Moving in the right direction: the transition from 2022 to 2023.
If like me you live in the UK, we’ve likely both spent 2022 re-emerging to the world and rebuilding a sense of ‘normality’ – but what I’ve learnt in the last year, is that ‘normal’ doesn’t really exist. And I don’t mean that negatively, it’s more an observation that we all need to learn to flow better, to take the highs and lows as they come and forget about planning quite so rigorously.
I had my first surf lesson in September just gone, and can’t help myself in using this little metaphor. Much like learning to surf, 2022 was a waiting game. It required patience, perseverance and the ability to accept help to overcome challenges, along with a deep trust in your intuition when good times appeared on the horizon to paddle hard, pop up and ride the wave all the way to the end with a grin on your face.
Basically, what I’m saying is 2022 wasn’t the easiest year. We didn’t ‘spring back’ the way everyone thought we would post-covid and the world continued to throw new emotional and physical curveballs our way. As a business, Pala felt the weight of these too – but despite all that, we’re making progress, we’re excited for what’s to come in 2023 and I hope you are too.
What we’ve achieved
Despite the challenges faced, Pala were still able to achieve so much in the last year. Though sales were not as expected, we held on to our ‘small steps, big change’ mantra and have made some incredible impact regardless.
Here are some of Pala’s brightest moments of 2022:
- Launching our Sierra Leone Campaign with Vision Action and reaching 30% of our total fundraising target.
- Being awarded Marie Claire UK’s Best Ethical Fashion Brand.
- Donating £9,000 to Vision Action UK.
- Being stocked in the B Corp month ‘Good News’ pop-up shop in central London.
- Producing a further 1,650 cases with our artisan weavers in Ghana. Diverting 173kg of waste plastic from landfill.
- Donating 90 sunglasses frames to help protect people with albinism in Zambia and Kenya.
- Signing off our first optical range… you heard that right. Keep on reading to find out more.
- Kayleigh (that’s me!) joining the team as Marketing Manager.
- Raising our retail price, which gave us a unique opportunity to be human and communicate totally transparently with our customers, bringing us closer together.
What you can expect in 2023
After a restful break and new wind in our sails, I can’t say that Team Pala are in for the same slow and steady pace for the year ahead. Let’s take a look at why it’s worth staying in touch…
Blue light and prescription lenses
If you’ve been paying attention, you will have seen we signed off our first optical range. Currently being photographed and prepped to go live on site – it’s not long until the Pala community will be able to get a pair of blue light or prescription Pala spectacles. This is going to open up a whole new way of providing accessible eyecare solutions, restoring vision and encouraging more equality across Africa.
Limited edition collaborations
Alongside this all-new product launch, we have two very exciting (but for the time being top secret) design collaborations coming in the spring and summer months. Partnering with people that inspire us and hold all important socially and environmentally responsible values. These will both be limited edition, small batch and truly unique to the core Pala collection.
Events and festivals
Team Pala will be popping up across the UK at various events and festivals throughout 2023. From Daylesford Harvest Festival to Valley Fest – we’re looking forward to meeting more community in real life and forging stronger connections than ever.
Becoming a B Corp all over again
It’s been 3 years since Pala first ‘passed the bar’ and become B Corp certified. The best thing about B Corp for customers is that this isn’t a badge for life. B Corp companies have to recertify every 3 years to qualify their claim of being better for people and better for the planet – and our time is coming.
We’re confident that we’ll recertify, and even more so that we can beat our previous score. To see how we get on stay in the loop, as I’ll be sharing our progress.
More honesty and optimism
It’s our secret sauce. We know you value it, and we value you. So we promise not to shy away from the truth, to greenwash or mistify. Expect another year of straight talk paired with a healthy dose of solution focussed thinking (that’s the optimism kicking in!)
Hopes for the future
This time next year my biggest hope is to share Pala has successfully fundraised 100% of our Sierra Leone Campaign target. Then we’d be able to start building and equipping a vision centre in the Northern Province of the country alongside our charity partner Vision Action.
It’s an ambitious dream – but not out of reach. Team Pala believe we can ‘see the world better’. But we can’t do it without the support of our community, that’s you.
So whether you need a new pair of sunglasses or specs this coming year or not – your word means the world. Share our story with friends and family, show them how fabulous you look in your existing frames, and repost Pala on social media when you see us pop up.
Every little helps. We’re just a small business, so our success doesn’t mean big bonuses for boards of directors, it means more money being invested in communities that need it most and having as light a footprint on the planet as possible.
So, here’s to a year of growth.