Very Polite is led by four unique creatives from very different backgrounds, who came together to create an integrated agency with the purpose to help other businesses thrive and do big things. They are purposely selective, choosing to work with brands that are a fit, both culturally and creatively. This approach allows the partners to be intimately involved in each account, contributing their diverse skillsets to each unique client and project. Each partner guides the various departments from photography to graphic design and PR so the teams can fully immerse into the client’s brand and culture. Without further ado, Meet the Partners.
Andrea Mestrovic Partner | VP Brand Strategy
I don’t believe in balance – it’s the extremes that lead to greatness. To me, balance is a compromise. I come from 15 years of experience in global marketing, communications strategy, luxury brand management, digital and social strategy, and media planning. My work spans a wide spectrum of industries, including publishing, advertising, hospitality, beverage, travel and tourism, technology, fashion and retail. In 2004, I was the founding partner of a global public relations firm, while also working as a lifestyle journalist, and International Editor for Olivia Palermo, a position I held for over six years. Between 2014 and 2016 I headed Global Public Relations for Kit and Ace, a technical apparel brand with record-breaking international growth. It was during my time at Kit and Ace that I met the other agency partners — and they haven’t left me alone since (but no real complaints). Most recently, I was the Vice President of Marketing for Mark Anthony Group of Companies before taking the leap to create the agency of my dreams, Very Polite. This is a special place. I love the culture we have built — one of integrity, debate, curiosity, and creativity. It’s cool to be surrounded by such talented people who are passionate about what they do and who challenge me on the daily. I also like that we operate across all verticals and that our clients come from various industries and all have different needs. This keeps us sharp. We’re forever innovating. But, what do I actually do here? Accounting. Admin. Travel. Some legal and HR, but really mostly accounting. At least it feels like that some days. Seriously though, I lead Brand Strategy and PR, which means I ensure we are operating with a creative vision that supports the business goals of our clients and helps share their narrative with the public. I get to manage reputations, perform crisis audits, and craft holding statements. But more often than not, it’s less serious and much more fashion, much more fun. My strongest asset? My intuition. It has led me to where I am today, which is a very exciting place to be.
Editor’s note** Andrea was honored with the 2017 Top Forty Under 40 Award by Business in Vancouver Magazine. She has been quoted in The New York Times, and featured in several other publications. She’s still waiting for her Vogue cover, but stay tuned.
Alan Chan Partner | VP Photography & Production
I always knew that I didn’t want to work in a corporate office. In fact, I was a licensed commercial pilot in my 20s. However, life led me towards my passion for photography and I haven’t looked back (although, let’s be honest it would be cool to fly a plane again). Luckily my work calls for some time on planes, and although I’m based on the West Coast, I travel and split my time between Vancouver, New York and Hong Kong.
I started out my photography career working with established brands such as Wings & Horns and Reigning Champ, and eventually joined Kit and Ace, where I led Brand Visuals and Photo Direction. After a few years at Kit and Ace, I joined another retailer, Aritzia, as their Brand Photography Production Director, before teaming up with Andrea, Dylan and JJ to launch Very Polite Agency. With our very diverse backgrounds and skillsets, we’re able to tap into various industries which keeps work fresh – I’m constantly creatively challenged which is essential to me. So, what’s a day to day? Never the same. But in simplest terms – when a client comes to us with a cool product and an interesting narrative, we find a way to bring that story to life visually. I get excited seeing a brand’s story evolve – from concepting to art direction, casting, production and finally capture. My general philosophy is that life is short, and it’s important to do what makes you happy with the people you love. That’s why I surround myself with an amazing team and partners who feel like family. I get to hang out with my *veeps all day, every day – and to me that’s winning in life.
*Very Polite People
Editor’s note**Alan’s work has been published in Vogue, GQ, NY Times Style, Nylon Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. His personal style is described as “generally directed by my wife – but currently it’s oversized and contemporary street”
JJ Wilson Partner | VP Business Strategy
I grew up in retail.* So from the get go, I had a keen interest in fitness, branding, and fashion. During my final year at university, I started working in the Fashion Office at Holt Renfrew – which was an incredible experience and a glimpse into the glamourous world of fashion frenzy. Following graduation, I made my way to New York and Boston where I briefly worked in private equity, but eventually was drawn back to my West Coast roots. Back in Vancouver, I led a brand team at a menswear line called wings+horns. Working in marketing for a wholesale brand showed me an entirely different side of the retail industry. Following that role, I returned to Lululemon to help lead their men’s vision and product, but shortly thereafter I had the opportunity to launch my own first global concept – a technical apparel brand called Kit and Ace, which became a global brand in less than 2 years. (I built this brand alongside my future Very Polite Agency partners).
What was next? An executive MBA from Harvard and two new businesses – Ride Cycle Club and Very Polite Agency. (You could say I like to keep busy). The quality of the brands and people we work with are what make Very Polite exceptional. Our agency is always changing as we grow, and with that, so does my role. Bringing the right people, teams, and environments together to drive projects forward is where I thrive. I focus on internal projects, operations, client acquisition, and growth strategies, and I’m often thinking about how we can elevate the agency while also helping clients develop their businesses. BIG, big picture guy. Life motto? I believe you need to do what makes you happy – which in turn gives you the energy to find your flow. I like operating with a sense of urgency, fun, and creativity. Emphasis on fun.
* lululemon, tho.
Editor’s Note** Though mostly found in sweaty workout gear, JJ would define his style as “contemporary comfort with a dash of athleisure.” He’s a guy that loves a good basic but not shy about splurging on what matters.
Dylan Rekert Partner | VP Creative
Dylan did not write this bio. Dylan wants nothing to do with this bio. Nonetheless, here are a few things you should know about Dylan.
Dylan is an award-winning (that’s what they all say) creative director and filmmaker. In the last decade, he has led creative teams across numerous industries, ranging from tech and luxury apparel to mining, real estate, tourism, hospitality and beverage. His passion for storytelling and the fresh perspective he brings to brands has consistently landed him in front of the likes of Vice, Refinery29 & Conde Nast Media to name a few. Dylan’s work has been featured in the New York Observer, Creativity Online, Harper’s Bazaar and Surface Magazine. As VP of Creative and founding partner at Very Polite, he oversees all creative projects and leads the graphic and web design departments. He most recently produced and art directed a sci-fi short film, Loop, which will be premiering internationally this fall.
Editor’s note** Like most disturbed creatives, Dylan is his own biggest critic – and would never approve the above (but we promise it’s all true).