We had the good fortune of connecting with Paola Incisa di Camerana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paola, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
My father was from Italy and my mother, Brazil. I was born in Rio de Janeiro (Cidade Maravilhosa = Marvelous City), while my father was posted as an Italian diplomat. The second of four sisters, I’m an Italian immigrant. My father’s job gave us the opportunity to live in Rio, London, Caracas, Buenos Aires and Rome, our home base. Living in different parts of the world taught me a lot about unique cultures and adapting to new ways of doing things. Having to learn the local languages to make friends has been a big advantage in everything I do today. When you’re fluent in 5 languages (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French and English) you become the official family interpreter! My upbringing has fueled my curiosity and passion to continue to learn and educate myself. It’s important to me to experience the local culture whenever and wherever I travel. One of my favorites things to do is go to the local farmer markets, whether at home or traveling, I love discovering the fresh local delicacies, smell the spices and herbs and get tips from the farmers, chefs and artisans for new recipes to experiment at our table. Having a childhood shaped by many different locations has gifted me the opportunity to meet many incredible people. I feel especially lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful group of family, friends and some bad ass women besties. I left Rome with my Business degree and luggage full of dreams, shoes and my favorite clothes and headed to sunny La Jolla, California. I worked in the surf industry directing international sales for Reef (a sandal and footwear brand) and after 6 years of spending more time in foreign cities than in my own town, I embarked on launching my first company. In 2000 I started a distribution company importing my very favorite swimwear from Brazil that no one could seem to find in America. I not only distributed Salinas Swimwear in America, I also oversaw the majority of the Brazilian brand’s global distribution partners. What was already a great national brand elevated into global swimwear darling. It was an exciting time personally and professionally and I got to frequently travel back to Rio de Janeiro, which I loved. In 2008 I partnered with the founder of Despi Swimwear, a start-up bikini brand (based again in Rio). From Operations to Finance to Product Design & Development, I was involved in all aspects of the business. During that time, I also got married, had two children (Lucas born in Rio de Janeiro, Chloe in La Jolla) lived between four different homes in 3 different countries and didn’t sleep nearly enough! I still remember breastfeeding my children inside our tradeshow booth’s changing rooms for the models. After ten years of 100k + miles in the air with a well-deserved 1 Million Miles luggage tags from Delta, and the success of those years I made the decision to kick off the new decade (2010) focused on my family, my friends and my community. Divesting my interests in Despi Swimwear I was able to invest in raising my two babies and quality time with my husband Chad. During this time, I kept feeding my side hustle consulting for a mix of businesses and brands in fashion, health and wellness, hospitality and swimwear. As timing would have it, with the start of this new decade I have found myself at the start of my new brand.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What started out as a personal expression has flourished into a small business. Hand crafted in California, we custom create each piece personally, right down to the engraving. Being small, we’ve had to build Dolce Amore one personal experience, and one piece of jewelry at a time. Getting to hear each person’s story: where they come from, how they found out about us and what led them to make a purchase for themselves has been an unexpected benefit that has been empowering and emotional for me. Encouragement from family and friends fuels my fire, and from there it is really up to how bad you want it and how hard you are willing to work for it. When challenges come my way (and they always do) I take a deep breath and address it head on. I’ve learned that the sooner I get it off my plate and out of my mind, the better I can handle what comes next. My advice to others is be flexible to change and open to new ideas while protecting and fighting for your vision. As for Dolce Amore, I take a lot of pride in where I’m at right here in the moment. I have recently become a member of the Female Founder Collective; a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. I hope people can appreciate Dolce Amore’s new take on an old tradition and sharing it with a new generation. Someday, I imagine my daughter will have my rings and will share in the all the adventures in life and love they have been through.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
What a fun question! Day 1: Early afternoon check in at the Inn at Moonlight Beach, an eco-friendly Boutique Hotel near Moonlight Beach Encinitas everything about this place is magical. I would have booked 2 massages and readings with Shannon Aganza, Astrologer Extraordinaire, at Four Moons Spa in Encinitas. Around 7PM my girlfriends Keri Parker, ViShakha Gigler, Shakha Gillin, Lindsy Richards, Whitnie Rasmussen, Maria Jennings, Trisha Hegg, Jessica Fryatt and Jessica Agatucci) would come over to the Inn to watch the sunset on the private deck overlooking the ocean. There would be good Whiskey for Keri and Trisha, Prosecco for ViShakha and Shakha and Lychee Martinis for the rest of us. I would have pre-ordered a delicious Summer Solstice Platter by Al Fresko Experience with extra vegetarian options for my four vegetarian ladies. Day 2: LOFTY Coffee Co: our first stop: coffee. They have best salted caramel latte, iced or hot it’s addicting. PILATES MOVEMENT on Cedros: I would have booked a private lesson for us with Cameron the owner and work on our posture and core strength. After the lesson we would walk to CHOICE JUICERY in Solana Beach on the 101 : for an amazing organic smoothie: My favorite is the Spicy Amor (it has a little kick to it.) Next a little shopping at my favorite store TUCCI BOUTIQUE on Cedros: Jessica Agatucci, the owner is a talented buyer and knows exactly what customers want and need season after season. The store is stunning beautiful. My favorite brands are A.L.C., Isabel Marant, and Smythe for fun blazers. (My signature look is Re-Done Jeans, a white or black A.L.C. bubble sleeve tee and a Blazer. Pair it with some fun golden goose sneakers during the day or one my sister’s Ingrid Incisa di Camerana (sister #1) Clara Rosa High Heels Sandals. I finish the look with my jewelry paired with a CVC stones necklace (sister #3 is Co-founder of CVC Stones). I brush my hair with my hands and spray a little Dreamhouse by Ashley Streicher wave spray to keep my beachy waves looking soft and not frizzy.) For an afternoon pick me up instead of coffee we would stop at Urban Remedy on Cedros and order 2 Chlorophyll low-glycemic lemonades. Walk on the beach 1 hour before sunset. Watch the sunset back at Inn on the deck. Dinner at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad a charming Nouvelle French Cuisine intimate restaurant. Day 3: Darshan: We would order their famous Chai Latte made from scratch and a delicious butter croissant. We would then pay the price of this indulgence with a Private Strength Training Session with Trish Vasper. We would meet her at the beach. We would enjoy the beach after the work-out and walk back by Cardiff and have a late lunch at Fish 101 in Cardiff: My favorite is the Poke bowl On our walk back we see the Fro-Yo By the Sea truck, buy a little plain frozen yogurt and say hi to Marne the owner. Last but not least a stop at the Nixon Custom Shop on Coast Hway in Encinitas, to make a custom watch right there on the spot and pick up a new travel bag and fun accessories. Time to say goodbye to my friend.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I get a lot of encouragement and love from my family. Chloe and Lucas help with the packing, shipping and sometimes social media. My husband Chad gave me the first ring that inspired the brand and challenges me to always think differently and outside the box. Jessica Agatucci, owner of Tucci Boutiques, is the one who encouraged me to take my jewelry ideas to the next level and was the first business to step up and sell Dolce Amore Rings in her stores in Solana Beach and Del Mar. Tucci is the ideal representation of what Dolce Amore is and wants to be. Jessica Fryatt , web and social media designer has been instrumental in all of her efforts, support, and knowledge in executing the vision of the business and brand. Mick Ebling, founder of Not Impossible, is a major source of inspiration to me. His work and his call to action and that has really resonated with me to commit myself to what I do and how I do it. My favorite quote from his book and presentation is “commit; then figure it out.” Keri Parker, beauty brand curator and consultant, has been a great source of inspiration, ideas, reality and dream check along the way, I value her friendship and creative business advice.
Photographer: Becca Teal Batista Model: Maya Friesen Make Up and Hair for Maya: Laura Bueno Make Up for Paola: Meagan Brown Product shots by Ryan Field