Dorita, from Teixits Cardona: “This year I’ll be 84 years old and I’ll remain in the shop for as long as I possibly can”

Teixits Cardona is an almost century-old shop in Santa Eulària des Riu that has been listed as emblematic. This establishment is part of the history of the municipality and its owner, Salvadora Ferrer, Dorita, is a passionate lover of fabrics who treasures her experiences of the splendour of a bygone era 

Teixits Cardona is the only shop that sells fabrics in Santa Eulària des Riu, Ibiza, and has been doing so without interruption for 96 years. At the head of this emblematic shop is Salvadora Ferrer Riera, known to everyone as Dorita. Dorita will be 84 years old this year and hopes to continue behind the counter “as long as my body can take it”.

While the fabric trade is a fascinating one, it is clear to us that Dorita’s charismatic character has a lot to do with the fact that Teixits Cardona is almost a century-old establishment. When we arrived, she had already given several interviews, because just that week she had received, along with the rest of Ibiza’s emblematic shops, the badge that accredits them as such. She didn’t expect so much media attention, she explains, and perhaps she didn’t expect to hear congratulations from her customers for being “emblematic”. 

The formula for success

Dorita reveals her formula for success: “It is to work long and hard. Here we have always worked as a family, sometimes even without pay”. She does not take long to tell us how hard it is to maintain a shop like Teixits Cardona in this day and age: “Before, the shop was full of fabrics because at that time we used to sell a lot of everything: sheets, underwear or work trousers for the fields, because there was no industrial tailoring and everyone sewed themselves. But nowadays it’s very difficult, because people go to department stores and they no longer sew themselves”.

I love selling fabrics!”

Dorita’s passion for fabrics quickly leads her to also tell us about the good old days and how she has fitted in so well in the business that her father-in-law had initially opened. “I love selling fabrics!” she says emphatically, while telling us about her beginnings: “This shop belonged to my in-laws. Our family has always been from Ibiza, but for a while we were in Palma and my in-laws asked us to come and help them, so we came. Even before I got married, I was familiar with the world of fabrics. In my house we were lifelong sewers. My family included dressmakers, my uncle was a tailor and my mother was an embroiderer. I have always known fabrics and I like to sell fabrics. I have always witnessed the making of good clothes, because in the past they even made wedding dresses. I have been in this world all my life and it was easy for me to work in this trade. I knew about quality. Of course, my father-in-law knew a lot about the quality of the fabrics because he was in the trade. And well, I started learning, because I liked it”.

Teixits Cardona is a shop that exudes history in each of the elements that make it a pleasant place to visit. However, there were times when the shop was at its most splendid. Dorita tells us what the shop was like 40 and 30 years ago: “We have sold everything, sheets, bedspreads, table linen… and it was sold both by the metre and ready-made. We also had very good costume jewellery that was almost as good as fine jewellery, which came from Menorca, or belts made of crocodile, snake and lizard skin; corals, cultured pearls. You name it!”

She also acknowledges that this year, and throughout the pandemic, “it has been very costly to keep the business going, and it still is”. Dorita is pinning her hopes on the summer season “and we’ll see how it goes, because nowadays there is a lot of uncertainty,” she says, as she thinks back to times gone by: “Before, when the season came, everything used to happen in a big way”.

An emotional bond

The emotional bond is vital to keep a family business going and seems to be one of the factors why Dorita is still at the helm at almost 84 years of age. “At present, this is the only fabric shop in the municipality. Sometimes I’ve been on the verge of giving it all up and I think: for a piece of cloth, maybe a piece of lining that isn’t worth anything, people will have to go to Vila to buy it. It’s either this or they leave. Our service provides a little help because there are many shops here, but almost all of them are clothing shops or shops that sell everything. But there are no fabric shops, apart from the odd upholstery shop”.

The family tradition continues in the hands of her son Fernando, the third generation, who at a very young age saw the opportunity to do what he had always seen his mother do in the shop, when they were left without a shop assistant. “He offered to lend a hand in the afternoons and began to see that he already knew a few things, such as cutting”.

Today, Teixits Cardona has a very varied clientele that includes both Ibizans and foreigners who have chosen Santa Eulària des Riu as their permanent residence.

Dorita is optimistic about the future and hasn’t yet set a date for her final retirement: “We have to go on. If I am healthy, I can go on. For me, this is a challenge”.

Comercios Emblemáticos de las Illes Balears represents recognition of these traditional stores that contribute to the uniqueness of urban spaces and, ultimately, of municipalities. This project, promoted by the Directorate General for Trade of the Balearic Islands Government and the Institute for Business Innovation (IDI), is a tool for the promotion of emblematic shops, whose identification and exposure favours the rest of the local commercial sector.