Pala Eyewear to close in September
The B Corp brand, which supported eye care projects across Africa, cited market pressures, inflation and the costs of living as reasons behind the closure, but plans to “go out on a high”
04 August 2023
Pala Eyewear, an independent sustainability-focused eyewear brand, has announced its intention to close in September.
In a statement the founder of Pala Eyewear, John Pritchard, said the brand had decided to “bring this chapter to a close,” citing market pressures, soaring inflation and the cost of living.
Pala launched in 2016, with a mission to create and sell ethical and sustainable eyewear to fund eye care projects across Africa.
The company has since supported more than 80,000 individuals to receive accessible and affordable eye care, and it received B Corp certification in 2021.
“There has been sustained market pressure that is impacting independent and genuinely ethical businesses in particular,” Pritchard shared. “The big players, with seemingly bottomless bank accounts, are able to monopolise the market and push half-hearted, greenwashed solutions to the challenges we’re facing as a planet and society today. It has been near impossible to compete as inflation soared and the cost of living set in.”
He explained that the Pala brand was created from a commitment to sustainability and ethical practice, and that “every decision was made with the intention to minimise our environmental impact and maximise our (positive) social impact.”
“But that is much harder to fly in a system that values growth and profit at all costs,” he said.
Pritchard also explained that Pala’s core team is made up of “just two, incredibly passionate but equally exhausted people,” adding that “it’s time to rest and reset to have the energy to keep fighting for what matters.”
Core to the work of the brand was a partnership with Vision Action (formerly Vision Aid Overseas) to support the funding of vision centres.
These community vision centres will keep running “and sustain communities for generations to come,” Pritchard said, calling this “something to be tremendously proud of”
The brand encouraged customers to continue supporting the charities that Pala was in partnership with.
Pala had been working to support the building of a new eye care service in Sierra Leone, and Pritchard emphasised that Vision Action can be supported directly through its website to “make sure Tonkolili get their vision centre.”
“Remember, Sierra Leone has just five qualified optometrists serving a country of almost eight million. Therein lies the scale of the problem,” he highlighted.
Pala also partnered with the non-governmental organisation, Care4Basket, to hire weavers in upper east Ghana to create glasses cases out of recycled plastics for a fair living wage.
This case making has been particularly important for communities affected by climate change, in the form of drought that has impacted farming yields, Pritchard said.
Pala has launched a closing sale before the brand shuts its doors on 24 September.
“This is key to ensure we pay all our supply chain, freelancers, and in particular, Vision Action, fairly,” Pritchard said.
To reflect and celebrate the brand, Pala has asked customers to share their stories and pictures with their frames, either on Instagram or via email.
Read the full statement on the Pala website.