Noelia Pahissa is the Co-founder and Creative Director of Avarcas, USA. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Jose, and their children, Aitana and Quim. In her free time she enjoys hiking, walking and sitting by the ocean.
As a child I dreamed of becoming
An interior designer — I used to rearrange my room constantly. I love working with textures and colors.
The last photo I took on my phone
I stopped the car to take a picture of a gorgeous Jacaranda tree in South Park (a great neighborhood in San Diego) on my way to work.
My guilty pleasure
Watching the sunset by myself … and my daily dose of chocolate.
One thing people might be surprised to learn about me
I was selected in a casting for a Pedro Almodóvar movie.
My favorite way to unwind
Stop what I’m doing and go watch the sunset.
My real life hero is
My husband Jose, because of his hard working mindset and determination.
What I love about my work
I love being in San Diego and seeing other people wearing Pons Avarcas. After all the hard work we’ve put into building our brand , seeing our customers wearing them brings me so much joy.
The hardest thing about my work
Separating work and home life can be difficult because our company is so integrated with our family.
How I got started with my current career
I moved from Barcelona to San Diego in 2004. People often noticed my avarcas — a traditional Spanish sandal — and I saw the demand for hand-crafted products in America. That began our partnership with Pons Avarcas, a family owned company that has specialized in artisan avarcas since 1945. We launched Avarcas USA in 2011.
I used to think success meant
Working long hours and being burnt out.
My current definition of success
The ability to create my own schedule, pick up my kids from school and volunteer.
An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
Last year I was a speaker at an event put together by San Diego Magazine and Collaborative Thread. Leading up to the event, I was terrified of speaking in front of 100 women. Once I started talking and answering questions from the audience, I felt at ease.
For me, balance means
Knowing when to turn off work, put my phone away and enjoy the little things.
My happiest moment in the past 6 months
My family and I flew to Barcelona to surprise my mom for her 70th birthday. We spent the week doing lots of activities, going out with friends and family and enjoying each other’s company. It was a short trip but one that I will remember forever.
I feel the most beautiful in my skin
After a workout outside, followed by a refreshing shower or bath.
I wish I could tell my younger self
Be patient…and keep your Levi’s!
A favorite quote
“You’re never too old to chase your dreams” and “We should never ever give up” said by Diane Nyad after she finished her 111 mile swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, FL.
The legacy I hope to leave
Pons is a third-generation family business in Spain, and I hope to grow our business the same way by passing it onto our children in the future. I would like to see Pons become an American staple, as it is in Spain, and continue to see people wear the shoes for many years to come.