When Hayley Paige ’07 tied the knot in 2015, she wore not one, not two, but ﬁve wedding gowns over the course of her nuptial weekend. Excessive? Maybe. Until you know the name of the gowns’ designer: Hayley Paige.“If I’d had more time, I would’ve worn more dresses,” Paige says.
Paige isn’t the only one wearing her gowns. With a bachelor’s degree in Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Paige has enjoyed success as a bridal designer and currently sits at the helm of three lines for JLM Couture: Hayley Paige, Blush by Hayley Paige, and most recently, Jim Hjelm.
“I’ve always been very attracted to the romantic side and the emotional value of the wedding dress,” Paige says. “I like the specialness of it.”
Paige started with JLM Couture in 2011. That year, David’s Bridal shut down its Priscilla of Boston line. Paige saw a void in the market and decided she was going to ﬁll it. She brought her Hayley Paige line to JLM and got the job.
“Timing is so important in life,” she says. “When you see an opportunity, and the timing feels right, it’s something you should absolutely capitalize on.”
Four years earlier, Paige was presented with a similar pivotal opportunity. It was her senior year at Cornell, and she was showing a 10-piece bridal collection in the Cornell Design League fashion show. At the end of the show, she was offered a job by a member of the audience. After graduation, Paige moved to New York City, and started working on the ﬂoor in the pattern room of a fashion house. She realized quickly that wasn’t where she wanted to be.
“It was a great experience, though, because it tested me,” she says. “It gave me a tough skin for New York City.”
From there, Paige started shopping her resume to bridal houses in the city and got a job at Priscilla of Boston as an assistant and associate designer for the Melissa Sweet team. She was there for four years before approaching JLM in 2011. That time at Melissa Sweet was valuable – not only for sharpening her design skills but for learning about the business side of the ﬁeld.
“In bridal, when somebody knows a dress is selling, the ﬁrst thing they want to do is copy it,” Paige says. “You have to stay ten steps ahead.”
To Paige, at least one of those steps has to do with social media, and she brings more than a bit of millennial savvy to her work – not just in the designs, but in the buzz she generates around her brand.
Hashtag #justgotpaiged helps customers share the love on social, and her new line of wedding-themed emojis, called Holy Matrimoji, buoy the brand before, during, and after the big day.
“It’s a pretty sparkly and supportive industry,” Paige says. “It’s a cool place to be.”