Meet Joan González. She is the Founder of Lola De Menorca , a footwear company that sells Avarcas Sandals, which are handmade in Spain. She named her company “Lola” because it is just simple, cute and her favorite girl name. Even her 9-year-old Norfolk Terrier dog’s name is Lola and if she had another girl, she would name her Lola for sure!
She was born in Puerto Rico and during her middle school years, they moved to Florida because her dad was pursuing his medical career. She went to College and went back to Puerto Rico and there she finished her Bachelors Degree in Biology, she got married and two children. When the children became old enough and their business was self-sufficient, they came back to Tampa.
Beautiful shoes will take you to beautiful places. Indeed! Thank you, Joan, for your love for Tampa.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: When I was pregnant with my son 14 years ago, I was looking for comfortable shoes, and I found this cute closed-toe sandal that was very comfortable and easy to wear with any outfit. I kept that pair for over 12 years, in fact, I still have it but I wanted to buy other colors, so I went online and tried to order new Avarcas because the store where I bought the ones I had, had closed. So when I purchased them, the fit and the comfort I felt was totally not the same. I was disappointed and kept looking for the right one similar to the one I had bought first. We went to Spain on our summer vacation with the family and I was determined to find those shoes because I knew they were handmade on the Menorca Island. We finally found a distributor and a manufacturer. When I tried them on and I found it was the same feeling of comfort and fit, I was relieved. So I talked to my husband about bringing them to Tampa and the US in general because people would surely love them. We got back and thought about it. Every time I wear them to International Plaza, people stop me to ask where I bought them, and I started to think it was a sign that I should bring them because people are interested. We brought them and people loved them.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in North Tampa, and what do you love there?
A: My go to restaurant called Renzo’s. You can’t beat the meat quality, it’s amazing, they have great salads, the desserts are to die for. You just can’t go wrong, it’s always great quality, real ingredients and they have $10 lunch menu.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in North Tampa?
A: It’s been 5 years now. When I was in Elementary school, I studied in Puerto Rico, then we moved to Florida and I finished Middle School and High School here. I went back to Puerto Rico for College, I finished my Bachelors Degree in Biology, got married and had kids there. We came back here when my kids were old enough.
Q: Is there anyone that has had a positive impact in your life?
A: Yes and it’s my husband. Every time I doubt myself, he pushes me to always think positively.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I really wanted to go to a island so I think it’s either Santorini or Mykonos. Anything with the water is my happy place.
Q: What advice about life would you give a crowd of people?
A: Be you. Be the change that you want in the world and just don’t budge. And Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: There’s a lot of things on my bucket list. I used to run a half marathon and I never got to that marathon so I want to finish a whole marathon.
Q: What are your favorite hobbies right now?
A: I’m really into tennis right now, I love the work out, you meet a lot of people and super nice girls. Also I love to do biking around Riverwalk and Bayshore, it’s so beautiful when you can see dolphins, manatees, birds and a lot more.
Q: What is your favorite music/ bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: I love music, it keeps me relax and it is always on in my house. My first concert experience was when I was 13 years old and my dad took me to see Alana Morrissette and it was really cool.
Q: What do you do on your free time?
A: On our free time, we are non-stop going to our kid’s practices like for volleyball, football and tennis. Travel is another thing that we also enjoy doing.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I can’t watch scary movies.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Love, Security and Comfort. It’s a place where you can be yourself.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: I am not a big TV or movie watcher but I wanted someone who is funny because I somewhat like funny movies. Maybe, Tom Hanks, he seems super nice and I could be best friend with his wife.