31 Mar, 2024 @ 07:00
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the young British expat behind ‘Guiris de Mierda’ – a successful lifestyle brand in Spain which reclaims the ‘offensive’ term for foreigners

THE reasons behind Tom Hopcroft’s move to Spain would not appear out of place in the pages of a romantic novel.

“Many years ago, I moved for love. I moved for a Spanish girl”, he tells the Olive Press.

“My plan was to come to Spain, make her fall in love with me and then take her away forever, but it actually worked the opposite way around. I came here, I fell in love with Spain, and then when she was eventually ready to move on and head somewhere else, I actually wanted to stay. I’ve been here ever since and it’s changed my life”.

Swapping the melancholy of Birmingham for the bustling busyness of Madrid was, the former Leeds University student says, ‘the best decision’ of his life.

Almost a decade on, we speak as Tom is walking along the Camino de Santiago, leading a group of 20 members of his own carefully nurtured community along one of the world’s great pilgrimage routes in one of three expeditions planned this year.

Tom Hopcroft, 31, is the founder of ‘Guiris de Mierda’

Tom, now 31, is the founder of ‘Guiris de Mierda’, a successful lifestyle brand based in Spain that organises real-life experiences and events for people, with the aim of uniting the widening divide between locals and foreigners.

Just a fortnight ago, the word ‘guiri’ – used by Spaniards colloquially to describe foreigners, particularly of Northern European descent – was used in anti-tourist graffiti plastered on walls in Malaga as tensions between local residents and visitors came to the boil.

READ MORE: What does ‘guiri’ mean in Spanish and is it offensive?

Some deem the word, which more often than not is a term of endearment, to be a derogatory slur.

Tom, who has proudly embraced the phrase, labelling himself a ‘professional guiri’, hopes that the work he does with his brand can help to heal divisions and show that mass integration is something valuable and precious. 

The company has launched a clothing brand. Credit: Guiris de Mierda website

“I think most of the time there is a good relationship between tourists and locals in Spain, or at least there can be. But obviously with waves of mass tourism, and even immigration from people outside of Spain, there are always going to be some people who are rubbed up the wrong way by it”, he explains.

“We try to set a good example that not all guiris are the type that get smashed, get battered, and drink for five days straight. Some guiris want to give back to Spain, and so we are working with charities now, organising charity events and promoting the integration side of things”.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Locals in Spain give their verdict as wave of anti-tourism reaches Tenerife – after Malaga, Valencia and Palma…

He adds: “We organise events around the idea that everybody has been a guiri at some point in their lives. Especially in the modern world, people live in other countries and we feel that is something worth celebrating, so we try and bring people together”.


Day 4 – ROMPEPIERNAS ??? #guiri #caminodesantiago

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Recently, the company have made a successful venture into clothing, selling t-shirts and other accessories with the motto: ‘Embrace your inner guiri and stop taking yourself so seriously’. 

“2024 has been a great year for us so far – we have launched the clothing brand and we are having so much demand for the events so we want to do more of them and create these real-life experiences and connections between Spanish people and foreigners, and keep spreading our message”, he says.

READ MORE: ‘A tu puta casa!’: Anti-tourism arrives to Spain’s Costa del Sol with offensive stickers plastered outside Airbnbs in Malaga…

“For the rest of the year, we are walking the Camino de Santiago two more times, we have also got big plans for our speed dating events which are getting a lot of traction too. The plan is just to scale the business, scale the events, but without losing that personal touch which makes them all so special”. 

Combined with the continuation of current events, ranging from post-work cañas to networking events and running clubs, the ‘Guiris de Mierda’ brand appears destined for great success.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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