While working as a VP at Walmart’s incubator, Mountanos founded Kosterina on the belief that high quality olive oil is a superfood and a key component for health and longevity.
When Katerina Mountanos was VP of brand incubation at Walmart, she would often walk the store aisles in search of inspiration. One day she cruised past the olive oil section, and noticed that all the packaging seemed to fall from the same tree.
“Nothing stood out to me, all the bottles either had that ancient Greek key pattern, Greek gods, or that single olive branch,” says Mountanos, whose family hails from the Southern Greek fishing village of Koroni. When it came to ingredients, most brands sold low-quality blends of processed oils. Mountanos began distilling her own idea, and in 2016, launched Kosterina as a side-hustle while still at Walmart.
Founder Katerina “Katina” Mountanos was former cofounder of beauty startup Manicube.
The founder says Kosterina’s organic extra virgin olive oil has 8-10x more antioxidants than the average brand, and is made from 100% Koroneiki olives from southern Greece. Branding is inspired less by Greek mythology and more by the bright vistas of Mykonos and Santorini. Instead of dark olive green bottles, Mountanos went with Cycladic blues, limestone whites and hues that reflect the Aegean sea.
Her company is on a cold-pressed mission to revive the lost art and appreciation for olive oil as a superfood. According to Mountanos, a certified olive oil sommelier, olives must be harvested early while it is still rich in polyphenols. The natural antioxidant-rich compound unlocks the many health benefits associated with the food, including reduced risk of heart disease and better brain functionality. “What you find in the aisles in your supermarket is actually useless when it comes to taste and health,” she says.
Growing up, Mountanos watched her mother drizzle EVOO onto all their family dishes, as well as her face creams.
With brands like Brightland, Kyoord and Oracle also bringing premium olives and stylish packaging to the market, Mountanos aimed to differentiate her company by adding balsamic vinegars, dark chocolates and olive oil cakes to the mix. She’s now taking Kosterina beyond the food category with a new skincare line.
Greeks have a long history of stocking up on olive oil for their vanities just as much as they did for their kitchens.
Kosterina Beauty’s debut items, Extra Virgin Hydrating Face Oil and the Extra Virgin Hydrating Oil Balm, launch today. Both contain the same tasty high-antioxidant extra virgin olive oil, that also happens fights free-radical damage. It also features lachestim, a resortive oil from the sap of Mastic trees which grow only on the Greek Island of Chios; its restorative properties are known to boost collagen production in the skin.
“I’ve always been inspired by my Greek ancestors, most of whom lived to be over 90 and had the best skin and hair I’ve ever seen,” says Mountanos. “EVOO, and other Mediterranean superfoods like walnuts and honey filled with antioxidants, helped them glow from the inside out.”
The Kosterina Balm contains lachestim, an ancient remedy that has found its way into modern day skincare as an active ingredient, prized for …….