S’porean Eyewear Brand Lets You See The Reality Of Local Animal Shelters Through New Lens

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I am pretty sure we are all familiar with the global powerhouses of the sunglasses industry such as Ray-Ban and Warby Parker.

Have you heard that there is a new local eyewear brand in town?

Layla Luna is an up and coming local eyewear brand that launched in March 2019 and is slowly making waves in Singapore. Why is that, you may ask?

They kill two birds with one stone – giving you fashionably functional shades that help animals in our local animal shelters with every purchase.

Layla Luna Founder, Joie Tan and Friends
Layla Luna

If you were wondering why ‘Layla Luna’ has some sort of celestial ring to it, that is because it actually does.

The brand is named after Joie’s insanely adorable Maltipoo, Layla; while Luna means ‘moon’ – and there you have it.

Joie’s adorable maltipoo, Layla

Meet Joie 

If you do not already know Joie Tan, then you are surely missing out. Joie is a Singaporean singer-songwriter who is well-known for her melodic vocals and heart-wrenching lyrics.

Singer-songwriter, Joie Tan
Source: The Straits Times

Since starting her own YouTube channel in 2010, she has gained a strong following by serenading her viewers with acoustic covers and originals. Joie

eventually decided to pursue music full-time at LASALLE College of the Arts.

According to Joie, one of her major achievements in her career was the release of her debut album, ‘Joie’ in April 2018.

“It’s something I only dreamt of making since I was a kid and being able to hold a physical album I get to call my own is surreal.”

Joie Tan playing guitar at the 'Joie' album launch in 2018
Source: Bandwagon Asia

Currently, Joie primarily does music and works part-time at a dog shelter. Now, she has Layla Luna to add on to all of that.

More Than Meets The Eye: The Reality of Animal Shelters

By now, Joie is pretty familiar with the in’s and out’s of how animals shelters actually run. She started volunteering last year at The Right To Live (TRTL), a non-profit shelter that has been home to abandoned, abused and stray dogs since 2014.

Through her experience, Joie has seen, firsthand, what we do not.

Joie Volunteering at The Right To Live
Photo by: Teo Jia Wei

What most people do not know is that most animal shelters in Singapore are funded solely by its founders and that there are so many dogs with no homes.

They house more animals than they can accommodate, and chances are they operate without any funding from the government.

More often than not, there are only a few animal shelters being funded by the government as it is not an easy task to be registered as a charity organization.

This just means that the owners are forking out cash from their own pockets to keep these dogs alive.

Dog at The Right To Live (TRTL) Dog Shelter
Photo by: Teo Jia Wei

“I have stats on TRTL’s monthly expenditure on the Layla Luna website. They spend about 23,200 SGD a month. That’s insane for one couple to take”.

Seeing the need for more support for animal shelters, Joie knew she had to do something – and she did. It’s safe to say that these animals are the true inspiration behind Layla Luna and the driving force of the brand.

“I want to spread word about the shelters and the various ways we can help”.

It’s All About Awareness

Joie is an avid animal lover, especially when it comes to dogs. “I love dogs so I enjoy my time there. I work twice a week at the shelter now, so that’s when I’m there!”

Layla Luna Founder, Joie Tan with her maltipoo, Layla
Layla Luna Founder, Joie Tan and Layla

However, it is not all fun and games once you get to the shelters.

“Every time I greet them and they show me their affection, it breaks my heart to know that sweet, adoptable dogs are in the shelter while people are out there buying dogs”.

Dog from The Right To Live (TRTL) Dog Shelter
Photo by: Teo Jia Wei

It is still a known fact that there is a stigma surrounding adopting pets from animal shelters.

Most people still perceive them to be aggressive or troubled or may be put off by certain health issues they might have, which deters them from adopting.

“I think one problem is that people are not aware of how loving these shelter dogs are. It’s all about awareness. I know that can be changed,” Joie explains.

Volunteering and Getting Started 

If you are looking into getting started with volunteering in shelters, fret not – it is pretty simple.

Joie Tan volunteering at TRTL
Photo by: Teo Jia Wei

First, coming from Joie herself, look up the various shelters and find one that resonates with you. It is incredibly important to know where you are putting your time, and knowing that it is something you are passionate about.

“There are many ways you can volunteer. You don’t need money to make a difference.” 

If you have spare time, volunteer your time by signing up to help out at road shows, adoption drives or doing shelter work like walking and bathing them, and keeping the kennels clean.

Do not be intimidated if you have no experience! The shelter owners will be more than willing to help you out in the process.

What’s Next For Layla Luna 

In the future, Joie has some plans on venturing outside of the eyewear department.

Charlie wearing the Charlie sunglasses with Leia
Charlie in the Charlie Sunglasses by Layla Luna

“A little dream would be to have tote bags with the Layla Luna brand and for that to also support the cause”. As much as she wants to explore different products for the brand, Joie wants to focus on building the brand and their glasses for now.

Hoping to create a more environmentally conscious brand, Joie aims on having the Layla Luna glasses made from recycled material next. “I want Layla Luna to be a fashionable brand that doesn’t compromise on style or the environment”.

With Layla Luna, Joie also wishes to promote more awareness of animal shelters in Singapore and their needs, as well as the importance of adoption.

To check out Layla Luna’s stylish frames, head here. For more information on how to volunteer at The Right To Live (TRTL), click here. (Also, don’t forget to check out Joie’s music on Spotify and YouTube!)