Hi, my name is Steve.
In 2009, my wife accepted a job as head librarian at a high school in Sevilla, Spain, so we moved from Oregon with our two children. For years, my wife had followed me in my “career”, during which I had jobs as a research analyst/writer, Director of a environmental NGO, industrial & process consultant, and finally as a small remodeling and construction company owner. In the meantime, my wife had gained more and more education and expertise in library science, and had finished a Masters degree. She was really the one with a career so she took the lead.
Arriving to Sevilla, I did not have a job nor did I have a work permit which typically takes 5 years to get in Spain. So, I had to find work and somehow base it out of the States.
One of the first things that caught my eye after arriving to Spain was the hand painted tile, ceramics and garden pots. Since I had worked in remodeling previously, I was always looking for unique and beautiful home and garden decorating ideas/solutions. I thought there had to be opportunity for exporting the products to the States, so I approached a bunch of factories and began to work as their US sales representative.
It has taken years to make a business of it but I have and now I know a lot about the industry, factories, niches, production processes, shipping and merchandising. I work with several US companies as their sourcing agent in Spain, and also I import in the US for several customers. I started up a webstore based out of Oregon where hand painted Spanish pottery is offered for sale and lest I forget, I am also selling on Amazon.com.
During these years that I have been working with hand painted Spanish pottery, I have taken a lot of pictures and videos and I have learned quite a bit. So I want to use this blog to communicate some of what I have learned and to explore new ideas and ventures. I welcome questions and comments. Thanks for your visit.
p.s. It has been some time since I updated this. Things change with time. For the last couple of years, I have begun to bottle and sell Spanish, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in the States, in addition to the Spanish pottery. After consuming and enjoying so much olive oil and garlic here in southern Spain, I decided to launch an effort to bring “the real deal” to the States. So much of the extra virgin olive oil I have tried in the States is just expensive garbage. No flavor, no bite, no body (and for sure, no health benefits). I have read many news articles about olive oil fraud. And I just read a 2017 news article that suggested that “adulterated” extra virgin olive oil is three times more lucrative than cocaine. Wow! The article references a CBS news report. The thing is that many people in the States have heard of the health benefits and flavors of extra virgin olive oil, but they do not have a trusted source. The market fosters all types of adulterating olive oil and flavoring now, making it more profitable for merchants but not the real thing. US consumers look for and buy a low cost EVOO or something is supposed to be olive oil but tastes like raspberries – and they never get turned on to the real thing. I have set out to be a trusted source for US customers. My wife, Pia and I are working together now on this project. Our brand is “GringoCool”. Our bottling and packaging are designed to bring the best quality, Spanish EVOO direct from the Spanish olive molino to your door. We sell at our webstore and on amazon.
This blog will also register stories about our efforts to educate the US public about extra virgin olive oil, and our efforts to import and sell the real deal in the States.