Making eyewear out of waste

Decreasing unemployment in South Africa by sustainable work methods

Ballo products are all designed and handmade in Cape Town. Their biggest problem in South Africa is unemployment, that's why they choose not to automate and rather to employ people to make their products. Frames move from hand to hand, process to process, being refined and checked before they are set free. Every product is surrounded by laughter and handled with love.

At Ballo they do things differently. In 2013 they 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, they realized that they wanted to try to run a business differently too. They want to put the planet before profit. They want to create employment rather than automate.

They 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 they do. They consider every material they use in the workshop - they 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. They hire and train local craftsmen instead of using automated machinery. Meaning that to produce more sunglasses, they must employ more people - thereby doing their little bit to solve their country's biggest problem - unemployment.

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

Visit the website for more info: