Behind the brand

“We need to ‘walk the talk’ of good business practice”

Pala Eyewear founder, John Pritchard, tells OT  about the brand’s cause-first approach, upcoming frame launches, and what is involved in being a B Corp

specs in hand

What is Pala Eyewear and what makes your eyewear unique?

Pala is a UK-based eyewear company inviting us all ‘to see the world better.’ Our core proposition is to offer ethical and sustainable eyewear that’s also stylish and affordable, to fund eye care projects in Africa.

We only use environmentally friendly bio-acetate supplied by either Mazzucchelli or Laes and create our frames in small batch production, working with a family-run factory in Italy (to support other small independent companies and help reduce air miles).

John Pritchard
We use our platforms to educate about environmental issues. As a B Corp business, we’re proud to be part of a growing collection of companies from all over the world seeking to use business as a force for positive environmental change – and invite our communities to join the journey too.

Our sun lenses are 39% plant resin origin, and our sunglasses cases are uniquely woven from recycled plastic waste by weaving communities in Ghana. All our packaging is plastic free and recyclable.

What is the latest collection you have introduced and why does it stand out from the crowd?

We have several new frames dropping into the evolving collection this spring. However, for us it is not about jumping on the latest fashion style, it’s more about creating timeless pieces that will endure season after season. We have a well-set collection of styles that we have refined over the years and we know connect well with our customers, but we’re always looking for opportunities to innovate too.

For example, we have a lovely new square cat’s eye arriving in April, which I am excited about. We have also thought about those customers who have a more narrow or wider face shape. Subsequently, we are introducing two new styles to be more accommodating at either end of that spectrum.

Mazzucchelli has some lovely new bio-acetates with some beautiful colour gradients in them, and we’re hoping to be one of the first brands to bring some of those more playful colours to the market.

We are part of a group of winners including brands, suppliers, and organisations, all at the forefront of pushing best practice in the fashion industry


In 2020, Pala moved production to Italy – can you talk about this decision and what this has meant for the brand?

This was an important part of our strategy as a business. I wanted to have a supplier that was closer to home so that we could work more intimately with them and build a strong partnership together. It also reduced our carbon footprint significantly.

Small batch production means we only make what we need, so we don’t waste stock and minimise our impact on the planet. The smaller minimum orders also mean we have the freedom to explore collaboration and custom opportunities – which is exciting and rewarding for both parties.

Pala sunglass cases are made from recycled plastic waste and woven by communities in Ghana

Last year, Pala received B Corporation certification. What can you tell us about Pala’s B Corp journey?

Becoming a B Corp business had been on our radar for some time. The certification felt a natural next step for Pala. Since our inception in 2016, our mission has been creating a positive impact for planet and people and the certification rewarded us for our focus on this. I also recognised that, by putting the company through the rigours of the assessment, I would learn more about the areas in which we were not doing so well – to help us be better as we grow.

morning hat
In 2021, Pala collaborated with Madeleine Olivia, a sustainability advocate and author, on a limited-edition design
The journey itself was a long one. I logged about 50 hours of work in getting the assessment to a place where I wanted it – and then there is the process itself. I think last I heard it is taking just over a year to get to certification. Once certification is achieved, it is not about kicking back and relaxing (well, maybe for a day or two), as you must re-certify every three years, so the assessment is very much ongoing and requires commitment.

Our approach to business as a force for good is trying to be the best we can across the four main assessment areas of the B Impact Assessment – namely governance, environment, community, and workers/customers. All our decisions as a business are taken within the context of how they impact across these areas. We need to ‘walk the talk’ of good business practice and be advocates within our industry to champion better solutions for the planet and people.

What does it mean for Pala to be named one of the winners of the 2022 Common Objective Leadership Award?

It’s great recognition for Pala within the industry, and on a personal level, I’m really delighted with the win. It means that we are part of a group of winners including brands, suppliers, and organisations, all at the forefront of pushing best practice in the fashion industry. It reflects the efforts of the wider team and partners around the Pala business to push the agenda for better business and innovating for a more sustainable future.

Here’s hoping we have a lovely summer, and we all get to wear our favourite frames in that beautiful, great outdoors


Are there any new products or projects in development that customers should be aware of?

It is an exciting year for us as we will be launching a blue light/optical collection in late Spring which will open new trading opportunities and add to our customer proposition.

We’re also introducing virtual try-on for the first time. After lots of research to find the right technology provider to enable this, we’ve found a brilliant small company, also based in Brighton, to help us fulfil this. We’re really excited to see how our online customers respond.

What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?

Brand partnerships are a growing area for us, so we’re looking to focus on this more – and have some exciting announcements in the space in the months to come. We have a few nice marketing ideas for this year too and are looking forward to revealing all in due course.

Of course, the impact work in Africa is a huge part of our raison d’être so we will be increasing the visibility around that and connecting people to the story and the change they are part of creating.

Pala frames
Pala’s ‘Lich’ frame in the colour ‘smoke’. Pritchard suggested clear acetate styles will continue to be popular this summer