We are so excited to introduce our new brand Pala Eyewear!
This amazing inspiring brand helps people get the glasses they need to succeed by using part of the proceeds of the glasses they sell!
Headed up by a lovely man called Jim, who looks after and oversees all the weavers making sure they are treated fairly while being self-sufficient by making the unique sunglass cases that are given with every purchase of sunglasses.
Each sunglass case is uniquely handmade by traditional weavers in one of three rural communities in Bolgatanga, Upper East Ghana. They started life as plastic bags, used water sachets or recycled plastic waste and are collected washed cut into strips twisted into strands and then woven by hand.
The sunglass cases are then sold with the sunglasses that are also made from recycled material where part of the proceeds go towards grants awarded to eye care projects in Africa, funding the creation of vision centres and dispensaries.
These vision centres and dispensaries will provide new glasses to those who need them. This means for every pair of sunglasses sold one is given to a patient.
If that wasn’t amazing enough Pala Eyewear are also partners with Vision Aid Overseas and CARE4BASKET they are the epitome of a sustainable fashion brand.
We caught up with the John the founder to find out more.
How would you describe your brand and customer?
PALA is a brand founded on ethics and aesthetics. We appeal to a new generation of fashion lovers who want more than a nice pair of frames on their face. Principally, we’re about creating great quality, contemporary eyewear while placing sustainability at the heart of everything we do, whether that means how we produce our glasses, the way we conduct business or the partners we work with. Transparency is really important to us, so we aim to keep customers informed about our production and progress. But we also like to think of ourselves as playful – life doesn’t have to be taken so seriously all the time!
Our customer base is wide with a slight skew towards women. Overall however, we find that those who make sustainable purchasing decisions don’t necessarily fit a demographic, so we have quite a broad range of people buying our eyewear.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I love to collaborate with brands that share our values and ethos. One brand I really admire is Patagonia. Their storytelling is both powerful and inspiring, while their passion for delivering global change through their activism is to be warmly applauded. My dream would be for PALA to create a capsule collection for them based on their audience’s passion for adventure.
In what direction would the brand like to go in?
If you look at the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, you can broadly summarise that their aim is to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. PALA’s priorities are aligned to these goals and I want us to continue to challenge ourselves to do more in this space. Our focus (pardon the pun) is on sunglasses for now, but we will be launching a capsule range of optical frames in the UK next year. It feels a natural step for the business to take and we’re looking forward to this new challenge.
What was the idea/inspiration behind the brand?
My motivation stemmed from a desire to do something with my life that provided me with a genuine sense of purpose. Having spent the majority of my career in the corporate world, I began to feel uneasy about how comfortable my situation had become when there is so much inequality in the world when it comes to work opportunity.
Setting up Pala was my antidote to this, a chance to create a business with a social cause at its heart and with the ability to positively impact that cause. It’s given me a real sense of ‘purpose’ and I’m enjoying every moment.
What was the inspiration behind your collections?
Each year, I travel with our designers to the key optical tradeshows in Milan and Paris, where we get most of our initial inspiration for the styles and colour-ways for the following season. So, for example, next season cosmetic tones will be popular, while cat-eye shapes will be more prevalent than we’ve seen this year, so expect to see these themes filter through into our collections
Overall, I would say that our collections are classic, while clever statements in use of materials and expressive colour palettes give them a contemporary update. However, we also have a slightly rebellious streak, which reveals itself in one or two statement pieces.
What would you like your brand legacy to be?
I would like our legacy to be defined by the positive change we effect for people and communities across Africa. A pair of spectacles is a massively effective poverty-alleviating tool since it enables the wearer to read, write and work.
The funding generated by the sale of every pair of PALA glasses goes directly to our partner, Vision Aid Overseas. VAO uses these grants to develop the infrastructure and services needed to provide access to eye-tests and the empowering effect of a pair of spectacles.
Through our work with the NGO Care4basket, we are also supporting the weavers of our cases in lifting their community out of poverty. It’s very much about developing a long-term relationship with them, building trust and earning respect. We want to do more and as we grow we will look forward to working through new ideas and opportunities with them.
Ultimately, I want PALA to be known as a brand that provides great style and quality at an affordable price while making a positive impact in the world. Eyewear that looks good and does good.
What else would you like our readers to know about the founder and or brand?
Prior to PALA, my professional background was in digital marketing and advertising. My roles have largely been creative ones that take advantage of my expert ability to daydream – my teachers at school were right about that.
Outside of work, I live in Brighton and have a ten-year-old daughter and so my life is balanced between PALA and her – the two biggest passions in my life! If I ever get the luxury of downtime then you might find me pootling around with my camera or wobbling around on my paddleboard!