Seaside Local Tom Kay

Seaside Local Tom Kay


The founding father of Finisterre spent much of his childhood on the North Norfolk coast, surfing cold murky waters from a young age. Living in a country where strong winds and torrential rain are more frequent than sunny hot days are seen, could inspire one to move away. Or come up with a solution. Something warm, waterproof and long lasting…   


words: Alexandra Gossink


“Businesses and brands have to have a higher reason for existing beyond just being a business.”


Working from a clifftop workshop in Cornwall’s St Agnes, Tom and his team make innovative decisions on a daily basis, considering the whole picture of actions and consequences, rather than producing just another product. Spending most of his youth on England’s east coast helped inspire the road Tom took. “The east coast’s very much my spiritual home and where my parents gave a love of the sea to my sister and I. It influenced many areas of my life from an early age and since then.”



Creating sturdy, cool looking outdoor clothing and wetsuits, being planet friendly was on the agenda from Finisterre’s start in 2003. “I wanted to build a brand whose purpose was to inspire a love of the sea, building exceptional, sustainable product that would enable this connection. Sustainability and a better way of being as a business has been there since day one. Becoming B Corps certified was a testament to this. As somebody who is intrinsically connected to the sea I was aware of the need for business to do more and address these issues, so taking sustainability to heart and trying to mitigate any damage we cause was very important to me.”



Surfing from a young age and being part of a coastal community, the obvious connection to them made him want to contribute in other ways too: “I’m a volunteer helm on the lifeboat here in St Agnes and have been on the crew for 17 years. I have a pager that can go off at any time – night/day, 365 days a year. The RNLI is extraordinary in that the crews are volunteers – who put themselves in danger to save others – this ethos has been there for over 200 years. The team and crew are great and I’m proud to play my part.”



When it comes down to seeing a more global change in doing business, Tom’s thoughts are pretty clear: “Businesses and brands have to have a higher reason for existing beyond just being a business – a purpose that is contributory to the wider world (environment or society) in some shape or form.”



And acknowledging it’s not an easy task: “After 17 years it feels as if we are just getting started and there is so much for us to do as a business – product, innovation, sustainability. In this respect, there’s a constant drive for us to understand, learn, evolve… Much like my relationship with the sea, and surfing!”

Find out more about Tom and Finisterre at:






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