AlumniDavid Lochhead

Course studied: BA (Hons) Finance & Marketing, 2007

Position at time of writing: Co-Founder/Commercial Director at FINLAY London

Interesting fact: David's clients include the Duchess of Sussex, the Scottish Rugby team and Jenson Button 

While lounging on a beach, David noticed people wearing different types of swimwear – but very similar sunglasses. During that holiday, the idea to create eyewear to express individuality was born. And that became FINLAY London.

Popular across the globe, the likes of Meghan Markle (HRH the Duchess of Sussex), the Scottish rugby team, and – to David’s delight – Jenson Button have sported the eyewear. We caught up with him to find out more.

How did your degree help in your business venture?

Strathclyde Business School helped me to gain a general understanding of all aspects of business. It gave me the transferable skills needed to start my career. I really enjoyed my time there.

Why did you choose Strathclyde?

At school my favourite subjects were Accountancy and Economics so I knew I wanted to study Business at university. Strathclyde had the best reputation in Scotland for business and so it naturally became my first choice.

Top 3 Strathlife moments

  • Making friends from my courses that have gone on to become life-long friends
  • Participating in a third year exchange programme that enabled me to spend a year studying in Perth, Australia
  • Giving stacks of warm cheese toasties away to students as they left the Union after a big night

You’re now based in London, have you used your alumni network down there?

One person I met through Strathclyde’s London alumni group, Lorraine Thomson, became a mentor. We still meet regularly, her advice and support has been invaluable. It was Lorraine who encouraged us to open our own store – showing her around the space when it first opened was a real highlight.

What makes FINLAY London different?

Our eyewear lets people express their originality. Not only do we offer a wide range of frames to choose from, many are totally unique – like the pairs we originally made from wood, with their one-off grains. We focus on eyecare too, so it’s very much about wellness.

With our optometrist in store, we make eyecare and eyewear an experience rather than a chore. This is something we’re pioneering in the UK. We’re currently working on our store roll out model, the 2019 collection, and continuing to create frames that customers receive compliments about. The big aim? To offer a great eyecare experience in every major city in the world.

Take people on the journey with you. One person might have a contact who can help, another may introduce you to a new customer – it’s important to carefully consider how the network you’ve built can help."

What is the best part about running FINLAY London?

When I meet people who wear our sunglasses or spectacles and hear that they truly love our products, it brings a moment of real joy. Often we're told that it's the item of clothing that they receive the most compliments on. Sunglasses and glasses become a core part of your face and therefore part of your first impressions and it's wonderful to hear when we've got it right and made a difference to someone.