Mel.by.Design is an e-commerce store showcasing beautifully unique resin artwork that is high quality and affordable. Founded by Melissa Labrador-Feliciano, she grew up surrounded by arts and crafts, watching her mother and grandmother create beautiful clothing and other crafts articles. In the About Us section on her website, Melissa states, “I guess you could say DIY projects and arts ran in our blood.”
A former competitive figure skater and pianist, she worked as an instructor for the city of Mississauga, teaching students aged three to eighty until the pandemic in 2020. When her sister asked her to make magnets for her business, Melissa searched for the suitable material to bring the magnets to life. That is when she found her love for working with resin. After creating coasters and pill dishes with resin, Melissa’s family encouraged her to display her work for sale on Instagram, and Mel.by.Design was born.
Melissa operates her creative business from home. As a wife and mother of two young boys, she has faced the challenge of managing her time for work and setting boundaries. She reflects, “My kids are still in that learning phase, and so it’s been challenging for them to understand that this is mommy’s time to work. Now, we’ve figured out a schedule where I have my own separate time, and we work around that”.
For Melissa, one of the advantages of working from home is having her art space in her basement, where she has access to all her materials and is in control of her schedule. “Some artists that I follow rent out specific spaces, but those buildings may close at certain times. So, they have to abide by someone else’s time slot. Whereas at home, I can work on my hours, and I have all my materials within reach”.
When designing magnets for her sister’s business, Melissa came across resin almost entirely by chance. She turned to Youtube tutorials to learn more about the material, and the videos continue to be a source of inspiration for her throughout her journey. Melissa has also put her artistic touch on franchises that she loves, such as Sailor Moon and Harry Potter. Aside from the art surrounding her, Melissa’s family is a significant source of encouragement in her creative endeavours.
As her son watches her work in her basement studio, his response to her pieces will keep her creativity flowing. “he’ll inspire me and give me ideas out of the blue. I’ll ask him if he likes a certain colour, and he’ll tell me “this piece is beautiful,” and that will keep me going.” Having a sister who owns a small business has been a significant source of support for Melissa because they understand the rewards and challenges of operating their businesses from home.
Melissa admits that she and her sister lean on each other for mutual support and honest critique. “I generally go to her for feedback on my ideas, such as launching ornaments for Christmas. I’ll ask her what she thinks, and we’ll feed those ideas off each other”.
Melissa comes from a very artistic family (she is also cousins with songwriter Arlene Paculan), and she is continuing that tradition by creating art that speaks to her. Melissa expressed a future in the arts for her family, even if it does not necessarily involve resin.
“Honestly, I do see it continuing. My son has shown interest in joining me at work, and he is old enough to understand what I am doing. I see his interest, and with both my kids, I’ve just been allowing them to explore”. Through Mel.by.Design , Melissa is setting a positive example for her extended and immediate family. “My goal personally is to expose my kids, and anyone else in my family, to what is possible when you put in the work and give art a chance.”
For more information on Melissa’s work, or to purchase a custom piece, visit https://resinbymelinfo.wixsite.com/melbydesign