SISTERS BY DESIGN
They met by accident but since then everything’s gone to plan
YIOTA KOUZOUKAS, 28 MANAGING DIRECTOR, COORPAROO
Thessy and I met at a party through a mutual friend in the Greek community. I was in Grade 11 at Brisbane State High and Thessy was in Grade 10 at Somerville House (both schools are in the city’s inner south). We hit it off straightaway.
From our first meeting, we planned a shopping expedition a week later and we found a mutual bond from shopping.
We’d meet up on Friday afternoons after school and go to the city to shop together. It got to the stage where we had a lot of clothes and in 2010 we started a fashion blog showing different outfits and where we bought them.
It took off and from there we launched our online store in 2011, our own label (Sabo Skirt) at the start of 2012 and we now have a social media following on Instagram and Facebook of about 2 million people.
Last September we launched our new label Sabo Luxe at New York Fashion Week, and we are showcasing another collection there again this year.
We both have Bachelor of Business degrees from Griffith University.
People always assume we are sisters. I have two sisters but I love Thessy like a sister too. Thessy and I already felt like family before George and I got together.
Socially, we have extremely similar personalities but at work we are different, which is actually why our business relationship has managed to do so well. We complement each other.
At work I’m very focused and fast-paced while Thessy is more relaxed. She manages to relax me and calm me down and I push her when we need pushing. We are always really honest with each other and we’ve never had any disagreements.
Outside of work, we are together pretty much every weekend and we have family dinners once a week. Our friendship has brought our families together and our parents have also become friends.
We are all so happy together. Over the years, our friendship has only strengthened. We still have the same instant bond we had in our very first conversation.
THESSY KOUZOUKAS, 26 CREATIVE DIRECTOR, MT GRAVATT
Yiota and I were best friends before we became sisters-in-law, which is usually the opposite of what everyone assumes.
We met at a birthday party when I was 15 and Yiota was 16. I encouraged a relationship between Yiota and my brother George (now 30) and they have been together 10 years and married for two.
I knew it would be perfect if they got together. My brother and I have a close relationship, so it was my ideal situation.
It was a win for me because I got the best sister-in-law ever. Yiota is such a nice human being with a pure heart. I don’t have a sister but I can say without doubt that we’re as close as sisters.
As soon as I met her I knew we had a connection, which was honestly a bit weird. We feel we are soulmates. She has the same personality as me, our senses of humour and morals are the same and that’s why our business (fashion label Sabo Skirt) works so well also.
We have 14 employees in our office and it’s full of family, including George, Yiota’s two sisters (Rosie, 26, and Bik, 24) and her dad (Kosta Karalouka, 58). We’ve created this business that our families have come into.
Working together is seamless. Yiota and I have never had a fight. If something is bothering us or not sitting well, we just talk about it. It’s a conversation, not a fight. We all have each other’s interest at heart.
In our working environment, Yiota is different to me. I’m very calm and collected and if something is not going my way, I take it on board but I don’t let it stress me. Yiota will take things to heart but I’m there to pick her up.
Yiota and I bonded over shopping and we still do. We’re best friends and we go on shopping trips and we wear our clothes (label). In the future, I can see our style evolving together and I picture us growing older with big families. I expect our kids and our families will be very close.
Best friends and sisters-in-law Thessy Kouzoukas ( left) and Yiota Kouzoukas, who co-own fashion label Sabo Skirt. Picture: Russell Shakespeare