Back in May, I wrote about Pala Sunglasses which I know it isn’t that long ago. I bet you are all thinking why am I doing another blog post on them so soon? Well, I did an interview with the founder and got him to answer some tricky questions. In case you missed the last blog post you can read it here. Pala is basically an eyewear brand with a twist. You buy a pair of Pala and you will be helping someone in need in Africa, the concept is as simple as that.
I like an eyewear brand with a story, especially when I know they are also helping others that are less fortunate. Pala sunglasses is due to launch on their own website AND on ASOS! So to celebrate this occasion I had a quick chat with Joh the founder of Pala.
I actually started with identifying a cause first. I was already aware of the global issue around the lack of eyecare access in low income countries, and when I learned of the potential economic difference you could make to a person’s life by simply giving them a pair of spectacles, I knew I had found that cause.
I was inspired by the emergence of other brands that put a social cause at the heart of their business. I liked their ethos and ethical approach to address global problems and knew that this was the foundation on which I wanted to create my own company. Creating an eyewear brand felt the natural path to take, one that would provide a clear and simple connection to the cause. It’s also where the fun (and many long nights) began!
For me it’s not about choosing Pala over a charity. Instead, we offer the ethical consumer, who may already be supporting such charities the opportunity to do even more good with a purchase they would already be making anyway. For those who are not involved with a charity, then we make it easy for them to make a difference through the simplicity of their purchase. We do the rest through thanks to our partnership with international charity Vision Aid Overseas.
We’ve got some exciting plans down the line. For the immediate future, we have designs for an aviator and preppy round style already signed off and we intend to introduce those into the collection towards the end of summer. We will continue to drop new styles regularly throughout the year as we grow our collection. Next year we have plans to collaborate with designers on small limited edition collections and we are currently assembling a list of desired talent that we wish to work with. Beyond that…lots of ideas, but we’ll wait until we’ve established ourselves first.
Our typical customer is a twenty-something fashion lover who wants a little bit more than a nice pair of frames on their face. They’re conscientious and looking ‘to do good’ when and will see Pala as a nice fit into their ideology. Given the classic, timeless nature of a number of our styles I do expect their appeal to broaden out into other age groups. Even I look good in a pair and I’m in my forties – hope for the middle-aged out there!
Well I think I’ve got two good reasons. Firstly, if you were to un-brand both our products, set them side-by-side and base selection on quality of material alone – the look, the feel, the weight, the finish – then you would be hard pushed to distinguish between the two. Whilst we are selling our sunglasses at around a third the price of your average pair of Rayban’s we aren’t compromising on quality using custom acetate and high quality CR39 lenses for all our frames. So we’re certainly far more affordable.
We go to all the major optical shows such as Silmo (Paris) and Mido (Milan) so always getting the early heads up on new styles and colours so like to think we also capture that ‘cool’ element too.
The second reason is the ‘giving piece’ and is very much a key part of our offering. By tying the sale of a pair of our sunglasses to the giving of prescription glasses in Africa you’re doing a great thing – you are helping to change lives, and it’s so simple. Even our sunglasses cases are all uniquely hand woven from recycled plastic bags by people living in low income communities in Northern Ghana. People now have jobs and are earning an income they haven’t had in years and years. Change really can happen.
I have seen and played with these sunglasses first hand so I can confirm the quality of them is as good as if not better than some of the name brands. This summer, before you buy yet another pair of sunglasses, think about buying Pala because you are basically helping someone else in doing so. In most developed countries we are fortunate and do take things like sight tests for granted.
I mean why not mix your love for fashion and do some good by simply doing a spot of shopping 😉 Check out the Pala website and ASOS to get your hands on a pair.