Born in Colombia, Shirley Ferri spent her childhood by the tropical coastline where, influenced by music, bright colors and the beach, she embraced her Latina heritage.

Raised by a family of fashion-oriented seamstresses, there was no denying her passion for fashion and it came as no surprise to others that she attended fashion design school. While there, a professor asked the class to develop their own brand. Because of her background, Ferri settled on a swimwear line. The ideas started flowing and soon she had designs and a concept — Be Your Own Adventure! She wanted potential customers to embrace their beauty, no matter their shape, size or background.

That passion was shelved temporarily in 2008, however, when Ferri left Colombia to start a life in the United States and embark on what would become a career in healthcare, something she never expected.

Just like every opportunity thrown at her, Ferri embraced this new path and, working in the Hartford Hospital Emergency Department, she began to evolve. She found her English improved daily and she quickly became accustomed to American culture.

First, she started an Instagram fitness blog which quickly evolved into SCF BRAND, her own swimwear line. Designed entirely by Ferri, the swimsuits are sewn with brightly colored fabrics from Columbia and celebrate being an individual, colorful and unique. Her website proclaims “SCF Brand Swim Line was designed to make you feel comfortable in your own skin” with high-quality products that “enhance your beauty self.”

Shirley Ferri loves bright colors and using them in her bathing suit designs. Photo by Chris Rakoczy

What once was a concept years ago has transformed into a small woman-owned business because, as Ferri proudly says, she didn’t once think about giving up. She found a way to blend her work at HHC with something she loves.

“Our goal is to create self-love awareness through fashion,” the website says.