As I paused for a rare moment over the weekend to consider this year’s Christmas shopping list (smellies for Mum, bottle of whiskey for Uncle George – OK, I didn’t think about it too hard), I couldn’t help but reflect on what giving has come to mean to me.
I originally founded Pala because I wanted to create something that would give me a sense of purpose. But above and beyond that, I wanted whatever I did to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
And so Pala was born – a luxury eyewear brand that supports Vision Aid Overseas projects with every purchase. And while I’m hugely motivated by the challenge of building a business from the ground up, what I love most about Pala is how giving back has become part of our DNA.
Having visited the projects that we support in Ethiopia and Zambia and met some of the people benefitting from them, I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact that contributions like ours have on their lives.
I’ve discovered that giving is about much more than a pile of presents under a tree (though my daughter might disagree!). For me, it no longer means only giving at the obvious times, or because I’m overcome with sudden generosity. Instead, I’ve learned that it means weaving the act of giving into everything we do, every day.
It means staying focused on the end goal. The more successful the business becomes, the greater access to eye health care we can provide to those who need it. It also allows us to dream up more ways to collaborate with the weaving communities we rely on for our glasses cases. Pretty compelling reasons to show up each day, I think.
Of course, it’s not feasible for everyone to approach giving in the same way I’ve chosen to. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to support it.
Whatever makes it on to your own Christmas gift lists this year, I urge you to seek out and buy from retailers who give back in some way. Pala operates a ‘buy one, give one’ model, but many other retailers donate a percentage of sales or profits, or bring out limited edition products for Christmas that directly support charitable causes. And there are enough ethical retailers operating now, to ensure that you can draw up a far more original Christmas gift list than me.
However you choose to show your support, remember that giving’s not just for Christmas.
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Felicia is our ‘camera ninja’ when it comes to photography for the Pala website. Hailing from Sweden, but now based close to the Pala Brighton HQ. When she’s not exercising her skills of mind control to make models relax on shoots you’ll find her in a cafe enjoying a good cup of coffee, or at home baking cinnamon buns.
Emma is our marketing guru. When Emma isn’t planning, strategizing and creating content, she can be found travelling the world exploring its wonders, or in more recent times – headphones on with a paintbrush in her hand creating an abstract masterpiece!
Mary is the team leader of the Care4basket project in Bolgatanga, Ghana. When Mary is not organising and supporting the work across the communities, you will find her sowing sweet potatoes, ground nut, millet and looking after the animals on the farm.
Izzy is our Sales and Comms mastermind. When Izzy isn’t throwing herself down a mountain on a snowboard, she can normally be found rummaging through vintage shops or pounding the fields with her beloved puppy, Mac. She once mislaid a finger on a night out (eek!) – girl knows how to party!
Justin is our ‘Film Alchemist’. When he’s not laying on the floor looking for the next shot he’s either exploring the finest bourbons and listening to obscure country music tracks from the 50s and 60s. Normally found planning his next trip abroad or fuelling the pineapple on pizza debate. Just so you know he’s firmly in the Hawaiian camp!