I had the pleasure of meeting with the 3 Greek Sisters recently. They are Cookbook Authors of 2 published cookbooks. We are both members with the Guelph Mompreneur’s Group. An association connecting Mom’s in the business community with chapters across Canada.
Owners of “Adelfes” – Publishing Company
Cookbook Authors – Betty, Eleni and Samantha Bakopoulos
“Three Sisters Around the Greek Table”
“Three Sisters Back to the Beginning”
HOW DID YOU GET THIS JOB?
We created our own job! The 3 of us had careers of our own before the cookbooks, one of us was still is an artist, and two are former teachers. There came a time when our lives took us in different directions. We were either at home raising children, or due to our husbands’ careers, found ourselves displaced in Ontario somewhere. During this time, we pooled our energies, combined our talents and passions and started writing down all recipes that we grew up with. We were lucky enough to grow up with wonderful home-cooked meals and our family dinner table was always the centre of our home. We knew we not only had great recipes to share but a great story that many people would relate to and perhaps be inspired by. We had all the parts required for writing a cookbook: we love writing, we are passionate about food, and Eleni is a photographer. So the adventure began. We also decided to self-publish and started our own publishing company.
Four years later, we have 2 award-winning Greek cookbooks, best-selling status and we have appeared on radio, television and in print across the Country.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
We love that there are always exciting new things happening that we never would have dreamed before writing the books. Our first book was awarded Best Foreign Cookbook by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. This meant that we would be competing on an International level, and that competition took place on Valentine’s Day in Paris, France. It couldn’t get more exciting than that! We decided to take the plunge, we all went to Paris in the winter and we took along our parents – they deserved the award just as much as us. We ended up placing 4th in the World.
This year, our newest book won Best Mediterranean Cookbook and the International awards take place in Beijing, China in May. We are hoping that we can head to the far East and be there in person.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE WORKFORCE? (Especially if they want to do what you do?)
The best advice is to talk to someone who has already walked the path. They can give you so much information on what the world of publishing is all about. We reached out to several cookbook authors, Emily Richards, Elizabeth Baird, and Greta Podleski; each women was candid and honest and their feedback was priceless.
Also, you need to realize that the world is changing, and social media plays a big role in marketing. Whether you like it or not, you will have to engage in twitter, Facebook and all the rest if you want to expand your brand and business.
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
It was a lot of hard work – writing the book was just the first part, and in many ways it is the easiest part. Marketing is a job that never ends. You always have to think of ways to let people know about your products and why it is something that every home should have.
One of the best pieces of advice we read was, “do 5 things a day for your product” – it could be a phone call to a book-store, a blog, or a Facebook post. If you keep to that each and every day, you will reap benefits.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW:
Betty: Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden
Eleni: The Orenda, Joseph Boyden
Samantha: 419, Will Ferguson
IS THERE SOMETHING IN YOUR CHILDHOOD WHICH MIGHT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER PATH TODAY?
When we were young we were very fortunate to spend our summers in Greece with our Grandparents and extended family. We jokingly referred to it as “Greek Girl Guides.” It was like travelling back in time. We made egg noodles from scratch with our Grandparents. We went crab hunting in the ancient Neda river, and had lamb on a spit in the shade of olive trees. Those memories made a very strong impression, one of food, celebration and family as the key to happiness.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT (Work Related?)
Selling over 16,000 books! In Canada, that is a huge number, especially when 4 years ago, no one knew who we were.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN YOUR WORLD – WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM AND WHY?
When it comes to food and family, make the time. Eat together. Connect with your food and each other.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE PERSON (MENTOR?)
We would all agree – our parents. They came to Canada in 1970 not knowing the language and having to work so hard to make ends meet. They were like all immigrants in the 70’s. They worked days and nights to make a better life for their kids. And they did just that.
They also gave us courage to become entrepreneurs, they have been truly supportive of us throughout the cookbook journey. In fact, they still join us at events and roll up their sleeves to wash a pot or two if needed!
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
We have a warehouse full of books! They can be purchased at Chapters, Amazon, and our website, www.3greeksisters.com