‘We love Pelham and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else’
Story by Emily Sparacino
Photographs by Dawn Harrison
Pelham resident Paige Burnett credits God with giving her the chance to run a business, Gifted – Handmade Gifts and More, a gift shop in Pelham. A Birmingham native, Burnett has two sons, Hagan, 20, and Hampton, 15, and she is preparing to become a grandmother to a baby girl in December. Burnett has also endured loss in her family. Her parents both died two years ago, within months of each other. She has a brother and a sister, four nephews and two nieces. She attended Briarwood and then the University of Montevallo. Burnett’s previous job at Blue Cross Blue Shield brought her to Shelby County years ago. “Now of course we love Pelham and couldn’t (imagine) living anywhere else,” Burnett said. “Well, maybe the beach.”
Shelby Living: What type of business is Gifted? When and why did it open?
Paige Burnett: Gift shop/boutique. November 2012. I lost my job at Blue Cross after 15 years and this opportunity just fell into my lap. It was a God thing.
SL: How did you know you were ready to run a business?
PB: I didn’t, God decided this for me.
SL: What was the biggest challenge in founding Gifted?
PB: Learning how to run the business part, lots of paper work. This was my first go at anything in retail.
SL: What do you consider your greatest business success to date?
PB: That we are still open, lol.
SL: What do you love most about your job?
PB: Easy, the people!
SL: Could you tell me about your handmade items? Do you make them yourself?
PB: I sell anything from handmade door hangers, local honey to handmade jewelry, soap and artwork, however I can’t take credit for any of these.
SL: You also sell other gifts at your shop. What do those items include?
PB: Southern Marsh, baby gifts, frames, wedding gifts and of course we do lots of monogramming.
SL: What was your first job? What did it teach you?
PB: The ER at Shelby Medical Center. I learned that I loved the medical field. And That’s what I did till I started Gifted.
SL: Who is your role model?
PB: My dad, he was an amazing man. He was a hard worker but so giving. He taught me so many things, but one that sticks out is he would say, “There may be things you don’t want to do, but you do them anyway ’cause they are the right thing to do!” And my dad was one that always did the right thing!
SL: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
PB: Work hard, get an education and do something you love. We spend too much time at work to not enjoy it!
SL: Who are three people, living or dead, you would like to meet? Why?
PB: My parents who are both deceased because I miss them so very much! I wasn’t ready for them to go and I still have lots of questions I would like to know answers to.
I guess my other person would be Oprah. I think she does much good for people and has an amazing and fun personality. My dad and I watched one of her shows where she took guest to Australia. That’s where we both feel in love with it and knew we wanted to go. Our plan was for my 50th birthday, it was going to be a date. My dad didn’t make it but made sure that I could go and I did. I spent two weeks there and it was simply amazing. Totally exceeded my expectations.
SL: What have you learned since opening Gifted?
PB: I’ve learned that community is important. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I believe this to be true also of a small business. I love the support Pelham has given me. This has been the best job I have ever had but it’s also been one of the hardest.