Alaska Native turned Fashion Industry Entrepreneur & Founder of BootRoxx: Heather Sallan Entrepreneurship / Stories

You would never guess one of Reno’s most stylish and motivated entrepreneurs hails from Anchorage, Alaska. It’s okay, because she doesn’t believe it either. Growing up she felt like a fish out of water. She craved big cities, fashion, culture and starting her own business. She found she was a more inspired worker than she was a student after landing her first jobs in sales.

Growing up I craved big cities, fashion, culture and starting my own business.

From then on, Heather Sallan continued to work in sales after originally starting in the retail and fashion industry. She finished high school at 17 and promptly moved to Long Beach where she entered design school. She wasn’t studying to become a designer; instead, she focused on learning the merchandising and business side of the industry. She studied the business of fashion design for two years initially with the purpose to one day have her own store.

She was a heath highvisual thinker and thought working in a merchandising and sales role in the fashion industry was the perfect fit. In her early 20’s she traveled between Los Angeles and New York City with the company she worked for. She quickly learned that it was a cut throat industry and grappled with whether she fit with that culture.

Heather has always been clear about what she wanted in life and has stayed true to that vision. As soon as she realized the cut throat world in the LA/New York fashion industry was not for her, she took some time off to explore other possibilities. Her love for skiing first brought her to France where she skied and enjoyed access to many places for travel. At 22, she moved to Lake Tahoe and made it her home, eventually meeting her husband, Jeff.

Jeff and Heather jumped into the real estate industry and she spent 21 years listing and selling homes throughout Lake Tahoe and Reno. For many years she sold real estate both in California and Nevada, but it was not until recently that her husband took over all the real estate business so that she could launch BootRoxx, a business she has been focused on developing for 3 years now. The company has grown and is emerging in her industry as a result of her incredibly hard work selling and promoting the brand at festivals and country music award shows.

It has been a great year for BootRoxx with the opportunity to sell and promote at country music award shows like the ACMs and CMAs.

Heather wanted to add more creativity into her life and took from her previous experience and passion for the fashion industry to launch a startup. Initially she was working on another product line when the BootRoxx idea suddenly occurred. She and her former partner were waist deep in designing funky sneakers but had an epiphany at the sight of cowboy boots: it would be great to be able to have your favorite boots and change the way they look or give your favorite pair of boots new life. That was the moment that the idea for BootRoxx was born (e.g., I personally prefer the style with fringe).

In these short three years, she has learned some important tips for excellence in launching a startup. Heather said you must stay true to your vision. You have to deal and maneuver quickly in chaos and challenge adversity. It’s important that you don’t get bogged down by unimportant things and, instead, spend time on what is productive. The focus should be on business building versus the busy parts of business. Just because you have fear or discomfort, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong and you should stop.

People spend all day in their office keeping busy instead of going out in the world and building business.

Now that she can reflect back on earlier life experiences, Heather says that growing up in Alaska taught her to develop relationships with great people and to be part of a larger community. She loves the connections Reno offers and doesn’t feel the need to be living anywhere else to compete in the fashion industry. It’s been important for Heather to raise her children in a tight-knit community like Reno and she knows that living in bigger cities would have compromised that.


Heather Sallan is the Founder of  BootRoxx

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Photo credit: Peter Walker


  1. Reid Lunceford Says: April 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    This is a really interesting interview Kylie! Thanks for the great post!

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