Paige Burchell, Founder & CEO, Emma Paige Designs
Paige is Founder and CEO of Emma Paige Designs, a company that specializes in custom wedding gowns and reworked vintage wedding gowns.
After graduating George Brown College in 2010, Paige moved permanently to Toronto to pursue her career. After graduation she worked as a product designer for two different clothing companies, that helped her gain insight into the fashion industry, but never felt fulfilling. In 2011 Paige quit her day job and launched Emma Paige Designs. After tremendous commitment and hard work, Paige looks back to reflect on her incredible journey and the successful business she has built.
We had the good fortune to ask Paige a few questions!
Paige, what’s your educational background?
I graduated with a diploma from the Fashion Techniques and Designs program at George Brown College 2010
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
After working for various companies, I quickly realized that the 9-5 grind just wasn’t for me. I didn’t feel accomplished at the end of the day and didn’t enjoy answering to anyone.
I found it hard designing for a company and them taking credit for my work. Running my own business has given me a different kind of work ethic and the work that is accomplished at the end of the day is that much more rewarding.
Why did you create Emma Paige Designs?
Since I was 10 years old I dreamt of being a wedding gown designer, but I never believed I could do it. I assumed you’d have to be a big designer and have a ton of financial backing.
When my sister was planning her wedding, she asked me to make her bridesmaid dresses. She wanted them all different to compliment each girls figure. After the wedding the photos went on social media and things just snowballed.
After doing some research I discovered that there was a niche that hadn’t yet been tapped into; custom bridal wear at an affordable price. When people hear ‘custom’ they think expensive. When in fact, it can actually be quite affordable! I don’t have the overhead that large design houses have, so I am able to offer my gowns at a reasonable price and each girl is part of the design process and each creation is truly unique.
What successes has Emma Paige Designs enjoyed so far?
For many years I had a side job to help me financially. But I am now working full-time at my business.
My clientele does not just reside in Toronto but across Canada and Europe. Sure, it makes things a little trickier not being able to do fittings, but we make it work!
This past school term I had an intern working with me from George Brown College and after her school year I hired her on part-time and this has given me great pride that I have been able to help inspire and support the growth of another person passionate about our profession.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Keep a side job… Just to help you get on your feet! There is nothing worse than the feeling of financial stress. You will make mistakes, but hold no regrets. Look at every experience (the good and the bad) as a lesson. Challenges and hurdles will arise, but they get easier to overcome, so don’t give up!
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