Avarcas USA

Noelia Pahissa and Jose Fuentes

At their warehouse and apartment in San Diego, California.

Noelia and Jose moved to sunny San Diego almost seven years ago, just prior to which Jose had spent some time in Finland working as an engineer. His job eventually brought the two of them to California, and now they are both fully immersed in their new entrepreneurial project, Avarcas USA. In a typical year, the company sells over 25,000 pairs of 'avarcas', a traditional leather shoe made in Menorca. The shoe itself is an unembellished, unpretentious product that evokes a Mediterranean vision of summers by the sea.

Chatting with them is a breath of fresh air. Jose and Noelia communicate such a positive vibe, augmented by their genuine smiles; unusual qualities in the industries of fashion and design. They don’t aspire to reach unattainable business goals, nor do they search for that key investor who might propel their ‘baby’ into becoming some corporation. The business has been blessed by a following of loyal international customers, but especially by a contingent based in the Golden State itself, who have literally made their simple and happy life a reality.

It is incredible to think that just a few months back their shipping and receiving all took place in a small garage beneath their home - indeed, they operated in this fashion until the certainty of having 'all eggs in one basket' became a real proposition. Jose quit his job and everything seemed to evolve naturally from that point on. Their family has grown too with the addition of two beautiful children, and they live in the happy surroundings of Jose’s experimental artwork, Noelia’s father’s paintings, and other unique colorful artefacts of their assorted travels. The young children are able to converse in Catalan, Spanish, German and English, and one can only imagine how things will pan out in the future for this hardworking team.

CREDITS: Some pictures in this feature taken by Visi C.M.