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A little while ago we visited the Coco-mat store in the center of Amsterdam and met with Paul Efmorfidis, the owner of Coco-mat. He greeted us with tea and a nice conversation.
At Coco-mat, everything produced seems to be made with a lot of love and high standards. What kind of materials are you using to make us fell this warmth?
Love and some secondary materials: Coconut, natural rubber, pure wool, cotton, seaweed, horsehair, linen, eucalyptus, etc..
One of the main materials is seaweed. How come you chose that?
Seaweed, thanks to the iodine that it contains, can contributed decisively in the treatment of ailments that are associated with it’s absence - are you aware that people that live far away from the sea, e.g. the northern Europeans, take the iodine that they require in pill form? Besides that, whole tons of seaweed were rotting or are rotting unexploited at the beaches of the entire country, perhaps because it’s harder to see what is right in front of your eyes. And, of course, seaweed is only one of the dozens of equally beneficial materials that surround us and ask for our attention.
From the materials you use, you don’t throw anything away. You transform them into beautifully pillows or accessories. How did you come up with this creative idea?
It came to us automatically, as a natural continuation of our work. There was no way that we wouldn’t come up with it, since anything we do has as a starting and ending point nature.
We have been told that you move around on your bike, you eat healthy and your goal is to construct mattresses out of 100% natural materials, without any metal. Would you like to share with us your thought process?
I haven’t even managed to think about ever, I just do it like I breath.
We heard beautiful stories that outside of your store, if you hear someone speaking Greek, you invite him inside for a cup of tea. Is it a myth or is true?
I like to believe that it so much true that it has now mythical proportions. It is possible, that after many years, you might hear that there was once a “crazy” guy that gave away for free whole beds to anyone that spoke Greek, not only outside of his store, but in the whole of Amsterdam - why am I saying Amsterdam, in the entire Netherlands, Europe, the globe!
Has Coco-mat as a Greek company, been affected by the crisis?
If it is unreal or arrogant to claim that it hasn't been affected or that it has only been affected positively, then I’ll say that Coco-mat has always lived, acted and thrived as if the crisis was a permanent and irreversible situation. With prudence, moderation and grounded self-confidence we went through all these years and with the same “materials” we carry on. It’s in our nature.
We found you in the store located in the center of Amsterdam. Where is your base and how come it isn't somewhere with a warmer climate?
Basically I am... un-base-able, or, better yet, my base is mobile and movable, because I myself am my base. And when I am “warm” inside (form and idea, a challenge, a vision) all my outer is warming up as well.
Can someone learn about the process of construction for you mattresses and try them out before the buy them?
Of course! Our doors, not only of our stores in places all over the world, but also of our factory in Xanthi are permanently open for anyone and everything, since there will always be one of us there by the side of anyone interested in order to introduce them to the Coco-mat way of living. As far as trials go, yes, we have predicted and applied with great success a process for that. Now in fact that we are acquiring our own private hotels it is even easier to satisfy these kind of requests. Now, if someone wants us to leave him the keys of our store in order to spend a night in it, we can talk about it...
You believe in laughter and bikes. What is your advice for the Greeks that are coming in the Netherlands with the second migration wave?
To always be “warm”, and to transmit their warmth to the Dutch - which they need it, be certain about your selves and to go back to Greece soon.
More information about Coco-mat and their products can me found at www.coco-mat.com