Paige Adams-Geller knows a thing or two about fashion—but she knows even more about how to run a business. A former model, Paige founded PAIGE, a denim and lifestyle fashion company,15 years ago—and she’s been sharing her journey as a woman in fashion and entrepreneurship ever since.
Below, Paige shares the best advice she’s been given, her hopes for the fashion industry, and how your business can leave a mark on the world.
What does it mean to you to be the first female founder in premium denim?
I am honored and proud to be the first female founder in the premium denim world! It means so much to me. I feel I have always been a risk taker, and when my heart is passionate about something I give it 1000 percent. I also believe being a pioneer is part of my spirit. I’m a small town girl from Wasilla, Alaska and feel like I have been able to pave the way and set an example for other women and young girls who have big dreams – showing them that all things are possible. There are no limitations and no mountains they can’t climb!
What has been your proudest moment since starting PAIGE?
My proudest moment since starting PAIGE was when we reached a level of success where I was able to have a platform to use my voice. I have had the ability to help others through sharing my personal stories of overcoming adversity. It has also been a pleasure of mine helping others within the company reach their own personal and professional goals in the business.
What is one thing you wish more people knew or understood about the fashion industry?
I wish more people understood how tough the fashion industry is. It moves so fast, and it is so competitive. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be successful and stay successful. It’s not all about events, parties, and playing dress up. Don’t get me wrong... it is fun! But to be successful you have to take it very seriously.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? What’s the best piece of advice you have to give to young entrepreneurs?
The best piece of advice I have been given is to stay true to what I believe in and to keep my eye on the big picture. Slow and steady wins the race. I’ve never wanted PAIGE to be a one hit wonder. I want PAIGE to be an iconic lifestyle brand that is here for years to come.
The best advice I have for young entrepreneurs is to leave a legacy. It is important when you have a brand, to protect your brand and keep a clear eye on the voice of what you stand for. You can’t be everything to everyone.
You’ve been very open about your sexual assault story, and PAIGE is involved in multiple philanthropies. Do you believe all businesses have a responsibility to give back in some way?
Absolutely! I believe that businesses need to pay it forward. I have worked hard to get where I am, but I would not be here without the help of others. The Rape Foundation gave me my voice back. And when I found my voice I was strong enough to start a brand where I could empower others and create a safe work environment. That is very important to me. With that being said, I also want to be able to give back what I can to my heroes.
PAIGE is almost 15 years old! How has the brand—and your own style—evolved over the years?
I can’t believe I have a teenager! Hahaha. We gave birth to PAIGE 15 years ago, and so much has changed and evolved. The brand started out as just denim for women and has evolved into a full California lifestyle brand for men and women – and last Fall we launched women’s shoes! As much as the brand as evolved, my personal style hasn’t changed much – it’s always been feminine and sexy with a little bit of edge. Whether I’m wearing denim or a dress... I love pairing them with a leather jacket and a sexy boot or shoe. If one thing has changed, it would be that I wear sneakers or flatter boots more than I used to! I like to walk around the cities we travel to for work so I’m not in stilettos as much!
What’s one thing you hope will change about the fashion industry in the future?
I hope the fashion industry will change with people going back to the enjoyment of visiting stores more! Even though I embrace and love online shopping, I still need to get out and see and feel and touch clothing and shoes! I also hope inclusivity is not a trend and that women and men of all shapes and sizes will always know that they have an equal place in fashion.
What’s your go-to outfit when you want to feel your most confident?
When I want to feel confident, I wear black jeans, a silk georgette blouse, a leather jacket, and boots with edgy hardware details.
What and/or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who take risks and who are authentic and vulnerable.
What’s next for PAIGE?
I’m a dreamer and continue to dream beyond what is the obvious of today! I see no boundaries in our future. I want to continue creating and enjoy the adventure!