Under a blue sky, in the Chinijo Archipelago, is the island of La Graciosa, the eighth Canary Island. With just over 700 inhabitants, it is the least well known of the archipelago, and an example of the balance between nature and community.
Miguel Páez en la tienda de GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
This special place is the birthplace of Miguel Páez, one of two Miguels who established the Gracioserito project. He runs a store selling souvenirs 3.0 in Caleta de Sebo, the most populous town on the island.
Interior tienda GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Gracioserito: Souvenirs and Adventures
The establishment sells souvenirs of the island, including shirts, sweatshirts, bags, mugs, magnets, and postcards. They even rent out bicycles to explore the island. As Miguel says: “I sell souvenirs and adventures," all within a space that welcomes the visitor and showcases particular cultural and natural aspects of the island.
Miguel Cabrera en su tallerCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Miguel Cabrera is in charge of product design. He created the character of Gracioserito, a regional hat which was the seed that sparked the business. The character's adventures were brought to life through drawings, which were then developed into items to sell.
Botella de aluminio de GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
“Gracioserito is the spirit of La Graciosa, of all those who have lived here, who know its history.”
The Graciosa hat
The Graciosa hat is a completely handmade product which has become a symbol of La Graciosa. It was first made by craftswomen who would spend long hours braiding palm tree fronds to make the 26 branches needed to give it its characteristic shape.
Taza de cerámica de GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Gracioserito does not appear alone. It is joined by the grouper, representing the marine reserve; the shearwater, a bird and symbol of the national park; the old couple Bartolo and Anicasio, or a woman who has not yet been baptized.
Postal La GraciosaCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Discover the cultural heritage of La Graciosa
“The initial idea was to create a book with stories about La Graciosa, and turn it into a souvenir. Then everything came together in Gracioserito, and in the drawings that Miguel brought to life. We started out in La Graciosa in 2017 selling shirts in a little store, and in 2019 we opened our own place.”
Miguel Páez y Miguel Cabrera, GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Miguel Cabrera takes charge of the creative side, the illustrations, and also the products, the manufacturing of which they have recently taken on themselves within the business, to optimize their resources. Miguel Páez is in charge of the commercial side, and running the store in La Graciosa.
Viñeta de microplásticos en el marCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Promotion via drawings
“The illustrations are a way of promoting the culture of La Graciosa, its history, its people, and its reality. We are also interested in nature, and educating around respect for our surroundings. For example, we have a sketch that addresses the problem of microplastics.”
Viñeta de Anastasio y BartoloCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Not all the designs end up as products, so the web page serves as a repository to bring together all the sketches, and show the history and reality of the island. “We have loads of illustrations, and a lot of work that still hasn't been brought to fruition, that could be reflected in products.”
Adrián con camiseta de GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
A local project developing steadily
For its creators, there is a clear link between the business and the island of La Graciosa: “We're working on the idea of a unique souvenir linked to a concrete experience: a visit to La Graciosa. This is what differentiates our product from other products on sale online.”
Impresión camiseta GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
“Something I have learned through Gracioserito is that you can live a happy life in a small place, doing small things, without the need to be huge. We don't want to cover the whole world.” This philosophy has meant their growth has been "steady and enjoyable.”
Talega gorro gracioseroCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
“We have learned a lot about the products in the last five years. When we notice our customers like something, we ramp up production of that item. For example, the bag with the image of the Graciosa hat is one of our most successful products. That is information we didn't have when we started out.”
Exterior tienda GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
From La Graciosa to the world
“Our clientele vary depending on the time of year. In summer, there is a lot of tourism from the Canaries, and Spain, but in the first trimester more European tourists arrive. There is also a lot of day tourism; people arrive by boat in the morning and leave in the afternoon. I rent bicycles and sell souvenirs.”
Boceto GracioseritoCámaras de Comercio de Canarias
Toward something tangible
“In the future, we'd like to go back to the idea of the book, of a physical object that you can read without a battery or electric light. Actually, the book is basically done, we just have to categorize the illustrations, print them, and bind them.”