News Article: Young Sask. entrepreneur fills winter boots niche


A young Saskatoon entrepreneur has won an award after solving a winter problem for Canadian women.

Anastasia Szalasznyj, 21, is the artistic mind behind Winter Girl Boots and Accessories.

“I could never find stylish, warm boots to match my outfit and after looking around, I realized a lot of ladies have this problem,” Szalasznyj said.

The University of Saskatchewan student decided that designing a boot for Canadian winters would fill a need and last November she launched her company.

The boots are designed with vegan leather, have fleece lining and deep grips.

“I never wanted to sacrifice style during the winter and that is something that is so difficult given the regular footwear choices that are out there for women,” she said in a phone interview  from Toronto, where she is further testing her products.

Szalasznyj was named Saskatchewan’s 2014 Student Entrepreneur Provincial Champion by Enactus Canada, the country’s largest student leadership development organization. She will be in Calgary Feb. 28 to compete against three other entrepreneurs in Western Canada at regionals.

If she wins, she will compete at the 2014 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Calgary on April 28 for a chance to win $10,000 and take home the John Dobson Cup.

“It’s really exciting for me. I can’t wait to go and represent Saskatchewan,” she said.

“It’s been a really fun journey this past year.”

Two weeks before her company launched, she won the pitch party hosted by W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence.  The annual event allows local entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations.

Szalasznyj, a fourth-year arts and science student studying modern languages with an entrepreneurship minor, said she is confident heading into regionals because of her success at the pitch party.

Winter Girl has more than 3,700 likes on the Facebook page since its launch.

“We’ve been so busy. We’ve already had repeat customers and have been getting good feedback from the customers saying they are going to order again,” she said, adding she would like to expand the company to include matching purses and accessories.