Old West Style. Modern Cowgirl.
Nestled in the fields of Linden, Alberta, a quaint workshop sits full of rolls of leather, cutting tables, and an industrious sewing machine. And at the helm of it all: Paige Albrecht, crafting high-end western couture for the modern woman. Purses, backpacks, clutches, belts, and jewellery are just some of the craftsmanship she offers.
The idea for Paige Leather came to Albrecht one afternoon while attending a Spruce Meadows cattle conference.
“There were people from all over the world, so I thought: ‘I got to dress western. How do you dress western and not be cheesy?’ At the time, I couldn’t find any neat accessories around here, so I built a leather belt—one of those gunslingers that I sell.”
With a foot already in the door of trade shows, selling her art, it was a small leap to incorporate leatherwork into her repertoire. Especially with her family’s resourceful background.
“We were always playing around. My dad was always fixing halters, doing this and that. We had a great leather sewing machine,” says Albrecht. “My first belt went to England! A customer bought it, and I thought: ‘I’m onto something here.’”
But building a business is hard work and not one that just springs up overnight. In fact, over a five-year period, Albrecht continued to sell her artwork and take advantage of her training as a hairdresser. When she’d successfully built up a reputation with customers and became busy with trade shows, she was able to turn her attention solely to Paige Leather. Her strong rural roots, however, were never left behind. They still bring her back to help work her family’s cow/calf operation, reminding her just why representing this lifestyle through her art is so important to her.
Her embodiment of the brand is really the key to her success. With all the online competition and mass-produced products out there, the secret to standing out in the crowd is to be authentically herself.
“I think a large part of being a successful artist is that people want to know you,” says Albrecht. “Trade shows are a necessary thing. You get out and you meet people. They get to see your product and feel it. Nothing I make I wouldn’t wear. I’ve always had a big vision or a good idea of what my style is. [It’s] that really classic, not trendy, but you could wear it forever [style].”
That toughness is a large part of her message. In a throwaway world, Albrecht boldly makes things that last the test of time.
“When I think of this business, my driver has always been that I’m very independent and I want to make a go of it myself. So, everything I build and everything about my brand is being a strong woman. And that’s a part of farm women. Farm women are so tough. I hope that part of my branding has helped relay that message.”
Albrecht sees the future of Paige Leather incorporating the unique styles of all women as she takes on more custom orders, working with women one on one to showcase their personalities through leather. So, whether these women are working a ranch or commanding a boardroom, Paige Leather has eye-catching statement pieces that share stories around the world.
But the heart of Paige Leather will always remain—one industrious woman with a leather sewing machine, pouring herself into her craftsmanship.
“When I’m in doubt, what else can [I] be, but genuine? That’s always what I fall back on,” says Albrecht. “Just be myself—that’s all this is.”
To learn more about Paige Leather, watch our interview with Paige here.
This has been a Home Grown segment, brought to you by connectFirst Credit Union, showcasing Alberta producers, artisans, and farming communities.