Hannah Payne
Age: 28
Current City: Denver, CO
Children: Daughter, age 2
Entrepreneurial Pursuit: Founder and Designer of Luba by Hannah Payne. Luba is a female-empowering fashion line where proceeds from the collection go directly to the LOVE Foundation, which supports local shelters that house domestic violence victims.

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

Hannah Payne: I had just graduated from Parsons School of Design a semester early and I was trying to figure out my next move. My long-term boyfriend, who was in New York with me, left the city at the end of summer to attend Law School at the University of Colorado. We had discussed the possibility of me moving after I graduated to be with him but it was also a very challenging decision.

I was offered an Assistant position with a Jewelry designer in New York, which made my decision even harder. I ultimately chose to move to Colorado and thankfully it is the reason I have my company today. Denver is vastly growing but the options for a fashion job, especially design were non-existent. I had two options: work in a different industry or create a label myself.

I had done a lot of prep work for the brand when it was just a dream of mine in an undergrad class called Social Entrepreneurship. The vision and the business plan stayed exactly the same. As I was making the decision to start the brand I remember thinking, “How hard can it be?”

Three years later I look back and it is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. Everything happens for a reason and I am so thankful I made that decision to move. I never would have been brave enough to start my own business right out of design school in New York.