WHAT WE LOVE: Beautiful handmade “ecological trophies”, animal heads, and mirrors woven from bamboo, wicker, rattan and natural fibers following centuries-old traditional techniques. One of The Shopkeepers Best Madrid Shops, Javier S Medina, an artisan shop and workshop was established in 2014.
WHERE: In Madrid’s lively Malasaña neighborhood.
WHO: Extremaduran, self-taught artisan, Javier Sanchez Medina.
What makes Javier S Medina so unique? For good or bad the store is me, every single piece has been selected, restored or made by me. I adore every single thing in there.
What are Javier S Medina’s best-selling product? The natural fiber bull head trophy. It is how everything started and the most “Spanish” and iconic piece.
How are the animal heads made? Natural fibers that we braid in the Spanish traditional way (it has been done for thousands of years).
Who are your customers? Our customers are usually creative types that appreciate beauty, craft, and history.
What is the history of your shopfront? It was an old carpentry, my intention from the beginning was keeping the history and aesthetic of the old workshops in Madrid city center that I adore and unfortunately are disappearing.
How has the internet impacted your business? It has been a very positive tool that allowed me to show my pieces and creations to the world.
Have you adapted your business to the coronavirus pandemic? Since people stayed at home longer and wanted to make their houses more comfortable and beautiful, I have been lucky enough to not be affected by the pandemic and received many orders online, but of course I had to close my physical store temporarily.
Javier Sanchez Medina, shopkeeper and artisan
Who inspires you? My biggest inspiration is the old artisans that keep working, that are masters of their craft and enjoy every single thing about it. One of them would be my grandfather, I remember him working on our patio in Extremadura while I was helping and learning from him when I was a kid.
What inspires you? A lot of things, travelling, meeting and learning from other artisans in different countries, magazines, books, creative people, visiting old markets and finding old furniture that I love to restore and give a second life.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I…. wanted to be a firefighter and studied for it, but I always wanted to do something creative and artistic.
Where did you learn your craft? Since I was a little boy I was always surrounded by artisans that mastered this craft, especially my grandfather.
Your favorite thing about having an independent shop? Using all my time on something that I love and I am passionate about. Having personal contact with all my customers and people that visit my store.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Believe in your dreams, be constant, work for them, and go for it!.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? Anything related to being in touch with people and being creative.
What are your favorite local independent businesses? Fortunately, Madrid’s gastronomy is one of the best in the world and we have wonderful restaurants like la Carmencita, la Tasca de Celso y Manolo, la Vaquería Montañesa…, also my favorite coffee shop in Madrid, Cafe Angelica, formerly the oldest spice store that opened in Madrid in 1948.
What are your five favorite shops? Chees shop, Formaje; espadrille store, Antigua Casa Crespo; Craft shop, Esparteria Juan Sanchez; bookshop, Taschen Madrid; and organic food and Scandinavian design shop, itavoloverde.
I wish I could… One of my dreams would be opening a store with my aesthetic and vision in my favorite city in the world, New York, one day…
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“One thing that I have learnt and now I appreciate even more, after the pandemic, is the importance of personal and human contact with your customer. The shopping experience is totally different and the mutual feedback between you and your customer is essential.
I think that now we have to put even more effort into making our stores more beautiful and special than ever and create a unique experience for our customers. Being able to know the story of your pieces and have a conversation with the author who made it is incomparable and can never be beaten by online shopping.”
Calle Escorial 28, Madrid