Meet Dimitris Kakatsios and Andromache Antoniou who launched the first Greek company to offer grooming products from natural ingredients, including a line of beard oils
While visiting the annual Greek product fair, Greek Brand New, my colleague Nadia and I were energetically approached by a woman introducing us to this brand specializing in barbers’ products. Barbatus was founded in 2015, by Dimitris Kakatsios and Andromache Antoniou. It was the first Greek company that manufactured beard oil, which is now a staple in the face care market for men. The name Barbatus means bearded one in Latin and was chosen because of the first line the company launched specifically for beards. The founders’ philosophy focuses on natural ingredients, principally olive oil.
Barbatus presents men with a plethora of options. Firstly, balms that offer extra protection against the elements for beard and skin. They also have waxes based on essential oils rather than perfume, for those who want to style their moustache, hydrating oils that help fight dry and itchy skin for a selection of skin types, which also make hair stronger, as well as a conditioner for those who find oils too heavy. Dimitris and Andromache are inspired by a product idea and then pass it on to the lab they work with to conjure it up into a real product. After testing it in selected barber shops, they perfect its formula and launch the product. Dimitris personally tries everything before they take it to market.
Τhe name Barbatus means bearded one in Latin and was chosen because of the first line the company launched specifically for beards. The founders’ philosophy focuses on natural ingredients, principally olive oil
Dimitris studied marketing at the American College of Greece and spent a few years working in advertising. The idea for Barbatus came about in 2014, when Dimitris was in charge of marketing for a cosmetics company, which gave him solid commercial insight. Andromache looks after the back office and Dimitris the sales. The combination of being unemployed with ample spare time and having a beard himself, meant Dimitris was searching for beard oils on the internet. He realised there were no Greek brands so he decided to take advantage of that gap in the market.
Initially they would tout their products from barber to barber and once they received adequate market feedback, they decided to launch their company in 2015. Dimitris told us that he really felt he’d entered the world of grooming when he first saw their final packaging of their product. One of the few women involved in a male grooming company, Andromache embraced her partnership with Dimitris because of her enthusiasm for the project.
Barbatus was launched at a time when barber shops were becoming popular in Greece. Dimitris considers barber shops a male haven, akin to sports bars, and the barbers themselves, amateur psychologists. A barber shop is not just for grooming. It’s primarily a familiar meeting spot
Barbatus was launched at a time when barber shops were becoming popular in Greece. Dimitris considers barber shops a male haven, akin to sports bars, and the barbers themselves, amateur psychologists. A barber shop is not just for grooming. It’s primarily a familiar meeting spot. Convincing customers of the need for a specific product is the biggest challenge and therefore product development still really excites him. Barbatus will soon be launching a hair product line.
A beard has historically been a sign of wisdom and valour. The Spartans would punish cowards by shaving off part of their beard and in the Bible there are references that cutting off another man’s beard was an outrage and sin.
In the Middle Ages, beards were also considered a sign of power and for Victorian men they were a symbol of male strength and authority. On the contrary, in the 18th century, beards and any sort of facial hair were only sported by rustic types, religious ascetics and old men. Now, they are extraordinarily popular in Greece.