Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss? For KU alumna Paige Albert, the idea of running a business had long been an exciting possibility for a future career. So when approached about buying a small bridal boutique in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, only six months after being hired on and with a year of university study still ahead of her, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. In January 2018, Paige became the new owner of Something White Bridal Boutique.
Check out Paige’s advice for aspiring Jayhawk entrepreneurs, and discover how she was able to pursue her passion with a major in Communication Studies, a minor in Business, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship from KU.
Where are you from? And why did you decide to come to KU?
I’m from Andale, Kansas – just outside of Wichita. I decided to come to KU because my mom is Jayhawk Alumni and I knew KU would make me a more well-rounded person. I also liked that Lawrence is far enough from home but still close enough to do a day trip if I ever needed to. AND, the basketball atmosphere isn’t bad either. Lawrence has always felt like home to me, even before I came to KU!
Why did you choose your major and minor? And how do they complement each other?
After switching my major a million times, I chose communication because it seemed general enough to not close any opportunities off. Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time, something general seemed like a good choice. My business minor was more of what I wanted to do, but didn’t add any time onto my already prolonged time at KU. I think the two complement each other in every way possible.
Tell us about your business, Something White Bridal Boutique. How did you decide to start your own business, and what has that experience been like?
Something White Bridal opened its doors in 2014 in the Crossroads District of Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Something White caters exclusively to brides and offers a diverse selection of bridal gowns from designers around the world. We are a small, intimate boutique and pride ourselves on giving our brides the best experience possible, from the day we meet until after their big day!
I began my journey at Something White in 2016 and was approached about purchasing the boutique just six months after my initial start date. As a full-time student, taking on a fully functioning business sounded terrifying, but I truly believe that life is about opportunity and it doesn’t always come knocking, so when it does you have to go for it. I officially became the owner of Something White in January of 2018 and haven’t looked back!
So far, my experience has been full of growth in every way. From learning how to manage a team to renovating the boutique and juggling my last year of college and the shop all at once – it’s been a whirlwind. I can honestly say that Something White Bridal is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and the friendships and experiences I’ve encountered in just 14 months makes me so excited for the future.
How did your KU degree prepare you for your current job?
I think that KU made me so much more open minded as a person. Learning about other cultures and ways of life is beneficial in any career and comes in handy every day. I also think that I learned really practical skills within my major and minor.
What was your favorite class at KU? And why?
ENTR 303 with Charlotte Tritch and COMS 440 with Adrianne Kunkle – FOR SURE. I learned so much about marketing with Charlotte and with Adrianne I gained a more worldly view of struggles I will never experience.
Give a shout-out to a professor, mentor, advisor, or someone at KU who has helped you?
Charlotte Tritch and Lisa Bergeron were both amazing to me. I learned so much from both of them and they showed so much grace and understanding when it came to my schedule of school and work. Plus, I’m pretty sure they are the reason I get to be a part of fun features for KU like this!
What advice would you give to KU students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs?
Do it! It’s so incredibly worth it in every way. Make as many connections as you can and don’t take “no” for an answer. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
What would you tell your freshman self?
GO TO CLASS. SERIOUSLY. And also, it’s cool if you don’t get an “A” on everything. It’s not the end of the world, just get through it and learn from it. Again, make connections and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
What’s your best KU memory?
My freshman year was the best year ever. Living in the dorms was a blast and I loved every second of it. Every basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse was also amazing and I’m really bummed about not having student tickets anymore. BUT, singing the Alma Matter at graduation was amazing. It’s so bittersweet to leave KU but the feeling of being Jayhawk Alumni is such a proud moment and it’s so fun to experience with your classmates!
What motivates you?
My mom. She’s the hardest working person I know and exemplifies a class act to me. I want to be the best version of myself to make her proud and I want to provide for my future family the way my mom has for us. I would be nowhere without my mom and I owe everything to her.
Be like Paige. When opportunity knocks, answer. For more information, explore the Department of Communication Studies, the School of Business, and KU Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Kansas. Also, check out Paige’s business, Something White Bridal Boutique.