Hi! My name is Melanie Vandersluis but please call me Mel...unless I’m in trouble. I was born in Montreal, Canada on April 22nd 1989. I was an only child until the age of 27 when my dad remarried and I ended up with the two best step brothers ever! My dad and his family live in Tampa while my mom and I live in Montreal.
Growing up I was quite the shy and reserved child. My mom would often worry when kids would butt in front of me in lines and I wouldn’t say anything. I was always chill and made friends with everyone even my teachers and the school nurse. Such good friends in face that I would often find myself skipping class to hang out in the nurses office, no one asked questions I just knew how to work the system lol. When it came to grades, I was terrible in school. I always got passable grades and there were often plenty of tears when I had to get assignments done that I had procrastinated until the last possible minute. Anyone a master procrastinator? Join the club!
When I got to university I had almost lost my marbles and wanted to drop out. I was studying psychology and was in classes with some many people that gave a way bigger shit then I did. “What the hell am I doing here?!” My dad insisted I graduate so that I could always fall back on Plan B! Good point!
Since the age of 16 I work sales at a bathing suit store, life guarded every summer for 6 years, interned at a PR company, worked for my dads company and worked at lululemon athletica. Lululemon changed everything for me. When a company focuses on the growth of their employees your mind explodes with what is possible.
In 2014, I got accepted on birthright, thats a free trip to Israel to discover your Jewish roots (yes, I’m half Jewish). I went from Israel to France then Greece and after 5 weeks of traveling I had decided along the way that I could not work for anyone else. I needed to work for myself.
I came home and started my first e-commerce business called Melanie Audrey. You can read about the brand here. This business was my full time job within 6 months and I was working on that full time until Instagram caught my attention.
In 2016 my cousin Tracy Komlos invited myself and Lisa Homsy on a trip to bali to create content for brands. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time but I was game! After that trip I was hooked. Creating travel content was inspiring, creative and got me excited!
I came home and decided to reach out to brands and see if I could start working with some in exchange for free product. Over the course of a year I had gone from 5,000 followers on Instagram to almost 100,000. I managed to create a full time business out of Instagram in about a year a half. I’ve landed paid travel jobs all over the world with companies and tourism boards and get to work on some of the coolest projects with brands that I love. Incredible right? Well I’ll tell you right now there are plenty of struggles just like any job and I work myself to the bone everyday, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I love grinding in this work.
If you made it this far then you are pretty well caught up on my work life and how I got here. You’ll find plenty more info on my blog about what I’m up to, projects I’m working on, struggles I’m having, my relationship, how to make money, travel and Instagram and photography tips.