Joanna Young has been a familiar face in the Portals Nous community for many years, running her popular gift shop Estudio 3 seemingly always with a smile on her face. As the new owner of Estudio 3 takes over next week, Joanna is preparing to work on her next dream, that of moving to Minorca.
She moved to Mallorca in the late Seventies to work as a nanny to improve her Spanish, where she met and fell in love with Toni, the man who would go on to become her husband. Joanna and her shop have been known for being great places to visit: sociable and fun for the past fifteen years, and she has helped many people choose a present for their partner with her boundless optimism and energy.
Majorca Daily Bulletin: What inspired you to open a shop in the first place?
Joanna Young: I used to spend all my money in shops like this, I am my ideal customer! But when I opened I couldn’t have been greener. All I knew was that I wanted to buy things for myself and that having a shop meant I had a good excuse.
MDB: What mistakes did you make? JY: I don’t think I made many. Quite the opposite. I couldn’t believe how natural it was. It was boomtime when I opened in 2004, the island was heaving. Within three days of opening I had hardly anything left on the shelves! It was unbelievable. I remember thinking to myself, “Why didn’t I realise this was such a good way to have a business?” But then the market started to change, we had the crash in 2008 and other things happened in this area: when second home owners weren’t able to rent out their properties for holidays you could notice a difference in sales there, as they weren’t coming as often to the island and they didn’t have guests who might visit the shop either. But overall I have been lucky, I have had a very loyal local base over the years.
MDB: But it’s been hard for business owners for the last year hasn’t it?
JY: Yes, but it’s funny, Toni and I made the decision to leave the island before all of this lockdown thing happened. That put a spanner in the works, but I must say I enjoyed last year.
MDB: But you had to fight last year...
JY: I did yes, but it made me do things that I had not thought about before and it forced me to be more creative. I´ve been very lucky that my business was allowed to open. I saw a big surge in people shopping locally, and that helped a lot. And I benefited from the Facebook groups that were created to support the community, like “Majorca Mallorca. Together”, which encouraged people to shop locally and gave me a platform where I could talk to the community.
MDB: You started to make videos of yourself showing your products. Did they work?
Y: Yes! They definitely work, I would say to anyone who has a shop, that however stupid you feel doing them, they pay off. People have the time at home now to sit and look at videos, and if they see something they like it is worth their while coming in. whereas if they don’t know what you have they may not bother to go.
MDB: So what advice would you give to someone wanting to open a shop now?
JY: I think enthusiasm gets you to a lot of places. You have to work hard, for example I have worked every fiesta in the morning. You have to live and breathe your business. But if you want to develop a social life and a standing in the local community then having a shop is a great way to achieve that.
MDB: What would you have done differently?
JY: I don’t have any regrets, although I wish I had my shop thirty five years ago! I would have loved to have gone buying abroad and gone out to places like Indonesia to source fabrics and get garments made. But that was never an option.
MDB: It is inspiring to see a business evolving in these terrible times, so well done.
JY: People can say that 2020 was the worst year of their lives, but I don’t see it like that. It made us stop and look at what is important in our lives.
MDB: So now Estudio 3 has a new owner, what’s your plan now?
JY: Toni and I have a four year plan, we want to move to Minorca where we can get more bricks for our buck. We want to buy in Mahon. We had started to find Majorca a bit too busy for us in 2019 and we realised that we wanted to live somewhere quieter. There is a lot of investment going on in Minorca with the development of boutique hotels, art galleries and nice cafes, and it’s very international. It has a very nice ambience. It’s a very well kept secret. The coast line is one of the most protected in the Mediterranean.
MDB: What would you like to say to your customers?
JY: I am going to miss them all very much, but we never say Adios, we say Hasta Luego. I will still be in the village for quite a while, and I wish the new owner of Estudio 3 all the luck in the world. I hope that she will have as much fun and laughter as I have had here.