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KYRIAKOS VOULGARAKIS (1914 - 2007)
Kyriakos Voulgarakis was born in 1914 in Ephesus, Turkey (then called Asia Minor). He grew up in Izmir (then Smyrna) with his mother YIOULA (nickname for Georgia) and two younger siblings Yiannis and Anna.
During the destruction of Smyrna in 1922, the family –along with numerous other Greek families- relocated to Greece. Kyriakos at the tender age of 8 undertook the responsibility of taking care of this family; to support them financially he performed a number of different jobs, anything he could find. This responsibility deprived him of the chance to pursue and continue his studies to the level he had wished.
When he was 11, he found employment at Christos Argyropoulos’ Glass Factory in Pireaus; the factory was a sizeable –for its time- one, employing 1250 people (of which 250 were children). It was at this job that Kyriakos was introduced to the art of glass making, and decided to pursue it for the rest of his life…He loved the job so much, he decided to work on Sundays, too, even though the rest of his week comprised of 15 working hours a day!
The repeated bombings of Pireaus (the port of the city of Athens) during World War II, totally destroyed the factory, leaving its 2500 workers jobless. Of them, 49 –including Kyriakos Voulgarakis- decided to each open up their own glass-producing factory.
Kyriakos and Yiannis decided to establish the company in 1947, giving it their mother’s name: YIOULA. Its principal activity was the manufacturing of hand-made glass tableware products. The main components of its structure were Kyriakos’ traditional “artistry” of glass-making, and a small furnace. Its first “home” was the premises of a small rug factory in Nikaia.
Initial glass production was a mere 300 kilos a day; Soon, Kyriakos discovered his way to beat the competitors, by introducing a coloring ingredient to his products that gave them a striking deep-rose color.
Finances presented a critical problem to the survival of the company; running a glass-making business involved an exorbitant expense level. As an interim solution to the problem, the Voulgarakis brothers decided to make small glass jugs; fortunately, the jugs turned out to be a big success as their high demand helped set-off soaring expenses. Profits started rolling in. Soon after, miniature bottles and cupping glass were included in the production, further ameliorating Yioula’s financial position and future progress.
In 1950 the business was transferred to Aegaleo, to a new piece of property Kyriakos bought on Oryzomylon Street, the very same premises the current factory is laid upon. It is said that the development of the nearby area started because of Yioula: the workers wanted to build their residences near their workplace, to avoid extensive transport time and cost.
Since then a lot has changed, and Yioula Glassworks has evolved from a small family business to a multinational group of Companies, one of the major glass makers of the European continent.

Date : 02.05.2007


 
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