Panda bamboo sunglasses have been featured on the pages of Vogue. They have been seen on the Today Show and the American Music Awards. They have been worn by the U.S. Men's Soccer Team, Hollywood celebrities, fashion bloggers, and rock bands.
But what sets Panda sunglasses and watches apart from the competition is the company's commitment to sustainability and to giving back. Their website explains, "At Panda, we care about our environment and want to protect it for future generations! That's why we focus so strongly on sustainable materials. Our glasses are made from Mosu bamboo, one of the most renewable resources on the planet! Our watch collection features bamboo as well as recycled metals, vegan leather and Portuguese cork. All of which means a minimal impact on our beautiful Earth!"
The Panda company tag line is "Sunglasses with a vision", and this is because a portion of every customer's sunglasses purchase goes to the non-profit Optometry Giving Sight to provide eye exams, glasses, and schools of optometry to areas and people who need them. Panda's watch collection gives back to Pencils of Promise, an organization dedicated to building schools and sustainable educational programs in poor and underserved communities.
Welum caught up with Panda Director Leigh Macaulay as she traveled in Amsterdam this week to find out a little more about Panda and their commitment to the planet and its people.
1) What was the inspiration behind Panda and why the name?
Credit for starting Panda belongs to Vincent Ko and a couple of his friends. The story goes that they were standing around looking at a case of cheap plastic sunglasses one day and one of them asked, "Why do all of these look the same? We should change that." It wasn't enough for them to just create a business though, they wanted their shop to be ethical and sustainable from start to finish which made bamboo a natural choice. And from bamboo - Panda!
2) How many eye exams and glasses have been donated since the company's
Thousands! Every pair that leaves our warehouse gives back to the community. What's really cool about our partner, Optometry Giving Sight, is that they are so committed to sustainably solving the problem of the needlessly blind. We love being able to give eye exams and glasses, but we really love that they build optometry schools, and they help fund optometry centers in rural areas because those are the things that can transform an entire community.
3) Where do the designs come from? (Do you and your partner create them? Do
you have a group of designers? Do you work with freelancers?)
Our designs are our own creations. We gather inspiration from our travels and the people we meet but all design work is done in-house.
4) How many different designs or styles are produced each year?
That varies, We've released two new styles in the past two years and updated some older styles. We've got some new ones in the works for 2018 as well as some really cool special editions.
5) Where is the company going from here?
As far as our lovely customers will take us! We're going to keep focusing on our sunglasses and watch collections. We've tossed around ideas for a few other product lines but those are a ways in the future. If we're going to add a new product, we've got to make sure we do it right.
6) What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means thinking ahead. It means balancing what you need today against what kind of world you want to live in tomorrow.
All Panda products come with a 60-day money-back happiness guarantee. So do something good for your eyes and for the planet the next time you buy sunglasses, and shop WearPanda.com.