Meet Indie McFarlane, Founder and CEO of INDY Sunglasses. In 2017 Indie started her brand on her bedroom floor in Scotland, eventually taking her talents to Brooklyn where she began selling across the US and internationally.
The trendsetting and sustainable sunglasses have been featured in publications like Harpers Bazaar, British Vogue, WWD, and more. Not to mention worn by A-list celebrities like Alicia Keys.
Our team was fortunate enough to speak with Indie about her journey being a female entrepreneur, her long term vision for Indy Sunglasses and more.
Hi Indie! Thanks so much for taking the time to connect with our team! Can you first start by telling us a little bit more about yourself?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me – I am 28 years old from Scotland, I moved to Brooklyn 4 years ago where I worked in bars fulltime and I used every check to invest into INDY. I now run INDY fulltime from my home office in Brooklyn.
What inspired you to start INDY sunglasses? And what drew your attention to the eyewear space?
From a very young age, I would collect eyewear and noticed I had a passion for it. I would always be wearing sunglasses, even in the rain! I would see sunglasses as a comfort blanket as I was always quite shy so it was something you could hide behind and boost confidence in a way. I struggled to find a sunglass brand that focused on quality and a reasonable price point, I saw a gap in the market and that’s when I decided to launch INDY.
Since creating INDY sunglasses, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment?
There have been many exciting things that have happened over the last 4 years but my main accomplishment would be all my customers and connecting with them, so many are loyal to INDY and return on every new collection I launch and that makes me so happy. Also when I walk through the streets of New York and see people wearing INDY, that’s amazing.
What feelings do you want people to feel when they are wearing INDY? How do you think your brand helps to embody these feelings or vibes?
I want people to feel confident when wearing INDY just as I do. Whether it’s a day where you’re not feeling your best and just want to throw on a pair of INDY’s to brighten your mood and brighten your outfit. I saw a customer’s review recently and they said “I love the way the world looks through these shades, I will forever buy INDY” – this sums up how I want people to feel. INDY offers many colored lenses which are known to boost your mood when looking through. For example, green lenses have a calming and balancing effect on our energy and yellow lenses tend to boost mental clarity all while looking so chic.
What has been the biggest challenge(s) you have faced since creating INDY? How did you find yourself overcoming these challenge(s)?
Like many businesses, the pandemic was a big challenge and very unsettling. I lost a lot of my stores that I traded in so I had to really make online work. I found myself working 24-7 on my socials by promoting and also re-organizing my website, it paid off overtime.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting their own business? Is there a piece of advice that has resonated with you since the start of your entrepreneurial journey?
My advice would be to pick something you are genuinely passionate about. This way it’ll never feel like a job, and never give up. My dad always tells me “It takes a lifetime to be an overnight success”. I would also say you know what is best for your business, outside advice can be great but always listen to your own instincts. I took advice from someone recently and missed a pretty big opportunity!
All of the INDY Sunglasses are so cute and trendsetting! What is the design process like for coming up with new sunglass ideas?
Thank you! Inspiration comes from everywhere but I would say mainly from old movies – I’m really passionate about vintage eyewear and then adding a modern twist to it.
What’s next for INDY Sunglasses? In what ways would you like to see the company expand in the future?
We are working with my factory to improve our sustainability which means all designs going forward will either be made with 100% recycled materials and biodegradable which is so exciting. I am also planning on doing collaborations with other designers and working with other creatives.
Check out INDY Sunglasses here!