After attending Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC for Health Sciences, Paige landed what she thought was her dream internship at the Fraser Health Head Office. She quickly realized that it wasn’t the environment she needed to be in to thrive authentically, and felt a pull to seek activities outside of work to fulfill her creative needs.
Paige started to create handmade gemstone necklaces with her best friend, and after wearing them to her serving job, found herself hounded by customers and coworkers asking where they could purchase them.
That was Paige’s first sign she needed to try something new. In a two week period, she designed a product line, shot an editorial campaign and launched a website for Gem & Co. She also curated a blog on Tumblr to fit the brand and started to send direct messages to members of the Tumblr and Instagram community, which clued her into the importance of influencer marketing.
Both brands saw similar growth and accomplishments to Gem & Co, but in early 2019 Paige began to feel an urge to create something bigger.
She realized that although she loved the brands she created, she had never given her full attention to the reason WHY she created them, or what her true passion was. This entrepreneurial babe recognized that what she truly loved was marketing. Pulse Media opened as a result.
Today, Paige thrives off of being able to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and helping them drive real business results through Pulse Media’s hands-on marketing approach.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Not at all! I always had a socialist lens on life. Especially once I majored in Health Sciences, I quickly realized the amount of suffering and disparity there is in our world. My main goal was to reduce these health inequities.
The concept of business actually repulsed me. I was under the impression it was a greedy money game of conglomerates who didn’t think about the social and cultural aspects of living. Interestingly enough though, I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in the hotel and restaurant business.
This all changed in my third year of university when my best friend saw how creatively unfulfilled I was in my program and encouraged me to begin making necklaces to fill the void. I wore the necklaces I made to my serving job, and both my customers and coworkers were always asking where they could buy them. I was still in the mindset that making jewelry was only a hobby, but my business partner (and boyfriend) Harrison pushed me to think bigger.
I expanded my necklaces into a full jewelry collection, and Gem & Co was born! From there, we grew the business with a lot of what I call “sweat equity”. I was constantly on the phone reaching out to people and finding out what customers wanted, and was able to create an Ambassador program as a result. That was huge for us and allowed us to hire other people to manage our social media and customer service duties while we worked on marketing and creative. We tested the sweat equity theory again with our next venture Monarch Tokyo and saw similar results. By early 2018 Knox Dogwear was live, and we had a total of three eCommerce businesses on the go.
It was around that time I began to notice a decline in my mental health. On paper I was thriving, but in reality I was anxious, depressed, and disconnected. I realized that while I loved my companies, I was lacking a lifestyle balance and missing the “why” behind my work.
With another nudge from Harrison, I started Pulse Media Inc., a full-service digital agency that had projections to earn $1 million dollars within the first six months of operation.
What does Babes Supporting Babes mean to you?
Babes supporting babes to me means recognizing the perseverance, strength, care and range of skills women have. It means appreciating the work women do not only as income earners but also as nurturing caretakers. I truly think we have a special gift!
I also think this means educating the men in our lives about the everyday battles we face simply because we’re women. Personally, the men in my life (my father and my partner) have always kept an equal playing field and never made me feel different, or that I had to restrict my thoughts or activities because I’m a woman. For that, I’m thankful.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
At first, when my work was mainly focused on eCommerce, it was the fact that I had the flexibility to have an office anywhere in the world; on a beach in Bali; at Bubble Tea in Toyko; or in a cafe Vancouver.
With Pulse Media it’s the connection I have with other business owners. Managing a digital agency has allowed me to meaningfully expand my network while fulfilling my need for connection. The best part is all of my clients are female entrepreneurs in the wellness field. #babessupportingbabes
What new trends are you noticing in your industry?
Influencer marketing is REAL! The way I scaled my eCommerce stores was by creating a monthly gifting plan for over 500 influencers and content creators. The difference between then to now is the kind of influencer you choose to partner with; the micro vs. macro debate.
When I started, I didn’t look for funding. I used $500 from my own savings. With the money I gifted product—without any expectations attached— to micro-influencers on a macro scale.
I targeted micro-influencers instead of going for influencers with a 500K-1M+ following whose audiences were already conditioned to expect paid collaborations. I would suggest creating an influencer list of your everyday person and go WIDE.
What advice would you give someone starting their own business?
Just do it—but strategically. I am a HUGE organizer, so I’d suggest making a GANTT Chart to start. Set up your calendar, your marketing plan, your automation system, your education for future employees, launch dates and anything else for the next 6-48 months.
Calculate your numbers FIRST. My dad is an accountant and now a treasurer, so to him numbers are very important for the security and longevity of a business. Spreadsheets are your friend—use them to your advantage. And don’t forget about marketing!
When I launched my first website in October 2016 I wondered why the site visits were so low. How come people weren’t flocking to it? Oh yeah, they didn’t KNOW about it.
Set a launch date and don’t push it back. Your business will always be a work in progress to you.
Most importantly, what is your WHY? Money will come and go, but this year I found out my sense of fulfillment comes from way more than money. For your vision to last and be fueled by passion, dive deep into WHY your business is so important to you, and how it will meaningfully impact others.
What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
It’s a tie between moving out of my parents house (without really telling them), and traveling to Europe alone for 2 months at 19 years old. In both situations, I was forced to learn a lot about myself. The most daring yet rewarding experience was the opportunity to spend time with myself.
What activities fill you up the most?
Yoga, a nice day outdoors with @pippathedox, surfing, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family. You can find us at a local brewery or eating sushi!
What was your initial goal when you graduated from university?
I thought I was going to be a project manager at Fraser Health, and for three solid years that was my goal. Then in my 4th year of university, I completed an internship at the head office and quickly realized that the environment and work culture were not going to work for me. Big surprise! Then I had to quickly figure out what I was going to do next.
Do you have a life mantra or motto that you live by?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.”
This is my most recent life mantra. My mentor walked me through the 12 Step AA program to work through my clinical depression and anxiety. We flipped it for mental health as opposed to substance use.
What was your inspiration to create Pulse Media?
I was clinically depressed and suffering from generalized anxiety. Call that the inspiration for something more. A big component of what I was missing in my other businesses was a real connection to people.
I was craving raw, vulnerable and organic face-to-face conversations. Because of the eCommerce businesses, I was financially independent and could have anything I wanted but what was missing was real connection and the ability to serve others.
Who are your mentors and what have they taught you?
My mom. She’s a two-time breast cancer survivor and has taught me strength and the power of the mind. She always says, “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” Whether it’s for your body, your work or your life goals. The only thing that will ever hold you back is your self-talk.
What quality do you most admire in a person?
Transparency! I love real and raw people and authentic conversations. Skip the weather talk.
What are three apps that make your life easier?
What differentiates Pulse Media from other creative agencies?
With the eCommerce stores, we’ve had some huge wins and some even bigger losses. All learning opportunities. I call those three businesses my MBA. At Pulse Media, it’s a tried and true method of what works. I’ve put my money where my mouth is.
If you could leave your career with one legacy, what would it be?
For others to know that they can do it too, whatever ‘it’ may be!
I’ve started to share my journey, plus the daily ins and outs—and not just the wins—on Instagram because so many people have sent me notes congratulating me and share that they feel inspired by what I’m doing.
Little do they know that I still struggle sometimes. Of course, I have dreams and map them out, but it’s also about the power of the mind and not holding yourself back.
Keep up with Paige on Instagram @paige.sandher
Introduction written by Lindsay Pearce
Photography by Ryan Pugsley