Meet Melissa Ferreira, Owner of Adhesif Clothing

It’s tough to make friends in adulthood. Without the confines of a classroom to force you together, forging new friendship relies on extending out beyond your comfort zone. Enter Vancouver Neatos interviews, where I introduce you to a new face in Vancouver every week (ish). Want to take part? Drop me a line.

Photo by Rebecca Blisset

Photo by Rebecca Blisset

Tell us about yourself. What drew you to becoming an entrepreneur?

My mother worked in garment production factories in Montreal throughout my childhood. I grew up with her sewing at the kitchen table after work, doing alterations for extra income.

Naturally, I learned how to sew from her. I taught myself how to design from taking apart vintage garments and seeing how they were put together, after spending many years as a vintage clothing buyer right out of high school. I love everything vintage and it remains to this day my main source of inspiration. Vintage clothing, music, historic + modern architecture, vintage cars, vintage appliances…they have all withstood the test of time because things were built to last. And, because they’ve lasted, the pieces leave behind a legacy with abundant stories to tell.

I have always been an extremely independent, resourceful, and creative individual. Since childhood, I’ve always been dreaming, inventing, creating, drawing, imagining, making. With never ending ideas brewing, it was a natural direction in my life to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. It was only after I completed a self employment program at Douglas College many years ago that I was able to start a business as an independent artist/designer.

I started Adhesif Clothing in 2003, opened my own boutique in 2010, and never looked back. Upward and onward…

Adhesif Clothing is a Vancouver, British Columbia clothing company that produces handmade, memorable, one-of-a-kind garments. Each up-cycled piece is made with up to 95% vintage + reclaimed materials + 100% heart, a truly well thought out process made by designer Melissa Ferreira. Every article of clothing has its very own distinctive personality with a visual array of eclectic prints + color compositions. The result brings a striking presentation of polished yet playful pieces that are also eco friendly.

Is there anything that particularly influences or inspires your work?

My inspiration comes from a love of quality over quantity and the culture that goes along with this mentality. It’s called “slow culture” and in my case “slow fashion” specifically. I’m inspired by anything created from the heart that has a story to tell.

I get inspired by vintage designs + original street styles. Effortless, natural style of people just doing their thing. I love watching people in their own element. The ideas are endless…catching up with them all is the challenge.

What advice would you give emerging designers and shop owners?

For designers :: Find your demographic. No matter how great your design, it has to fit well, never stop working at being better. Do something that makes you stand out, but remain authentic to your concept.

For shop owners :: Make a business plan, you’re going to need one! Always stick to regular business hours, have great customer service, go the extra mile for your loyal clients. Hire individuals who have a positive attitude, a good work ethic, and share your vision. Change is good; always have something new to offer, at least on a seasonal basis. Keep things fresh.

What do you like best about the fashion community in Vancouver?

Some of the most talented and inspiring creatives I’ve ever met and worked with in my career with Adhesif Clothing have been coming out of the West Coast. Overall, I find the general vibe with the West Coast aesthetic to be at times rugged, but mostly relaxed and whimsical. There’s a lot of diversity with the locals in the design scene and that’s not just specific to fashion. There’s a lot of great decor, mixed media, ceramics, metal work, sculpture, leatherwork, food, craft beer etc.

16-02-17-adhesif-clothing-studio

What are the biggest challenges for female entrepreneurs in Vancouver? In Canada? In general? How do you think we can overcome those challenges?

Regardless of being male or female, going into business for yourself is a roller coaster ride of bumps, jumps, heights, and lows. Knowing how to overcome challenges and never give up when presented with a hurdle is the key regardless of where you live or what you do. Determination and perseverance IS the key to success. Never stop challenging yourself and never stop learning. They say the most successful people in business are the ones who NEVER GIVE UP! I don’t think there’s any such thing as the grass being greener on the other side. Every place has its challenges.

With that said I think Canada’s biggest challenge currently is bringing manufacturing back to this country. The majority of what is available in the commercial market (aside from the exploitation of natural resources) is imported and there’s no reason why a country this size with a population of over 36 million shouldn’t be able to be self sustaining.

Where’s your favourite spot in Vancouver to set up a laptop and get shit done?

My studio…it’s where the magic happens + it’s the mad scientist to the pretty face (my boutique) it’s my happy place + the best spot to brainstorm.

Can you share any resources you’ve found most helpful in your career?

No matter how talented you are as an artist, if you’re thinking of being an independent, self sustaining designer than I highly recommend taking some business courses or hiring out that part of the business to someone who likes accounting, bookkeeping, PR + marketing etc. Or else you’re going to be the one who’s wearing all the hats!

What’s in the works for you right now?

I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy tapping into the European market. I am Canadian but with European citizenship, so Germany has become my second home now. I’ve had the opportunity to have photo shoots with a creative team I work with there for Adhesif Clothing’s past three years/fall-winter collections, including our upcoming FW 2016 Collection.

Also, the 9th Annual Nifty for Fifty Sale is coming soon ::

30 local designers and artists will gather under one roof for the 9th annual Nifty for Fifty shopping sale happening Sunday April 10th 2016 from 11am-8pm at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street). Find everything from accessories to clothing and trinkets, all for $50 or
less. Just in time to revamp that spring wardrobe!

Did you connect with Melissa Ferreira and Adhesif Clothing? Check out my interview with GOONHOUSE or drop me a line and join the party. Here’s how you can get involved.

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