On this videocast, Women of Today’s Manufacturing (WOTM) president, Jaclyn Kolodziej, speaks with Anastasia Kraft, Founder of Xena Workwear.

Xena Workwear is a steel to shoe company that designs and develops stylish, comfortable, responsibly-made safety workwear to help professional women express their personality and confidence.

“I never planned to make fashionable safety shoes,” claims Kraft.

Kraft, who studied at the International Project Engineering in Germany, moved to the United States after she received her degree and started working for a consulting company that worked with manufacturers on multi-million dollar projects.  

“I lead teams of 5 to 20 men. I had to feel confident so I dressed professionally,” says Kraft. “I started this company out of my own frustration, working in a manufacturing environment where the only options were bulky, manly work boots. What you wear has a major impact on your self-confidence, which in turn impacts a number of other job-related factors, including performance, promotability, and long-term career success.”

Kraft knew that a more versatile category of personal protection equipment and workwear was needed because of the differences in the female anatomy.

For two years she dedicated herself to rigorous development and testing processes to develop the future of safety and footwear regulations that met women’s needs. 

“I created a business plan, found a designer, and learned about the American safety standards,” says Kraft. 

After 6 to 8 months to get through 5 rounds of prototyping, Kraft and her team launched the Xena shoeline in May of 2019. 

Watch the full video to learn more about Kraft’s journey and the challenges she faces during the pandemic. 

Visit Xenaworkware.com to purchase your own safety shoes. 

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