Paige Kirby’s passion project has been in the works for two years. In the fall of 2018, she began toying with the idea of starting her own fashion boutique, but as a full-time student at Ohio University involved in a variety of student organizations, the dream never came to fruition. But, it was always at the back of Paige’s mind and during the summer of 2019, she finally applied for a business license.
Still, Paige was only halfway convinced that she could balance being a business owner with her classes and it wasn’t until June 2020 that she launched Whatever Makes You Happy, an online fashion boutique. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paige lost her summer internship but realized there was no better time to put in the work needed for her entrepreneurial debut.
“Even though the world was crazy, I took [losing my internship] as a sign that I should start this business,” Paige says.
Whatever Makes You Happy specializes in trendy day-to-day fashion items like oversized sweaters and cropped t-shirts. Paige invested $600 that she had been saving into sourcing the best quality and most affordable products for her consumers, keeping in mind what drives herself as a consumer.
“The reason I wanted to create this was because I never feel like Instagram trends will ever look good on me,” she says. “I wanted to create a way for girls like me to know that they can take those trends and put their own personal style to it and still feel confident.”
This mission quickly resonated with a lot of people and Whatever Makes You Happy gained over 200 followers on Instagram after just a few days of business. Still, pursuing this project at just 21 years old has presented challenges for Paige, but none of which she has not been able to overcome and she hopes that other ambitious women will mirror her mindset.
“I think it’s important for people our age to know that we’re setting up building blocks for the rest of our lives … While we’re in college we’re in the best community that is going to support you,” she says. “You’re never too young to start.”