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We received this email from Alistair Barnes, founder of eyewear brand Ballo, that made us happy and hopeful, so we thought we would share it:

“Dear Lisa,

Nice to meet you. I started Ballo in 2013 in Cape Town. We make high quality sunglasses from waste and export them all over the world.

At Ballo we do things differently. In 2013 we joined the circular economy making unisex sunglasses by hand from recycled and upcycled materials and in 2016 started making other goods from sustainable fabrics.

As the business has grown, I realized that we wanted to try to run a business differently too. I want to put the planet before profit. I want to create employment rather than automate.

I find looking at traditional business structures frustrating. Inefficiency seems to be championed and profit maximization is always the goal, with waste as a mere byproduct of ‘success’. Seeing things differently is a challenge, but one that is at the core of everything I do. I consider every material I use in the workshop –  I see offcuts from surrounding businesses (wood, fabric, cork, recycled paper) as an opportunity to intercept prior to going to landfill and upcycle these into a world class product. I hire and train local craftsmen instead of using automated machinery. Meaning that to produce more sunglasses, I must employ more people- thereby doing my little bit to solve our country’s biggest problem – unemployment.

At Ballo we view waste differently and put the planet before profit.

Thanks for reading. Please have a look at our website and get in touch if you have any further questions.

Best,
Alistair”

Follow Ballo here.


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