Paije Ottoson (BMgt/BEd ’04)
“When someone shines, they have a certain confidence to them —they are happy in what they are doing and with their life — and it’s contagious.”
It was an a-ha moment that set Paije Ottoson’s life on a whole new trajectory.
“I remember sitting in my office one day and saying, ‘I just want to paint.’” Soon after, Paije left her career in banking and set out on a new path, combining her education and business background with her passion for art.
After months of planning and hard work (from conceiving the business plan right down to laying the studio flow), Smudge Art Studio Inc. opened its doors in downtown Lethbridge. “As children, we all create. Then, somewhere along the way, some of that gets lost,” Paije says. “When artists come into Smudge, they can feel that inspiration again.”
In only 18 months, Smudge has attracted accolades including: the 2014 Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDC Business of the Year Award in New Venture/New Business; 2015 Best of the Best in Best Place to Take the Kids; and 2015 Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge in the General Stream category; and most importantly, is inspiring artists of all ages — including Paije.