I could not be more excited at this current moment. What has got me all a fizz? Allow me a minute of your time and you too will be salivating from your wallet. Your cash notes will be leaping from your pocket purse like pop tarts from a toaster. I am of course talking about something that looks exquisite, something that has that ‘need factor’ and that, if you saw it in a shop, it might be an impulse buy and not one you would regret.
The truly amazing thing, however, is not the looks, it’s not the avant-garde approach to design, nor is it the exact engineering and thought behind personalisation, no. Neither is it the incredible price tag that has got me drooling like a dog that can see its dinner. Each one of these points alone would, under usual circumstances contribute to a purchase. So what am I talking about?
Without further fiddle-faddle I give you Pica Pau shades. You. Are. Welcome.
To first understand what the guys at Pica Pau are doing that is so cool, and why you should buy their sunnies, I have to first fire some interesting facts about the sunglasses industry in general.
There are a few global players, but undoubtedly the biggest is a company called Luxottica. They make glasses for brands you may have heard of like Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Miu Miu, DKNY, and Tory Burch to name a few.
Luxottica has a factory in Italy that has been built to be super eco-friendly, which is cool, but what you don’t see is that still over 90% of their shades come from China and are made of plastic (just so you know). Plastic is the new material to hate, the one we have to try and do without, and with good reason. With zero biodegradability the oceans and landfills are overflowing with discarded and unwanted items made from plastic, I am sure everyone gets this so I won’t go on.
With huge markups on brands to keep the business model ticking along, there is the age-old equation of a successful brand. I give you a snippet from Forbes magazine written by AJ Agrawal (an entrepreneur who helps venture backed startups and Fortune 500 companies)
“To build a brand, establish your cost high. Pricing products high inflates your worth and makes people believe that you have high-quality items. Once your logo is established and recognized, this logo provides a huge competitive advantage. Companies like Oliver Peoples, Rayban, and Chanel are able to charge so much for a simple pair of sunglasses because people are buying the brand.”
Now then, doesn’t that make you feel better about buying your preferred brand of shades? Plus, the issue of plastic in the production of most of these shades is one that we as consumers need to recognise as having a huge negative environmental impact.
Fear not… There is another way.
What Pica Pau are doing is making their shades out a new space-age material. Wood. That's right, we can use wood. The stuff that can be grown in sustainable forests. Who would have thunk it?
Its a simple, elegant solution that for some reason often gets overlooked, add to that being made by a real pair of craftsman's hands and Pica Pau's pledge that every set of glasses looks different due to the infinite variations in each piece of wood, and you find yourself with a truly unique product.
The guys behind the Portuguese based sunglasses brand Pica Pau Woodcraft (which translates to Woodpecker Woodcraft in English) are Manuel Dias da Silva, Frederico Carvalho Fernandes and Pedro Leão. Together they saw an opportunity to make a truly sustainable and unique product, one that would transition time and retain popular and new designs. Their mission to balance sustainable awareness with a product that looks stunning has been met with a reaction of global wantonness in an industry that is crying out for change.
Surely a handmade premium sustainable pair of shades is going to be expensive I thought? I could not have been more mistaken. Part of the trio's plan was to make Pica Pau accessible to all by keeping the retail price down. At last, you can get an eco-friendly sustainable product that costs less than their plastic polluting cousins. This definitely is a first for me and point worth celebrating.
For a mere 69 Euros you can pick up a pair of Tigre model Pica Pau shades (pictured above) and that includes free shipping where ever you are. The good news does not stop there. The guys are so confident in their product that if you don't like them when you get them you can exchange them for free for a different pair of shades (you pay return postage and the difference in price if there is any). It's a very nice touch, but seriously I could not imagine receiving a pair of these bad boys for 69 Euros and not being happy.
We are going to try and get our hands on a pair to give them a full review on what they feel like, how they sit on your face, stand the test of time and most importantly, I suppose, if they shade your eyes from the sun.
So the next time you have a group of friends over for a meal, and the one that's always hardcore bashing on about the environment, not killing animals and is an only eating seaweed vegan (we all have one) is doing their thing, maybe you should ask them about their pair of machine-made DKNY shades and what they are made from as you sit there with your pair of sustainably conscious handcrafted wooden Pica Pau beauties.
Look out for the full review of the Pica Pau shades coming soon to Surf Bunker. In the meantime if you want to get your hand on a pair, check the full range out here.