How did this adventure BEGIN?
Every summer ever since I could remember, I would visit my family in Greece. My Theio Iannis would let me work in his Athens store, just down the street from Parliament. I LOVED helping him, especially when I got to speak to tourists in my native English.
1984: I attended University of Illinois, majoring in Political Science. I had such a love of international culture...
1988: graduate school at University of Chicago. That year, I received a gift, a book that would change my life: Africa Adorned.
I began to study the jewels of Africa: how adornment is a language, where we say who we are without uttering a word.
1990: I joined the US Peace Corps, which helped me decide- would I work in diplomacy, or go for jewelry? I traveled all around the Balkans and former Soviet Union, gathering elements to create jewels... I had my answer.
1992: once back home, I kept teaching, which I loved... but it took me 10 years to gather the courage to leave all I knew and follow my dream.
2002: I won the prestigious Marshall Field's Distinction in Design award, which gave me the chance to show my jewels in that fabulous store. I quit my teaching job, gave birth to my second baby, and started my business all in the same month of June that year.
2022: I got to celebrate 20 years of business with 50+ darling Sophanistas in my Burr Ridge location, Feel Beautiful Gallery.
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