Sisters Tina and Katerina have been handmaking chocolates for 30 years. They tell Forbes Australia their secret recipe for working together successfully and how innovation keeps things sweet.
Katerina Stavropoulos and Tina Angelidis started Adora Handmade Chocolates 30 years ago. Adora means “gift” in Greek and these sisters have discovered that working together has been just that … treasured moments that they share each day, along with the hard work and new ideas that just keep on coming.
Tina: I started the business with my sister from her house to support our families. Although my sister was initially unsure about starting the business, we were able to come to an agreement on our shared goals and vision. Our passion for offering high-quality ingredients for everyday indulgence is what keeps me motivated every day.
Katerina: I was inspired to start the business by my sister’s encouragement and the prospect of working alongside her. What has been motivating me every day is the trust we have in each other, and creating something special that would also provide for our families. One of the most fulfilling aspects of running our business is the balance it offers between work and home life, as well as the flexibility of being your own boss.
Throughout our 30 years in business, we have faced numerous challenges, including a devastating fire that destroyed our premises. Building a positive company culture and finding the right staff to carry our vision forward has been an ongoing challenge. However, the COVID pandemic has undoubtedly presented the most significant challenge to date. The uncertainty of the situation made it difficult to plan effectively, and we were unsure if we would have to shut down the business entirely, which created a lot of stress and anxiety. To overcome these obstacles, we learned how to operate in survival mode and maintain a positive attitude, with prayer and that every situation has a solution. It is crucial to stay calm, be logical, and seek help when needed.
The most significant challenge we faced was the fire that destroyed our shop front, kitchen and stock just before Christmas. It made us realize that we were underinsured and responsible for so many of our staff and their families. It was a wake-up call to tidy up loose ends within the business as it transitioned from a hobby to a fully operational one. Seeking proper business advice on insurance and other matters helped us gain the skills needed to move forward. Additionally, we were heartened to see how many people in the community supported us during this challenging time, and it showed us how kind people can be in times of need.
As the business and industry continue to evolve, we have witnessed many changes. One significant development is the broader accessibility of higher quality chocolate and confectionery. Customers are also more aware and conscious of what they consume. Within our business, we have evolved significantly by streamlining our processes, implementing new systems, and adopting a more forward-thinking approach to keep up with the changing landscape.
The rise in the cost of goods, utilities, and staff has had a significant impact on businesses, with hidden costs becoming increasingly prevalent. To cut costs, many businesses have compromised on the quality of ingredients, for example. However, despite these challenges, we have continued to priorities our passion and commitment to quality. We believe that maintaining these values is essential for the long-term success of our business, even if it means absorbing some of the additional costs ourselves.
One thing that greatly contributed to my success as a businesswoman is time management. My mother instilled this value in me from a young age, requiring me to create a schedule for every hour of my day since I was 10 years old. This practice taught me how to plan my day effectively and priorities my tasks to ensure everything was completed on time.
Having grown up with parents who owned businesses, I learned valuable lessons from a young age. I was writing cheques from the age of 8, and my parents’ motivation and work ethic served as an inspiration to me. They taught me never to take anything for granted and to work hard to achieve my goals.
(The sisters answered this question about each other)
Kathy has a keen sense of style and an innate ability to enter a store and quickly knows how to make it look its best. She has intellectual curiosity. It’s underestimated because she doesn’t communicate intellectually, but she likes getting to the bottom of things and understands the people she works with and how products succeed.
Tina shows great discipline and focus, which enables her to follow through on tasks with ease. Additionally, being sisters means there is a strong level of understanding between us. Tina has tenacity that is underestimated being the younger sister and often the face of Adora. Tina is the driving force to keep going through the challenges and determined to make operational improvements. She also does not shy away from the issues, whether big or small.
Together – our sense of humors. The success of the business can in part be attributed to being able to tease each other and laugh together.
Our main goal for the next 12 months is to expand our business by opening a new store. We are also planning to celebrate 30 years in the industry and reflect on the journey that has brought us here. We want to continue building awareness of the Adora brand and increasing our online sales (www.adora.com.au). As chocolate enthusiasts, we are passionate about sharing our love for quality chocolate with our customers and the community. We believe that by staying true to our values of quality and innovation, we can continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.