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Handcrafted innovative skating gear

A national short track team skater and an Olympic medalist and U entrepreneur student are modernizing the speed skating market.

Exploring the culture and advancement of the fastest sport on ice, NALZA is dedicated to the production of premium handcrafted skating gear. With the combination of functionality, durability and premium design, NALZA is modernizing and changing the speed skating market.

Jae Jae Yoo, a national short track team skater, and J.R. Celski, an Olympic medalist and entrepreneur student at the University of Utah.

The co-founders of NALZA are J.R. Celski, an Olympic medalist and entrepreneur student at the University of Utah, and Jae Jae Yoo, a national short track skater.

The inspiration started in 2017 when they realized it was time to make a change in the skating industry. For protective purposes, many athletes would simply cover their skates with a towel rag. Yoo found this wasn’t effective or advanced enough, so he began making his own skate covers.

“There were not products in the market that could cover equipment for protective purposes,” Yoo said. “They also weren’t advanced enough and didn’t look cool.”

With hard work, determination and collaborating their talents, NALZA took flight.

The word NALZA is originated from Korea, translating to the English language as to “take flight.” And that is exactly what NALZA has done. Their products are taking flight in 40 different countries around the world by the highest level of athletes in the sport.

NALZA is a growing brand throughout the world. Offering many products such as protective covers for ice skates, gloves and apparel. All can be customized with variations of colors, and flags making them unique to the user and teams.

NALZA’s next step will be branching into more established sports, including figure skating and hockey. And will be working hand in hand with these professionals to make the best product possible for them.

About a year ago, Yoo was looking for opportunities that NALZA could receive funding without giving up equity of their company. He did some research and found the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

NALZA has received grants and awards from Lassonde’s monthly GetSeeded program and by scoring into the top 20 of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “Getting into the top 20 was a huge step for us,” Celski said.

Yoo said, “The biggest thing I have learned throughout this journey is how to problem solve, and being able to have obstacles and work around them.”

Learn more about them here.