Posted on September 22 2016
I don't know if it's the rainy weather, or the fact that so many people ask how I began that gave me the sudden urge to share my story. Look, I know for most of you this might be a total bore, but hey one day (when I'm rich and famous;) I'll look back at this and appreciate my very humble beginnings. So hey all, it's me Paige. I am a business owner (not an alcoholic) and this is my story.
Almost 2 years ago in April, I was working for an entrepreneur who encouraged, rather pushed me into competing in a Google Startup Weekend Event. It's essentially a Google Sponsored event where a bunch of people get together and pitch business ideas. From there, the crowd votes on the top 10. Then, if you make it into the top 10 - you form a team and have 54 hours to build your business plan, website, and prototype. The top 3 winners receive business coaching, lawyer support for patenting products, and many other resources to help a business become established. Well, I had always talked about this wonderful idea of inventing a rug cover that would be easily removable and washable. So, here I went pitching this idea I had honestly thrown together minutes before the competition started to a bunch of tech-y, nerdy, but very nice guys. Surprisingly, my idea made it into the top 10. From there, I quickly found a team to help me sew this said "rug cover", found a nice guy to help me slap together a website and settled on the name, Paige Avenue. No, I didn't win - but I did get honorable mention. And the fact that I could do something like that from essentially nothing really fueled my little entrepreneur fire. I remember them saying at the end of the competition that statistically only 13% would keep working on their idea, and only 5% would go on to create an actual business. And I thought, "I am going to be one of those 5%."
Fast forward to Summer. After that competition, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with my rug cover idea, but I knew I loved the sewing process and the creativity of designing something unique. So, I pulled out my sewing machine my in-laws gave me for Christmas the year before, watched some YouTube videos, and made a nice, green spandex swimsuit for my then 9 month old boy complete with a little leather tie. I was pretty impressed with myself. (The only thing I had ever sewn was a pair of pajama pants when I was in 9th grade.) So I started sewing more. Before I knew it I was using my old clothes as patterns and designing my own dresses. Then, I got creative and cut up my husbands old t-shirts and started sewing rompers out of them for our son. I was literally staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning sewing because once I started a project I couldn't stop until it was done.
Eventually, it came to the point where everyone was asking where I got my dresses from and wanting me to make one for them. Well, I knew there was no way I could scale a business by sewing hours and hours and hours on end, nor did I have the capital or the following to pay for my own line to be manufactured. At that point I felt stuck. I wasn't quite sure what to do. So my friend, who was also that entrepreneur I worked with - told me I should start a women's clothing store. To be honest, I wasn't a fan of the idea because I've always despised shopping. Yes, you read that right, I have never loved to go out and shop for hours on end, not because I don't like finding cute clothes, but because I could never find what I wanted. I would go shopping with a design I had already created in my mind and expected to find it. But I didn't realize that that's what I was doing. I didn't realize my frustration with shopping came from my desire to find these designs that obviously weren't there. Once I acknowledged that was the reason behind my dislike for shopping, everything changed. Suddenly the idea of starting a store where I could curate the items I was envisioning sounded really enticing.
So, I convinced my husband to use all of our meager student savings to invest in Paige Avenue in November of 2015. I built my site by using YouTube videos and help from random (and sometimes frustrated at me) people in Singapore, spent endless hours searching and researching the ins and outs of owning a business and buying clothes (because I had never worked in retail a day in my life), and within 3 weeks, launched Paige Avenue. There have been so many high and so many low days since November. There is SO much more to owning a business than I ever imagined. And I am still learning every. single. day. There is so much I still don't know, but what I do know is that if you put your heart and soul into it, and maybe all your youthful skin and luscious hair - you can be successful.
I can't even believe that Paige Avenue is where it's at today. We have a small little team now and keep growing all thanks to you lovelies. I hope you all know how much you mean to me. I couldn't do any of what I do without you. My goal is to make sure we always respond to your questions and concerns because we value you as our customer, truly. And because I can't stand it when I try to get a response from a company and it's days before I hear back. You are our number one priority at Paige Avenue and we are excited to continue curating pieces you can't find at most other shops and eventually showcase our own designs! Please know if you ever have questions or concerns that you can always reach out to us. If you made it to the end of this post - then holy crap I owe you a candy bar, and probably a Dr. Pepper because you'll need a caffeine boost after all that reading. Now, go get yourself somethin' real cute and make it your own. Love your guts, Paige