Anya Berlova is a junior at Leeds School of Business studying finance. She’s very engaged with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and involved in cross-campus entrepreneurship activities, including the CU Boulder Entrepreneurship Passport program. We caught up with Anya to learn about her unique approach to combating bullying and her upcoming product launch party.
A bully-free society
Anya’s startup, Anya Berlova, works to combat bullying by encouraging people to show their uniqueness and unique selves. She believes that one of the keys to a bullying-free society is for every person to build confidence around their individuality and not succumb to any fear surrounding the expression of who they are. At the core of the company are its mascots, Sheepers and Puggie, two quirky and adventurous individuals who are not afraid to stand out.
Anya started the company as a freshman at CU when she decided to use her illustrations to support individuality and spread positivity through products such as canvasboards and mugs, which she sold during the holiday season at Nordstrom and during fairs.
“As someone who’s had experience with bullying, I’ve always felt passionate about the topic of bullying and decided to act on it and raise awareness for this cause. I think it is something that affects many people at some point in their lives in various forms.”
During Anya’s sophomore year, she integrated anti-bullying initiatives within her startup’s mission and produced an anti-bullying short film that is currently in post-production and will be released in 2020. Most recently, she was invited to a university in Tokyo to present on the topic of Women’s Entrepreneurship and was also selected as one of three US startups to participate in the HSE International Startups and Spin-Offs Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A business model that gives back
In order to combat bullying in schools, Anya began working on designing a technology to teach children anti-bullying strategies and help them develop their self-confidence and individuality. As a way to further support uniqueness and raise awareness for the mission, she developed a shirt and tote bag line that features Sheepers and Puggie. A percentage of profits from each product will go towards various anti-bullying and mental health organizations, including (but not limited to):
STOMP Out Bullying
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Taking advantage of local resources
In her freshman year, Anya pitched to the Get Seed Funding team and used the seed money she received to buy animation software for the creation of an anti-peer pressure animated film that will bring Sheepers and Puggie to life. As a short and fun example, Anya created this animation in honor of the Bohemian Rhapsody film release featuring both characters.
She’s also found a strong support network both on- and off-campus, working closely with Zayo Group and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. With the support of Erick Mueller, she was one of the three startups chosen to represent the US for the HSE International Startups & Spin-Offs Festival this June in St. Petersburg, Russia. The festival brought together youth startups from all over the world, and she was honored to be chosen.
Advice to current students
From the book #GIRLBOSS, “We control our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives.”
It’s best to go out there and start doing something. It may not be perfect and perhaps not exactly what you expected, but it’s much better than to sit back and do nothing. If you’re being proactive and staying motivated, at some point, something’s BOUND to go right.
Attend Anya’s Product Launch Party
Mark your calendars for Anya’s upcoming launch party on Tuesday, December 3. You’ll get a first look at brand new apparel and totes! Hosted by Zayo Group, this party will feature:
Speaker panel on How to Build Confidence
Networking opportunity with Zayo Group, CU Boulder, and the local entrepreneurship community
Product giveaways and contests!