- For 15 years La Cajita Grow has been open in southern Spain's Chiclana de la Frontera, where it sells products and offers enthusiasts of the plant advice.
- It is the first grow shop in Spain staffed entirely by women.
- We spoke with owner Eva Domínguez to find out about its history, growing techniques, and the way it has been treated by the mostly male cannabis world.
In 2001, when there were only a few grow shops in Spain, Eva Domínguez opened La Cajita Grow in Chiclana de la Frontera (Cádiz). It all started in a 40-square-meter locale, with just her, "working hard for very little," she told Dinafem. Fifteen years later her shop, now a landmark business in the Cádiz town, covers more than 100 meters and employs two more women. She recently discovered that it is the first grow shop in Spain's cannabis world to be run and managed entirely by women.
"The first grow shops appeared in Spain, and there was one in Valencia, without seeds, which, while not a franchise, helped you get started out if you made an initial purchase," Eva told Dinafem. "I was talking to them. Then I went to a fair in Germany, and another in Holland, and then I started the grow shop. At first without seeds."
In the early days the shop, in addition to selling cannabis-related products, also offered crafts and other items. "Starting out in the centre of town, I was afraid of selling marijuana seeds. But then I heard that they had started calling me 'The Grass Shop' and I thought: 'That's it, I'm accepted.'"
She then started selling seeds, and ever since Eva's business has steadily grown, without a hitch. "I'm not complaining. I weathered the recession. The truth is that it has gone well. I don't think marijuana consumption drops during crises like that." Moreover, "in recent years it has increased, and continues to increase. The number of growers rises each year. If I had done a study ... that pyramid just goes up. Every year there are new people telling me that they are going to grow for the first time."
At La Cajita Grow Eva looks on as the cannabis world only expands. There, in addition to having good conversations with customers, and selling lots of seeds, she also does very well retailing everything related to fertilisers and substrates. Therapeutic products have also seen a big boost: they used to just collect dust on the shelves, but now there are regular customers purchasing remedies like CBD oil.
A grow shop run by women
Only women work at Cajita Grow, but, according to its owner, this was nothing intentional. When it grew, and she needed to hire more people, she looked around and ended up hiring two more women. When asked how they have been treated in the predominantly male cannabis world, Eva explains that they have never had any problems. The only thing that has repeatedly bothered her has been the kinds of images of women appearing in different marijuana publications.
"I have written the cannabis newspapers and magazines to tell them that their publications were sexist, that they seemed to be designed just for men. But the truth is that this has improved, and they have already removed them. It is always the same old story: the image of women to sell cars, tobacco, and cannabis too. That's what has always bothered me."
Regarding customers, the owner of La Cajita explains that they have had no problems with them either. Before opening she already had a reputation as a good grower amongst friends, and the word of mouth between customers has worked very well. Thus, at her store, in addition to selling products she offers lots of advice to all those who show up with questions and who are eager to discuss their growing problems and their progress. "We try to give the best possible service, the highest quality. You have to give lots of advice," she explains.
A passion for growing
Before opening the store Eva had been involved in outdoor growing for four years. With the opening of La Cajita she got into indoor growing too. The first thing she did was to set up a cabinet at her home and to experiment with this technique.
"I've employed several growing methods: using coconut, soil, wool, hydroponics ... but I prefer natural cultivation. I have a garden at home where I also grow tomatoes, peppers and other things. What I've always done with the garden, I do with marijuana: I strive for everything to be as natural as possible. Cannabis cultivation with soil and natural fertilisers."
This is also what she advises her customers to do, though she explains that indoor cultivation is more delicate, and you have to use more products.
Her favourite strain, without any doubt, is Cream Caramel. "I have tried several Dinafem strains, which I enjoyed, like OG Kush, and some rich in CBD." She has a predilection for a certain type of seed: "I like Indicas, I cannot help it."
With 15 years of experience at the helm of her grow shop, Eva is pleased to form part of a growing cannabis world, with more and more people joining in to enjoy, experience and expand the community of marijuana lovers. In Chiclana, La Cajita and its members are an important part of this.