Returning to using ceramics, wood and paper found in design elements and objects within the wholesale. Their prospects are attributed to investing in quality goods
Gnomo is a Spanish concept store located in Valencia, Spain. Founded by Alvaro Zarzuela and Esther Martin, opening its doors in 2010. The store is a family run business that hopes to withstand a lifetime. Located in the neighborhood of Ruzafa in the center of Valencia, the concept store takes influence from its community and from around the globe. The store had contenders in terms of location. The couple considered Seville, in the south of Spain. «We chose Valencia because of its depth of culture. We saw a home for our project there and decided to build a concept store in Spain as they were not visible in the country at that point in time». Gnomo sells jewelry to books, plants, floors and prints. Artefacts found are curated with the passion of sourcing possessions that hold value. «We consider Gnomo to surpass the realms of a bookstore or gift shop. We search for products around the world. Majority of them are located in Valencia». The artefacts that are made and sourced in Valencia can be identified to the customer from a label that provides these details. Gnomo has made a dedication towards its customers. «Gnomo takes into consideration the experiences one can receive. One couple met whilst dancing in our store which stands as an anecdote to Gnomo». Customers enter the store with the intention of visiting the owners versus making a purchase. «Alvaro and I are dedicated to the neighborhood’s life. We want our customers to be the focal point, which is why our communication is based on this interaction».
A product Gnomo highlights is their face masks. Developing this project in the midst of the lockdown in April, to provide aid to the Red Cross, deliver the nation with items of necessity and support produce, artists and collectives from the vicinity. «We took it upon ourselves to pitch this project and create a collection of face masks made from fabric». The first collection of face masks was designed and manufactured by creatives in Valencia. The masks are safety guaranteed, made by the standard of quality required by the government. The bags they are sold in are made from corn. «Before the lockdown we were preparing for a festival in Valencia, Las Fallas, which is a business opportunity for us and our busiest time of year». The festival begins in March and runs through the month. It combines tradition, satire and art for the Valencian people. The event involves crowds of people on the street to witness the setting of fire to monuments. «When we had to close our doors, we were not sure if we were going to reopen. It was the first time Gnomo had been shut in its ten years of existence. We made the decision to continue our communication and prioritize our ability to be there for our customers and community». They trialled means of communication and presence to their customers. With no intention to sell products or make money during the pandemic, the team sought to be present and provide videos, helping boredom and tips for staying at home. «As we were not classed as ‘essential’, we did not want to put anyone at risk. We stopped selling items on our online store. One thing we have learnt in this period is that we do not depend on tourism, we have a network of people that support us».
From business returning to usual and sales eclipsing expectations, the store was made to hire a member of staff. The team at Gnomo is made up of four members, each individual has their area of expertise, and purpose. Esther Martin, deals with the financial tasks attached to the business and the online store. Alvaro Zarzuela, is the social media head and algorithm tracker. Sarah Laveda is the third employee hired at Gnomo and is a social media content generator. Adam Menchon was hired at Gnomo in 2020, who provides customer service. Gnomo has established a presence on social media. «The goal is to create a space on social media that is positive. People find social media to be negative and competitive with false narratives. At Gnomo we want to separate ourselves from this to build a means of interaction. The objective of our store is that people visit, not to buy, but to shape the way they want to build their life». The team uses WhatsApp as a means of contact to their customers. This avenue allows the team to engage in one-to-one conversations with customers that pose a query. Selling items worldwide through their online store, Gnomo treats its online shop preparation as if it were a customer in person. «We keep the website up to date and allow our online customers to have the experience our in-store customers do. We wrap to emanate a gift and attach a note to let them know how to contact us».
The design of Gnomo takes reference from the Eighties. The store was designed by Masquespacio; a consultancy specializing in branding and interior design. «Masquespacio conducts an interview with you before embarking on the project. In that interview we settled our needs and discussed our history, goals and how we wanted our vision of Gnomo to resonate in its aesthetic». The design team produced the space Gnomo has been in for six years. «When we moved, the store was black and white. We aspired to a space that had color and was minimal». Combined with floors made of granite and white walls with shades of blue and green, the geometric shapes which hang on the walls around the store can find suit to purposes. Objects in the store have been designed to be detachable. «Our selection changes. An alteration made to Gnomo after covid-19 lockdown. We adapted the store to the limitations instructed by the government. Our customers thought the store had adapted by choice and not due to limitations, which wouldn’t have been possible without our design». The store’s appearance can be adapted to create warehouse space for online orders, and host events and exhibitions. Neon signs are found within the store. Gnomo is focused on returning to using ceramics, wood and paper found in design elements and objects within the wholesale. Their prospects are attributed to investing in quality goods. The store does not take part in Black Friday because of their initiative in sustainability and purpose of not promoting shopping. They donate ten percent of sales from that day to an organization of their choice. The past two years Gnomo have donated a percentage of their sales to charities for the socially vulnerable and towards those affected by down syndrome.
There are events which take place inside of Gnomo. In their store that was made up of two-hundred square feet, the team were able to host events within the store and its theatre stage. Due to the moving of the store, the gatherings which take place at Gnomo are held at a level of constraint. Gnomo celebrated its ten-year anniversary in the summer and hosted ten parties, where ten guests each attended.IMAGE GALLERY
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