Paige Callaway is a force to be reckoned with and a true girl boss
With a Western Twist’s Centre Arena Series is all about girl bosses, women who chart their own course, and competitors. Paige Callaway is all of the above, and will be the first clothing designer I have interviewed for the series - but she is so, so much more than that! She’s a professional trick rider, barrel racer, helms four different clothing lines and is also a certifiable girl crush. I mean, any girl that says to throw on some large turquoise rings and your favourite shade of lipstick to finish off an outfit is good in my books! Even just compiling this interview was tough for me because she is up to so many different cool and exciting projects that I was about to split this into it’s own series! But, for the sake of keeping you guys guessing just a little, let me introduce you into the wild and wonderful world of Paige Callaway.
Paige, with her beloved Grandpa
Callaway grew up outside of Calgary, Alberta in a town called Priddis. She currently calls Okotoks, AB home, but is constantly on the road. She has already been back and forth to the states 13 times this year, so she admits that her home is “where I do laundry and sleep when I am around.” She’s the middle child of three girls, graduated High School in Okotoks, and then went on to attend college in Odessa and Stephenville, TX. On an average day in Paige’s life, you will find her working on a variety of projects - Pursue Victory, C5 Brand and Paige 1912 all have big things coming on the horizon. On good days, she will take a break and go for a ride, but most days you will find her responding to emails, running errands, designing, sewing or on the phone. She says, “the thing with working for yourself, is that you essentially work for so many other people. Your success and income is based on other peoples acceptance of your service or product. Some days, plans can change in a heart beat and being flexible is key. I have learned, I do better when I give myself time to go through what I would like to accomplish in the day, figure out where I am personally and then work. As much as work integrates into my life, its important to not loose yourself in it. A lesson I learned the hard way.”
Before she was a business woman, Paige was a horse woman. When she was younger, her grandfather sowed the seeds of her passion for horses. He was a salt of the earth cowboy that taught her love and respect for animals, and set an example for how one should live their life. From her earlier years of gathering cattle in the forestry with her grandpa, to showing horses and being involved in 4-H, Paige quickly found her passion in the form of barrel racing. Her mother had barrel racer, Toni Dixon, come over to help her when she was younger and that kick started a sequence of events that led her to rodeoing. One of her earliest successes with horses was with a 3 year old palomino that she was given to ride when she was 11. His name was Trigger, and they went on to win everything there was to win showing a horse at that age, and then she started him on barrels. She then moved into rodeo with him, and competed on him in all events through the first few years of high school rodeo. She roped on him in college, and now her mother is roping on him in SR Pro Rodeos! It was while at rodeos, Paige would watch the Trick Riders perform for the crowds, which peaked her interest and shortly thereafter, she was practicing and honing her skills as a trick rider!
Paige is not only an accomplished designer, but also a trick rider
From her earliest start, she had big dreams in the rodeo world, and one of those goals was to run barrels and trick ride at the same pro rodeo. She managed to do this a few times, once in Bryan TX and again in Utah. However, in Utah, she admits she should have been a little smarter. She got herself into a wreck trick riding, and then had to get on her horse to barrel race right after. It may not have been the smartest life choice, but she was hell bent on accomplishing her goal multiple times that she did what she thought she needed too. Her fondest equine memory also falls under the trick riding category. In High School, Paige along with RaeLynn Armstrong entered the group competition together at the World Trick Riding Competition in Oklahoma. During the finals they had a very solid performance, it was one of the funnest shows she had ever done, her horse ran hard and she felt her tricks were really solid. After leaving the arena, she got goosebumps and felt as if her grandpa would have been proud of her, and that he was watching down on her in that moment. She ended up winning that world championship, and she says, “it will be a memory I think of forever, and I am sure Grandpa would have been thinking, ‘she sure has come a long ways from gathering cattle in the forestry!’” Although she was hell bent in the world of trick riding and rodeo, her passion for creating and designing evolved slower. She always loved designing, but never really thought she could make a living doing it. For the majority of her life she bought into the idea of the 9-5 job, not the 7 am to 10 pm kind that you have when you work for yourself. Paige was always creating though, her first foray into design was sewing her own scrunchies as a kid. In high school she would embellish her own rodeo shirts and even made herself a “sweet” pair of Sid Steiner jeans. Steiner was a bull dogger who was famous for wearing crazy and loud prints, like a sequin shirt during the NFR. Paige’s replica jeans were bleached from the knee down and faded to their regular colour, and in her opinion, “Sid did the tie die look right, and I followed his lead!” She also drew inspiration from Audi Roy, the designer behind the line, and now storefront in Nanton, called Classic Rodeo. Paige would save up her money to buy pieces from her line, and still thinks she is the “coolest lady ever.”
An image released from her upcoming line, Paige 1912
Paige currently helms four brands, Wild Rose Clothing, Pursue Victory, Paige 1912 and C5 Brand. The first, Wild Rose Clothing, is where she does more custom work. She recently made a wedding dress, and has also done custom jean jackets. She calls this brand a “fun, creative space, basically to do what ever I feel the notion to do.” In 2014, Wild Rose Clothing found itself racing down the alley of the Thomas and Mack with a custom designed outfit for World Champion Barrel Racer, Fallon Taylor, after Paige won a contest to design an outfit for her. She called it a “confidence booster and a cool experience” for her career. Pursue Victory, on the other hand, has a lot more structure as a brand. It’s a large company and the goal is to bring the most functional shirt to the table, while also looking classy and professional. Paige 1912 requires a lot of design and is where she has been able to collaborate with others to create a complete line from clothing and jewelry to hats and purses. Then there is C5 Brand, which is completely different, as it is a brand that she has been contracted to build for C5 Rodeo company. It’s a totally innovative, fresh idea for the sport of rodeo. She says, “It’s a brand with a goal that I haven’t heard being done before. If I were to compare it to something, I would say its like a pro sports team merchandise line, except for bucking horses.” Personally, I have always loved and lusted after the Pursue Victory line of Power Collar shirts, which seamlessly transition from the arena to the office. The shirts themselves were born from a passion for garment construction, and the lack thereof in the western world. When she was launching PV, there was space on the market for a brand to focus solely on quality and functionality, plus, she was able to bridge her equine world with the fashion industry. The name, Pursue Victory, is also important to Paige, and she says, it brought her a lot of realization. She says, “Everyone has a different perception of what their victory is. In the barrel racing world many people dream of running down the alley at the Thomas & Mack. There maybe just as many that would love to make the NBHA finals or place in the 3D. Its not about what victory is to others, its about what it is to you and what you are doing to get there. For most of my life I had this assumption every person wanted to be the best in the world. One day I was talking to Mom and telling her about this rodeo and that rodeo in the states and she said she had no interest in being on the road that much. My mind was blown! That really drove home the point to me, and whether the arena or in life, its about doing your best and being your best. Now in all fairness to my Mom, i think if we were discussing roping she would sing a different tune!”
One of the designs for the C5 Brand, bucking horse Virgil
Now Paige is finding herself in the midst of launching and promoting her two newest lines. C5 Brand was launched at the beginning of October. Paige took some of the most famous bucking stock that C5 Rodeo has to offer - horses like F31 Virgil, 80 Rockstar and D39 Make Up Face, and turned them into artistic and fashionable renderings of themselves with the help of former Calgary Stampede Princess, and Tattoo Artist, Whitney Thompson, of Copper Top Arts. It is one of the most innovative ideas when it comes to branding in the rodeo and western fashion world that I’ve ever seen - you need to check it out! Then, Paige 1912 will be launched in Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo in December. She is also working on a launch for the line next summer which will be a fashion show, bronc riding AND concert. I mean, again, how cool is that people?! Meanwhile, her dreams for the future are big when it comes to her self-named line. She hopes to one day see this line in the racks of Nordstroms or the Bay. She calls it, “a very unique line” and says, “the timing is good with the trends of mainstream fashion. I think Paige 1912 has a lot to offer with the variety within the line itself.”
So, what does someone that helms four different brands of clothing, two of which are currently launching, do in her spare time? Not a lot. She has a nice horse currently and had plans on rodeoing this year, but life got busy and her horse, “Chase” was turned out. Lately, her goals with horses have shifted from achieving success to enjoying a mental break with her equine companions. She says, “life is about choices, and I am confident that the time invested now, will give me the freedom in the future to go down the rodeo road and achieve some other goals I have for myself.” In life, Paige loves travelling, seeing new places, experiencing new things and meeting new people. Her work allows her the excuse to hit the road to fulfill a lot of these things!
Paige, alongside Paige Albrecht, who is a collaborator with Paige 1912
Paige has learnt a lot through rodeoing, trick riding, and designing. When she first started her brands, she discovered how much courage it takes to press on when people criticize or questions what you are doing. She looks back on those days, and now wishes she had tougher skin back then, but these days is able to manage the criticism and soldier on. As far as her advice for woman that are embarking on following their own dreams, she says to keep your eyes on the prize. “Some days aren’t fun, and what keeps me going is the big picture. Both company wise and personally. Each are important to know and work towards!” What I really like about Paige is how down to earth she is, after working through this interview and all the questions I threw at her, she said she truly enjoyed the reflection it allowed her to have on her own path. She says that, “As a busy person, and many I am sure can relate, we don’t often celebrate where we are at. I am a much different person than I was a couple years ago when I started Pursue Victory. Being an entrepreneur is a definite personal learning journey and I am lucky to have so many great people along for the ride!” Finally, I would just like to extend my thanks to Paige Callaway for being involved with The Centre Arena series. She is a wicked example of how you can merge so many different passions you have in life into a path that sets you on an incredible and fulfilling journey.