Business Spotlight: espy: Garments and Gratitude

On the surface, espy is simply an affordable designer boutique. But peek behind the proverbial dressing room curtain and you will find that it is much more. espy is a personal experience for the shopper – a place where clients may learn something new about themselves and leave feeling absolutely elated. When CEO and proprietor Megan Szanik founded espy in 2009 during the last recession, her initial vision was to run a designer discount shop. espy quickly turned into something substantially more, surpassing her expectations. At espy, the focus is all about the client; the garments are merely a vessel for their confidence. Szanik noticed that many clients were coming in with a poor body image and she wanted to make a difference.


“We want to help our clients discover something new about themselves,” said Szanik. “You know that feeling when you find that perfect outfit? It’s important that people experience that confidence and feel great inside and out. I want to know what that client is going through and why they feel that way.”


Szanik and her team of style professionals want to empower their clients by putting customer service first. She plays the role of proprietor, stylist and counselor. The customer experience is therapeutic and rewarding; going above and beyond the role of a personal shopper. One of the pillars of Szanik’s business is creating an inclusive and dynamic shopping environment. She achieves this by offering a diverse array of sizes from 00 to 16+ and special sizes that cater to long arms and legs. Szanik sees no gender in clothing and loves to help clients achieve their identity. No garment is off limits at espy.


“Inclusivity is very important to us as espy,” Said Szanik. “Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, we want to help our clients achieve that euphoria.”

espy is proud to offer a wide selection of premium brands and designers in their product line. Their buying team is constantly in search of new styles and designs to elevate their diverse demographic of clients. Szanik stocks boutique brands from designers in Canada, Italy, Spain, Denmark and more, ensuring that there is a unique style tailored for each client. Specifically, including a local element in the espy roster is a crucial value for Szanik.


“What we buy is over 50 per cent Canadian designed,” Said Szanik. “Our base supplier is Iris Setlakwe, a Canadian designer who produces everything in Canada. She really understands clothing.”


Szanik also resides in Inglewood and holds a great respect and admiration for the community. Living just a five minute walk away from the shop, her commute to espy is one of the favourite parts of her day. When she is not at work, you can find her frequenting other local shops in the community. Some of her favourite Inglewood shops are Notorious Hair, Knifewear, Kent of Inglewood, Plant, Silk Road, Bite, Limitless and more.


“Inglewood is an extremely supportive community,” said Szanik. “I love the diverse set of buildings, the mix of old and new, the river that runs through and the great outdoor spaces.”


espy is also committed to giving back to the Calgary community through fundraising initiatives that combine fashion elements. Charity campaigns such as #nakedespy and #bikiniespy have garnered tens of thousands of dollars for organizations like the Prostate Cancer Centre and Special Olympics Calgary.


For more info on espy and fundraising opportunities, please visit their website: and follow them on social media @espyexperience.