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Syracuse University student uses classroom lessons to become entrepreneur, open online business
Winter Hat Shoppe born from combination of Syracuse snow and untapped Internet market

Sitting in his information studies classes amidst the frigid Syracuse winters, Ricky Podsiadlo formulated the idea for his personal business combining the weather and his Internet savvy.

The result is the Winter Hat Shoppe, which launched February 11 at  Podsiadlo, a junior at Syracuse University's iSchool and a native of Glen Cove, NY, saw the opportunity for a web-based shop and decided to begin his own entrepreneurial endeavor.

"The circumstances were ripe for opening a new business," Podsiadlo said. "I'm excited about this--winter hats are a prime product for Internet sale.  They are a necessity for people enduring cold weather across the globe. I can foresee so many different people coming to my store to buy a warm, top quality hat."

Winter Hat Shoppe features more than 20 hats, with 55 varieties in an assortment of colors.  All hats are made in the USA, a fact the founder is quite proud of.

Podsiadlo began selling hats in the winter of 2006 on eBay, but after learning about the potential of web-based stores decided to launch his personal shop on a unique web site.  After spending his entire winter break developing and designing the site himself, Podsiadlo had the daunting task of unloading and sorting more than 300 hats.  Working out of his off-campus apartment, Podsiadlo photographed each hat and posted the preview on the site for customers to check out before purchasing.

Once an order is placed, The Winter Hat Shoppe guarantees shipment with one to two business days of payment.  Hats range in price from $4.99 to $12.99.

Podsiadlo does not expect to strike it rich from his new shop, at least not yet.

"For now, this is just a great learning opportunity," Podsiadlo said. "If I can keep the sales volume high enough, I should reach the black in my first year.  But, no matter what, this experience is helping me take the skills I have been learning in the iSchool labs and turn them into a business that I am really proud of."


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The Winter Hat Shoppe, found at and based in Syracuse, NY, is your one stop for cold weather head apparel made in the USA.  With more than 20 hats, in 55 varieties and many designs, the personalized service at The Winter Hat Shoppe promises shipment within 1-2 business days of payment.  Customers around the world have found their winter hat through the convenient online shopping interface. Hats range in price from $4.99 to $12.99