KirIan – With Greek Oregano – Has Been Launched!

Starting a new business is not easy. So many people try to claim that it is, but every business takes a lot of effort, thought, planning, and often, overcoming unforeseen circumstances.

KirIan, a partnership between Greek resident K. Iordanou and myself has been no different, but we’ve finally got our first product ready for sale and have begun taking orders. Orders will be shipped on Tuesday following the holiday weekend, and we’re both very excited about that!

Some may find the backstory to KirIan interesting – the business was not even in the imagination when Ms Iordanou first met in person back in September of 2017. We had known each other for a very long time before the opportunity for a trip to Greece came up. While there, I was so impressed with the food and especially the oregano, that I brought back a considerable amount of the herb for personal use. My son loves oregano – he adds extra to his spaghetti and other dishes – and when he first sampled the stuff I brought back from Greece, his eyes lit up as he experienced the taste.

On a whim, I gave samples of this to friends, family and associates. The reactions were all the same, along the lines of “Wow! This is amazing oregano! Bring more back if you ever go to Greece again.”

With all the positive reaction, the ideas and then discussion about a possible business opportunity came up and for more than one reason, it was not long before I was back in Greece. The majority of the time spent there the second time was about serious discussions and meetings in regard to importing high quality culinary products from Greece, while focusing on the amazing oregano to start with.

Much oregano sampling was done, driving to meet with producers and herb merchants, and learning as much as possible about oregano in general. This meant also perusing scientific papers in journals, learning about Greek Oregano and the differences between that variety and other varieties of oregano, and learning about the trade of herbs in general. We turned up some really interesting information – did you know for example, that much of the supermarket and brand name stuff sold as oregano is not really oregano? Much of it is actually “Common Marjoram,” an herb that is related but not the same. Not only that, many of the producers in Turkey and India adulterate their oregano products, some by as much as 70%!

With this information in hand, we wanted to make sure that anyone who purchased from us, if we went ahead with the business idea, was going to get the BEST Greek Oregano possible, pure and lab tested.

And that is what we found – finally – some great oregano, lab tested, and that met the smell and taste test of oregano experts – Greeks that regularly consume the stuff on a daily basis. Remember the old “Take the Pepsi Challenge” commercials? Basically, that’s what we did – laying out samples of the oregano we had acquired and having friends and family in Greece smell, taste, and make comments on the appearance.

Next Challenges

We thought 90% of the work had been done but we were wrong. We did have a beautiful logo created that we think represents what our business is about – nothing but the best products, and brought to you with love. That is what the new business is about…. and we also wanted our packaging to reflect that as well. We had some major setbacks with packaging after being told by one packaging company that they would have samples out to us – but it took them over a month to do so. That left us scrambling and the timing was really bad, but we pressed on.

Then there were challenges with labeling of the packaging we had selected and we realized that we needed professional advice to create the right labels.

Finally in the past two weeks, everything started to come together – and it was made even more special by the fact that Ms Iordanou was visiting with me here in Canada! Pretty exciting stuff for everyone concerned and along with the great encouragement from friends and associates who had previously sampled our KirIan oregano, and were excited for the opportunity to have more of it!

So now the site has been launched but the work is still not done – orders did come in on the first day, but we’re hoping to get the word out even further about the amazing Greek Oregano that is now available in North America – 100% pure Greek Oregano, grown in Greece and packaged in Orangeville, Ontario!

Have a look and consider comparing what we have imported to what you buy in the supermarket, yourself: <A HREF=””>KirIan Oregano</a>


Canada Border Services Agents – You Are Jerks

I’ve done quite a bit of international traveling, having visited Jamaica, The Bahamas, the USA, Puerto Rico, and recently, experienced the Customs and Passport Control of several countries including the UK, Germany & Greece.

This has afforded me the experience of knowing what it is like to pass through the borders of other countries as a traveler on a Canadian passport as well as observing how others are treated while traveling on different passports as well.

Returning to Canada is generally pretty simple, relatively quick and without hassle. However, on January 21st, 2018, I got to experience first hand how someone from a foreign nation is treated by Canada’s Border Services at Pearson’s Terminal 1. And quite frankly, I am astonished at the rudeness, lack of civility, and complete lack of empathy for weary travelers and those who have difficulty with the English language.

At no time while traveling to other countries did I see the same arrogance displayed as that by Canadian Border Services agents. And the way the entire system is done, it was easy to observe that ALL the Border Service Agents display a similar rude demeanor. While there are big signs that say “Welcome To Canada,” the attitude by the Canadians that visitors first meet in this country is nothing short of being very unwelcoming.

I realize it is probably a difficult job at times to be a Canadian Border Services agent. However, just like other law enforcement occupations, it is quite likely that many of the agents make it difficult for themselves because of their haughty arrogant attitudes.

The reason I had this experience is that I was traveling to Canada in the company of my lady friend, who is Greek. I had gone to Greece two weeks earlier and my friend returned with me for a visit to Canada. I could have gone through the lineup for those carrying Canadian passports which probably would have been quicker and easier, but I did not want to leave my friend alone.

Her English is very very good, but nervousness and tiredness can cause issues in understanding when the language is not your first. Did the CBS agent take this into consideration? It did not seem so, when my friend got confused when asked if she “had a return ticket” to Greece. In her mind, a boarding pass was a “ticket” and so the question confused her as obviously you cannot check in to your flight and get a boarding pass until less than 24 hours before your flight. The CBS agent barked at her, “Well, you better have a return flight or I might not let you in,” or something to that effect. Then he asked, “Has permanent residence status been applied for?” to which my friend confused this, in the moment of travel fatigue (we had not slept other than a few moments of shuteye on the flights from time to time, for over 24 hours), with the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) that Canada requires of all non-Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents.

I was pretty disgusted and embarrassed by the lack of courtesy afforded to foreigners at the Border Services area. In addition, the lineup was horrendous compared to my experiences in other countries.

In contrast to how I have been treated by the police and passport control agents in other countries, Canada has a lot of work to do to make foreigners truly feel welcome. I have never encountered such rudeness and the egotistical attitude displayed the Canadian agents, anywhere I’ve traveled. I have always received a smile and the conversation has been friendly. Sure, I’ve been asked questions, but not in the same manner as Canada’s CBS agents ask. In addition, the lineups move much more quickly in the other countries that I’ve been in.

If you’re a Canadian Border Services Agent, stop being a jerk. Just because you can be a jerk doesn’t mean you should be. Perhaps the training is all screwed up – I do know that in my own background, I encountered training in my law enforcement role that I totally disagreed with and my own experience was that I could actually accomplish more by being civil and friendly, instead of aggressive and acting like an a**hole.

If you’re planning on visiting Canada as a foreigner, don’t expect a “welcoming feeling” at the border. And on behalf of other Canadians who would not be happy with this sort of treatment, my apologies to you for what you might have to go through.