Girlbosses of Great Britain : Hitting The Big Time with Indie McFarlane
Indie McFarlane is a woman on a mission, one that’s not afraid to go against the grain and likes a life filled with adventure. Having founded I.N.D.Y sunglasses, selling sunglasses inspired by the streets of New York, she supplies the best designs for all seasons at an extremely affordable price, including beautiful vintage frames from the 1980s & 1990s which no one else has.
With stars like Alicia Keys donning her glasses, this woman is one to watch. A creative genius, powerhouse and all round BossBabe, we couldn’t wait to find out more…
Tell us about the journey that lead you to where you are today
I moved to London from Scotland at the age of 17 to study photography, I graduated with a BA photography degree where I then assisted successful photographers and fashion stylists. I also worked as a bartender full time to pay rent. I soon drifted away from the idea of being a photographer as my heart wasn’t in it and Instagram came out haha! I moved back to Scotland to work in a pub and figure out my next moves, that is when I came up with the idea to start my own sunglass company at the age of 22 with the goal of trading in TopShop. I watched so many YouTube videos on how to run a business. I used the money from my bar job to invest into stock and to start my own website. My photography skills allowed me to shoot all product photography and lifestyle shots. One year later, I moved the business to New York where I then signed a contract with TopShop and began trading in 7 of their locations across the U.S and their flagship store in London.
What has been your career highlight?
When Alicia Keys wore my ‘Love’ Frames and I guess when I realised I could do my business as a full-time job!
What has been the most challenging time in your career?
When I finished my last TopShop launch in May 2019 in Vegas, I had a huge celebration, I was extremely excited and relieved to be all set up in the 7 TopShops across the U.S in time for summer. I had paused my social life for the 11 months prior and lived off of $1.59 bagels! I was doing one launch every few months, as that’s what I could manage financially. Two weeks after my final launch earlier this year, TopShop filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. It was heartbreaking and a huge shock, but I had to make a choice whether to go into fight or flight mode, I dusted myself off and carried on now we sell to new amazing retailers. In a way, I am thankful I experienced something like this so early on in my career so I know how to handle the situation it ever (hopefully never!) happens again. You can still find us in Oxford Circus TopShop.
Sunglasses are your main product but I am in love with your apparel line, is this something you plan on developing?
I have always loved sweaters, right now it is just a fun little project, I would love to develop into clothing but that is way down the line, I have a lot to learn but I’m excited!
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
Hard question! 2018 was a crazy year for my business mentally and physically, I wish I told myself to take more breaks as I was determined to do everything myself which lead to be extremely overwhelming, however, the results were worth it and I’ve learnt its okay to take a day off!
Our readers love to travel, where is your happy place?
The Highlands in Scotland with my dog, definitely!
What does self care mean to you?
Self care is the most important thing, I feel it is overlooked sometimes and not taken seriously enough, but it is so important to look after your mental health which I learnt from being a severe panic attack sufferer. If you don’t look after yourself, this can be very restricting within your career.
Tell us about your most recent boss babe moment?
Being published in British Vogue Magazine!
What does 2020 look like for you?
I am incredibly excited for next year, we have some potential new large retailers in the pipeline for Spring. I am going to be focusing on my vintage collection from the 80s and 90s as vintage has always been a success on my website and a huge passion of mine, it gives customers the opportunity to wear sunglasses that no one else has. This collection will fall under the name of Vintage Supplied by I.N.D.Y and will remain extremely affordable.
Founder, Indie McFarlane (26 years old)