Conversations + Colour: Victoria Aguirre
Based in the idyllic setting of Byron Bay, photographer Victoria Aguirre has worked hard to create a business that’s founded on supporting Argentinian artisans and keeping their handcrafts alive. Founded on art, heritage and culture, Pampa conjures travel stories and tradition with a modern twist via a collection of fair-trade homewares with heart. As co-founder, Victoria has curated an earthy, enduring and tactile edit with inherent global appeal - having worked with top hoteliers in far-flung places.
With an inherent love for horses and llamas (and donkeys!), her photography brings a sense of awe and warmth. Did we mention the llamas? We talk with Victoria about travel, entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and of course - her favourite toasted sandwich set up (spoiler: she’s a classic). If you're ready to feel inspired, Victoria will lead the way.
Victoria Aguirre, tell us who you are and what you want us to know about you. I’m a passionate woman who was born in Argentina and have been living in Australia for the last 10 years since meeting my partner Carl while travelling in Latin America. I’m a photographer and co-founder of Pampa. I love spending time with my dog Poncho at the beach as we are both obsessed with swimming. My other passion is horses - I grew up with them since I was a baby, I have three girls back at home in Argentina and I miss them all very much.
The Aries in me defines me as a woman built from fire, quite independent, strong and super focused. Brave at heart, not afraid of taking risks. I find myself in a special time with a long battle of infertility, but you know you can't have everything and I'm re-defining what success means to me and trying to find balance in my entrepreneurial life.
Where do you live and why do you love it? I live in Suffolk Park just near Byron Bay, a few blocks back from the beach. We have just finished (or very closed too) renovating our first home that we absolutely love, it’s a dream come true. We see it as an extension of our showroom with calming earthy tones, soft textures and lots of textiles. It’s a home that we feel has a lot of soul, we couldn’t help ourselves to call it Casa Pampa.
As a co-founder of Pampa can you tell us a bit about your brand? How it started, where it’s going? Pampa is a family-run business that started with a desire to connect both of our cultures, Latin American and Australian. We support skilled artisans in remote Argentina and beyond to produce homewares and accessories that are woven works of art. We produce 100% handmade products embracing fair-trade practices through our artisan partnerships. We’ve been growing since we started slowly but steadily, with pride in our slow process. We have worked on residential and commercial projects that we have never dreamt of. I feel Pampa is moving towards more of what we do because we love it so much, but with a constant evolution of our style while still paying respect to the traditional aesthetics.
What’s the best part of running your own business? Bringing your own vision to life, and in my case given our products are so connected to my heart, it makes my cup always feel full.
What’s been a highlight? Being able to improve the livelihoods of our artisan partners and take their product to unimaginable places around the world. When we started Pampa things were really different, we had never imagined we could reach the quality and deadlines required for projects we have done, for instance rugs and throws for a very high end dream hotel in Greece that I’d love to stay at one day.
Worst part? Really long days of working behind the computer and on the phone on a daily basis. The time difference between Australia and Argentina means working at hours when I should really be asleep in bed.
You have a collection of prints - llamas and donkeys - which are better in your book? I’m a huge llama fan, their unique funny look gets me every single time. They make me laugh like a child and it’s one of the highlights of visiting our artisans - hanging out with their llamas.
You’re originally from Argentina, how did you wind up in Australia (and when)? In 2011 I met Carl in the Atacama Desert, in Chile. He was nearing the end of his solo trip of a year surfing and exploring throughout all of Latin America and we instantly connected and travelled together for a bit. I showed him around Argentina and afterward we had some beach time in Brazil, then I made the big move to Australia shortly after where I have lived ever since.
What’s your approach to work-life balance? I’m not the best person to give advice on this topic, as I said I do put in a lot of hours. However, our dog Poncho is always politely reminding me to pull myself away from work even if just for 30 minutes every day. Walking in nature or having a glass of vino around the fire in the backyard with good tunes is also a favourite way for me to bring that balance back into life.
What would be your top tip for choosing pieces for your home? Find a palette, choose natural fibres and invest in pieces that could last a lifetime.
Who inspires you? Women pursuing their dreams.
Favourite toasted sandwich set up? Simple: ham, cheese, tomato and avo.
At a dinner party I am likely to be… Most probably the host.
Favourite Little Tienda piece? My Britta dress in Crisp White, it’s so comfortable. It is one of those dresses that makes you feel beautiful.
Someone you love following on Instagram? @slow_roads amongst so many others
What’s your favourite place in the world? I have a few… La Pampa and Jujuy provinces in Argentina, Byron Bay and Joshua Tree are the first ones that come to mind.
Song that always makes you want to dance? “I wanna dance with somebody” Whitney Houston, who doesn’t love Whitney?
Victoria wears the Britta dress in Crisp White throughout.
Photography by Carl Wilson.