Young Guns: Emma Reynolds and Shannon Edlington created a side hustle to make their way in fashion

A day in the lives of the founders of ethical apparel brand Adeera.

Credit: @Swanakaephotography

Shannon Edlington and Emma Reynolds 

A day in the lives of the founders of ethical apparel brand Adeera

Starting a company when you already have a full-time job is no easy task. But Emma Reynolds and Shannon Edlington admit that it’s not quite as hard when you and your co-founder live in the same apartment building.

The two met three years ago, soon after Reynolds, who was raised in Japan and did a master of international business at the University of Edinburgh, came to Vancouver. Edlington has a background in psychology and sales but had just ventured into fashion design.

“We were sitting on the couch drinking wine one day, talking about the future and what we want in life,” Reynolds recalls. “Both of us discovered we wanted to build something of our own.”

Some research into the fashion business led them to believe it was ripe for innovation. “The fast fashion industry is pretty crappy–there’s so much waste that comes out of it every year–so much environmental damage, not to mention damage to societies and developing countries,” Reynolds says. “So we thought, Why don’t we develop a brand that is completely sustainable, locally made and that’s going to be part of solving the problem that is the entire fashion industry?”

Off the side of their full-time desks, Reynolds and Edlington founded Adeera, a maker of high-quality (garments are 100-percent mulberry silk), ethical and environmentally safe clothing.

So far, the pair, who launched their first collection in October 2020 and sell online, have achieved the e-commerce industry average conversion rate of 2.5 percent.

6:30 a.m.

Adeera means “strong” in Hebrew, which makes sense for the women behind the brand, who work out together in the morning before going their separate ways for the rest of the day. “Our Adeera woman, we want her to be strong in her opinions and views,” Edlington says of why they went with the moniker. “The name just kind of flowed really nicely, and we both connected to it instantly.”

As for their style inspiration, it’s “18th-century Rococo–so a little extra, I guess,” says Edlington, who adds that they admire brands like Brock Collection and Orseund Iris. “We really wanted to use silk because we’re branching into a luxury realm, and we think silk, in terms of sustainability, it’s a natural fibre, and No. 2, it’s a soft, beautiful fabric you want to wear all the time. We want the products to make the customer feel special.”

Throughout the day, Reynolds and Edlington text each other often, exchanging ideas until they can meet again.

5 p.m.

Most nights, the duo reconvene at one of their apartments to go over plans for the brand on fronts like social media, production and design.

They’re now working on designing Adeera’s second collection (with an eye to a March launch) and finding sustainable packaging they can take pride in. Because they’ve decided on “mini launches” throughout the year, Edlington predicts that “one of our biggest challenges is going to be keeping up
the content.”

That’s especially true because of the nature of the side hustle, Reynolds notes. “When you’re doing something on the side, it’s so dangerous to get close to that level where you burn out,” she says. “I think both of us have felt that multiple times. So we make sure that it’s planned well and we don’t reach that stage.”