was to set up an exemplary homeopathic laboratory based on international lab standards. Led by the pharmacy heritage, his knowledge and understanding of over 3,000 herbal remedies, and his quest for a more natural approach, he started developing formulations that were first tested on his own friends.
In 1996, KORRES was born. The brand's simple philosophy
was rooted in the use of natural and / or certified organic ingredients of the
highest quality; skin- and environmentally- friendly products with clinically
tested efficacy; products that are affordable for everyday use yet of
interesting aesthetics that can 'inspire & make us happy.'
KORRES Wild Rose 24-Hour Cream, the brand's first global innovation and first ever skincare product, was launched. It went on to become a global best-seller. The Pharmacy still remains the city's biggest pharmacy of its kind with a dedicated client following while also serving as a training school for all new KORRES team members.
George & Lena Korres
George - or Giorgos - Korres, an Evangelical School graduate, went on to study at the Pharmacy School of the University of Athens. While still a student (1988), he started working at Greece's oldest homeopathic pharmacy; he eventually bought the pharmacy (1992) and within the next five years, he set-up a homeopathic-remedy- production lab. In 1996, having developed a deep understanding and knowledge of natural ingredients and their application in over 3,000 herbal remedies, he created Korres Natural Products, with a view to producing safe, clinically effective, and affordable natural skincare products of interesting design. Giorgos is involved in brand development and research in collaboration with the National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens University and various worldwide research centres. His ongoing effort is to utilize valuable, clinically efficacious, endemic Greek herbs; to do so he is cooperating with local communities, agricultural unions and organic farmers.
Lena Korres, a Chemical Engineer joined Korres in 1996. Lena, now a mother of two, was the first person to be hired at the company and played a crucial role in setting & positioning the brand literally from its birth out of Athens' first ever homeopathic pharmacy. Having held a number of strategic posts at Korres, she is currently the Brand Development Director for Korres. Working closely with the group's 50-strong R&D team, Lena is involved in the overall product development process. Her greatest 'beauty' challenge to date was the development of the Korres yoghurt skincare line which contains yoghurt in its edible form. The development of a stable cosmetic formula preserving all of'live' yoghurt's benefits was a scientific and innovative achievement as well as a global first for the cosmetics industry. Lena was recently shortlisted by the CEW's (Cosmetic Executive Women) United Kingdom Board for the Achiever Awards 2007. Wallpaper*, the internationally acclaimed design lifestyle magazine for urban modernists and global navigators alike, in its 10th anniversary issue featured Lena & George Korres as two of the world's top 40 influencers under the age of 40.
The most important moments in the Greek skincare brand's history to date; in 2011 for our 15th year anniversary our team looked into the brand's archives and put together a collection of "memories" that we wish to share with you.
George Korres, just eight years old, starts playing with ingredients and products behind his mother's pharmacy counter. He also creates his own display areas, places products on stands and joins in for the annual inventory. One afternoon he announces that when he grows up, he will make his own face creams. His mother and a Swiss cosmetic brand sales representative who happens to be at the pharmacy during the grand announcement smile.
While still a pharmacology student, George starts working at Athens' oldest homeopathic pharmacy – owned by Mr. Tzivanides -- where he first begins mixing natural pharmacy ingredients to create herbal preparations, natural remedies and, eventually, cosmetic products.
George sets up an exemplary homeopathic laboratory at the pharmacy, based on international lab standards. Led by the pharmacy heritage, his deep knowledge and understanding of over 3,000 herbal remedies, and his passion for a more natural approach, George starts developing formulas that are first tested on his own friends.
KORRES was established.
KORRES is born. The brand's simple philosophy is rooted in the use of natural and / or certified organic ingredients of the highest quality; skin- and environmentally-friendly products with clinically tested efficacy; and products that are affordable for everyday use yet of interesting aesthetics that can 'inspire & make us happy.' The first KORRES product is an aromatic herbal syrup with honey and aniseed, a recipe inspired by «rakomelon», a warming spirit-with-honey concoction, which George's grandfather used to favour in his hometown on the island of Naxos. KORRES Wild Rose 24-Hour Cream, the brand's first global innovation and first ever skincare product, is launched. It goes on to become a global best-seller.
KORRES international journey begins.
An American buyer spots KORRES products in a pharmacy while on holiday on the island of Crete and calls George Korres asking to be the first to import them to the US. KORRES products' international journey begins.
The beauty buyer for Harvey Nichols, London, spots KORRES in New York, and immediately places an order for the store's newly created Beyond Beauty section, which features niche cosmetics brands from around the world. A number of partnerships with the most prestigious department stores in Britain and France – including Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty's, Bon Marche and Galleries Lafayette – follow. Although not part of the original brand strategy, this domino effect spreads KORRES products to most parts of the world.
At the first KORRES store opening abroad, in London's Chelsea, British guests drink raki while tasting traditional delicacies made by George's mother. The opening party is disrupted when the raki boiling at the back of the store catches fire. The guests think it's a stunt and start clapping.
Inspired by the long-lived tradition of applying yoghurt to sunburned skin, KORRES Yoghurt Cooling Gel becomes the brand's second global innovation. After three years in development, KORRES Yoghurt Cooling Gel is the first cosmetic worldwide based on edible yoghurt and becomes an instant international hit, selling over 1,000 pieces per day every summer since that summer.
It is one of the brand's all-time best sellers. KORRES forges a relationship with the Mastiha Growers Association on the island of Chios, the first of many ethical cooperations with local farmers aimed at promoting precious indigenous herbs. In late 2003, George Korres is awarded the Innovation and Business Development Award by Greece's Head of State.
Two new stores open in Barcelona and KORRES goes from cult brand to breakthrough in the US market thanks to the Sephora network. In the same year, based on the NOBEL-awarded discovery of the proteasome [ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation], the KORRES Research & Development Lab, in partnership with the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the University of Athens, begins primary research on Proteasome & Human Ageing, focusing on enhancing the proteasome function with natural antioxidants.
KORRES products hit shelves in Asia, starting in Japan and China. Later in the year, KORRES COLOUR launches, bringing the brand's skincare and efficacy philosophy to a make-up line with natural active extracts. KORRES is ranked by Entrepreneurs for Growth Association as among Europe's 500 highest developing companies.
KORRES stores open in New York, Paris, Shanghai, Madrid, Vienna and Geneva while the Greek Association of Pharmacists honours George Korres for his contribution to Greek trade and business development. In March, KORRES is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange and in November, George Korres is invited to open the first-of-its-kind international Natural Beauty Summit held in Paris.