#WesternWomenWednesday, Paige Callaway, Pursue Victory and Paige 1912
I think all great relationships are started by a faint association on social media and then solidified by watching cowboys trade gear in a cheap Elko hotel room.
Well, I'm not sure how solidified we are, but this is how I met fashion designer and boss babe, Paige Callaway! I am regularly inspired by her effective use of Instagram stories, collaborations and adventures. This is a gal who has expanded from personal creation to factory production and created an international face!
1. Name. Age. Location.
31 years of age
2. How did your first apparel line, Pursue Victory, begin?
I started Pursue Victory in 2014 after learning about proper garment construction at Ecole Holt Couture and combining it with the years of experience I had growing up riding and rodeoing. The real catalyst for the business was more than bringing a properly tailored fit shirt to the market. It was about sharing the confidence I felt wearing properly fitted garments with people. I remember one of the first projects we did in school was a day dress, made from solid coloured 100% cotton broadcloth. Couture, for those who aren't familiar is custom fitted clothing, hand made from start to finish (I like to say, “similar to a tailor, just more anal”, an explanation that would likely have most couturiers turning over in their grave for being so unrefined). When I put that dress on, it fit me like a glove and I felt so confident wearing it, which for a “jean” girl seemed crazy. I wondered, if I could share this level of confidence with people when they got dressed, I wonder how much that would change their day, or their performance in the arena, or their happiness.
Its funny looking back, prior to going to couture school, I worked in the oil and gas industry for a tech start up. I learned a lot about business and starting one. All of which were great contributors to starting Pursue Victory! Its hard to say there wasn't some sort of plan in place!
3. Your second line, Paige 1912, has some exciting historical roots, can you tell us more about that?
This line makes my heart smile. Paige 1912 is what would have been in my trunk if I lived in 1912!
I wish I lived in the early 1900’s for the wild west shows and big rodeos that were debuting. Ironically I did grow up rodeoing and trick riding. From a young age I studied the history of Calgary Stampede and old time cowgirls. Attending couture school submerged me into a new world of high fashion, where I again took to learning the early 1900 era history of that industry.
The year 1912 was influential in both the wild west and high fashion worlds. It was the first Calgary Stampede, which my great grandpa competed in. It was also the year Coco Chanel opened her first shop. Most people aren't aware the impact Coco Chanel had on functional fashion. She was the first designer who made pants for ladies, with the idea that pants would be useful to get in and out of a car as well as on and off a horse.
This line was launched summer of 2017 using the functional fit of the Pursue Victory shirts and adding western high fashion flair. There are six main shirt styles, each named after influential cities in the wild west and high fashion; Cheyenne, Pendleton, Salinas, Calgary, Paris and London. Each style is inspired by the uniqueness of the city. We also have a vest coming out called the “Rail Car Vest”!
Paige 1912 has a hat line to compliment the shirts, each with their own style and western high fashion flair. All of the hats have a horse shoe nail that is hand stamped “1912” stuck in the hat band.
Both the lines, Pursue Victory and Paige 1912, as well as the hats are manufactured in Calgary. Quality is a priority for the products I design and this is a key contributing factor to that. For me, its also cool taking into account the history of Calgary and the west, to keep manufacturing local.
4. Having named several businesses and products, what advice do you have for other makers and creatives who struggle to find marketable, relevant names for their work?
First off, thank you for noticing. That is one area of creativity I love! One time I named a line of solid colored Pursue Victory shirts after my friends, because in my mind the colours reflected their personalities! For me, the naming is a “thats perfect” feeling, a trifecta of great things coming together that really represents what I am doing. For example Paige 1912, came about in a conversation with my Mom. I was saying how neat the old time cowgirls were, how I wished I lived in that era and how even Coco Chanel would have been alive. I said maybe I could call it “Coco 1912”, and imagine if she came to the first Calgary Stampede! Mom suggested the name Paige 1912 and I didn't like it right away. It kinda started to stick and the more research I did, I learned Coco opened her first shop that year, that the Titanic sunk in 1912 and Arizona became a state. It was a big year in history. As I started to design the line, it felt right to use my name, as I bridged two things I love, the wild west and high fashion. No longer is it a name and year, its a brand, and it represents what I am doing. It becomes the story and has depth, perhaps chatting about what your creating will do the same for someone else.
5. You are always collaborating with other women and it is so inspiring! What do you think it takes to have a great business collaboration in the western fashion industry?
The trick to successful collaborations in my eyes is the first word . . . business! Take care of business first, identifying each persons responsibilities and roles. I usually draw up a simple agreement and clarify that from the get go. Then its easy to have fun and be creative! It takes the questioning out of it and sets the tone of clear communication from day one. Not all collaborations are a “success” yet there is something to learn from everything. There is a lot of talent out there and I like to experience new things, while respecting the integrity of the lines. Sometimes I feel like the western fashion biz is the untamed frontier with no rules! There are good cowboys, sharp shooters, cattle rustlers, cowboys who just show up at meal time and those who will protect your ranch when your backs turned. Pick your posse, and if your unsure time and experience is the truth teller of all!
6. Following your Instagram stories, a person quickly realizes how much you travel! What has been your greatest adventure so far this year?
I am fortunate in that way. I am also fortunate that Matt gets itchy feet and we both have jobs that are flexible. Two weeks of this year that really jump out as fun for me, were the week at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV and the ten days of the Calgary Stampede. Both were a mixture of great events and people at the same time!
I am pretty new to this cowboy poetry world and I find it fascinating. It was really special that Matt was invited to be apart of the gathering for the first time this year. I of course am a big fan of his music, so to see others appreciate it and having been witness to the creative process of the album he released prior, was very cool. I got to meet the Braun Brothers whose music shaped my college partying life, naturally I was star struck! The friends we (Matts friends who I now claim) see in Elko are wholesome fun people. Plus, I get to see Chaz every year there and he is a cool dude!
The Calgary Stampede was a blur of laughter. A friend of mine from college, Sterling, finally got to Canada after almost a decade in the making! In addition, Paige 1912 was being carried at the Hudson Bay stores around town. Another friend commonly known on social media as the Saddle Tramp came up with her people which was another whole barrel of laughs. It was a busy ten days of fashion, rodeo and summertime.
7. I love how you and your boyfriend, singer-songwriter Matt Robertson, support each other! With such crazy schedules, horses, and multiple businesses- how do you make it work?
Truthfully, it’s pretty easy with Matt cause he isn't afraid to do laundry and that’s my least favorite task. In all seriousness though, there is a mutual respect and allowance for who we are as individuals. That includes everything from each of our creative processes and schedules to whether or not the dishes get done after breakfast. Having that in a partnership, or as I like to call him my man-panion, creates the trust that he has my back and I have his back no matter what happens. Anything is attainable then! Plus we make a point to have coffee together in the morning and visit, which is something I really enjoy.
8. From helping Matt at the ranch to barrel racing, horses are a huge influence on your life. How do you feel that affects your creativity and product development?
Will Rogers (or Winston Churchill, not sure who said it first) said “The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse”. Time with my horses feeds my creativity. As I am sure lots of people can relate, horses can be good for the soul and a nice escape from the world of emails and business demands. I have two pretty cool horses right now, one is a futurity horse I have going this year, Stevie Nicks, and the other is a futurity horse for next year, Ruby. I enjoy seeing them progress and develop. I also am very fortunate that myself (or Matt) can work cattle on them. That’s a game changing opportunity and I think really helps the young horses, regardless of the discipline. Matt’s been great and taught me lots, he is quite handy and I joke he is my “trainer”. It’s something we both are passionate about and get to do together.
As far as product development, I wear the shirts working and competing. Its a nice perk of having the business to also have a closet full of tailored fit shirts. Product testing starts at the ground level!!
9. Most relevant personal development book right now?
I do a fair amount of driving, so I have podcasts and audio books I listen to. Right now I am listening to an audio book called “Profit First” and another one I have listened to a few times called “The Joy of Business”. My favourite podcasts I subscribe too are “Mountain & Prairie”. “How I built this with Guy Raz” and “The Glenyce Show”.
10. What is your favorite quote?
I have two favorite quotes. This one is on the Paige 1912 hang tags, “To the yesterdays that are gone, to the cowboys I used to know, to the bronc busters that rode beside me, to the horses beneath me, I take off my hat. I wouldn't have missed one minute of it.” - Fannie Sperry Steele, Lady Bucking Horse Champion of the World, Calgary Stampede, 1912.
The other is, “Know the one thing, by which all else is known”. In business and in life I rely heavily on my gut instinct. This quote reminds me to stay connected or aware of the “one” thing, whether you call it God or the universe. I think that your gut instinct is a way for that “one thing” to whisper back to you.
You can reach Paige on any of the platforms below -