Vasiliki Theodorou founded MISS POLYPLEXI three short years ago and her 100% handmade in Greece creations are already coveted by celebrities such as Eleni Menegaki, Vaso Laskaraki, Maria Iliaki, Apostolia Zoi, Baya Antonopoulou; as well as Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding stardom, Lenka Josefiova aka @thetravellingbeautyqueen, Best Travel Blogger 2019 and Erika Santos @erikasantos, World Blogger of the Year.
As a little girl, designer and founder of MISS POLYPLEXI, Vasiliki Theodorou crocheted clothes for her dolls, before progressing to hand-crotcheting jewelry for relatives and her own clothes.
Her decision to crochet her first handbag was the beginning of everything.
Prior to founding MISS POLYPLEXI, it never occurred to the 36 year old entrepreneur that starting her own business could be a possibility.
Her parents worked in the public sector so there was no family business to inherit, therefore no preparation nor mindset to run her own business.
However, with endless aspiration, passion and accumulated work experience a seed planted in her mind and began to grow.
“The realisation that my handmade handbags are loved among women who are more or less like me really filled me with excitement and a longing to make my dream a reality,” explains Vasiliki.
Unfortunately, Vasilki did not have any contacts in the retail or manufacturing industries to ask for advice when starting out.
“I wish I had as things would be easier, I guess, and less painful,” she says.
“However,” she says, “ as we say in Greece the ‘trip to Ithaka’ is more delightful than Ithaka is itself.”
This sentiment is based on the Greek poem by Constantine Cavafy reminding us of the legendary hero Odysseus and his epic journey home to his island ‘Ithaka’.
The journey is often more important than the destination so we must enjoy the trip.
Hand-crocheting has been very popular in Greece historically, however is no longer as commonplace, as is the case with all types of handcrafted work.
Vasiliki’s mother, grand-mother and aunties would crochet mainly household pieces mostly created for their daughters’ dowry. They would make tablecloths, doilies, blankets, and general linen items.
“The stand-out piece that ignited my passion in crocheting was a huge snow-white cover that my mum made for me as a dowry piece for my king size bed after I married my ‘prince’ as she used to tell me.
“Words are not enough to describe this masterpiece! It must have taken her months to make it!”
Not surprisingly then, Vasiliki’s talented and crafty mum was the person to teach her how to crochet the beautiful handbags, sandals, belts and accessories that can be found today on the www.misspolyplexi.com website.
“My absolute admiration of her patience, her craftsmanship and her love for crocheting triggered my passion to also learn how to crochet,” says Vasiliki.
When I realized her name could be the synthesis of the two Greek words POLY’ (meaning ‘a lot’) + ‘PLEXI’ (meaning ‘crochet’) – a twist on her actual name ‘Polyxeni’ – I was so delighted and decided to dedicate the business name to her!
“Mum was so touched when I announced the name to her that she was almost in tears. She was grateful for the gift I gave her and very proud to see me starting my own business based on the traditional art of crocheting that she taught me.”
Intent with keeping the personalised touch that has been the heart and soul of her business, Vasiliki continues to design each and every one of her handbags personally.
“When I design my handbags, I have butterflies in the stomach. I bet we all remember that intense feeling when we fell in love for the first time. This is it!” she enthuses.
“I love the design process because it is the most creative part for me. I am so thrilled when I conceptualize an idea of a bag design that I cannot wait to put it down on paper and start bringing it to life.
“I design my handbags with so much passion and hand crochet them with so much love and care that I want women holding a MISS POLYPLEXIhandbag to feel all of this!”
“I create every design with the dynamic women of the modern world in my mind.
“I design for women who appreciate distinctive craftsmanship, originality and uniqueness. MISS POLYPLEXIhandbags are on the one hand for women who dare to be different, unique and are not afraid to express it! And on the other hand, they are also for those women who are sensitive, delicate, eternal dreamers and travellers of the world like me.”
Finding inspiration for new designs is never a problem for Vasiliki.
“Inspiration is everywhere for me. I know this may sound cliche, but it’s true.
“Walking in the street, meeting people, speaking with friends, enjoying dinner at restaurant can be inspiring,” she says. “A word, an image, a movie can spark an idea which may be transformed into a bag design.”
“I admit though that lately travelling has been a treasure trove of inspiration.
I like travelling a lot and usually try to discover a new place every two months – either within Greece or abroad. Whenever I visit a new place I make sure to return with ideas and materials for new bag designs.
“I also have suppliers in Greece from whom I buy exclusive materials reserved for certain MISS POLYPLEXI designs.”
Not herself immune to the beauty of her own creations, at any one time Vasiliki has a favourite close to her heart. At this moment her favourite handbag is the ‘Sylvia Ice Grey Tote Bag’, pictured below.
“It must have taken me more than 36 hours to make this bag, leaving aside the design and the pattern making process. I think it was among the most difficult designs to make so far as it required very detailed and meticulous work.
“I love it. For me it is a piece of art, made both of high-quality yarn and genuine calf leather that blend together so harmoniously.
“I personally like spacious bags, and this is definitely very practical to carry around fitting all the daily essentials. It is a timeless piece that can become every woman’s luxe companion. I cannot stop carrying it around.”
So where do we find these timeless beauties?
“I mainly sell via the e-shop www.misspolyplexi.com, but I also have selective distribution via stockists that are based in two of the most beautiful islands in Greece, Mykonos & Santorini as well as two great collaborations outside of Greece, in Australia and Israel.
“Soon, we will be glad to announce more stockists in other parts of the world. Stay tuned!”
Shop the full range of MISS POLYPLEXI: misspolyplexi.com
Other Online Stockists:
Australia: Santo + Rini
Israel: Atelier Talia Sol