Young entrepreneurs learning from Valley's success stories


by Natalie Brand

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Updated Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 PM

PHOENIX -- What’s now a world-renowned golf club headcover business helped to fame by the likes of Tiger Woods started as an ambitious idea more than 30 years ago.

“Making animal headcovers, people would say, ‘That’s crazy. You can’t do that. You can’t make a living,’ ” Jane Spicer recalled. “I never took 'no' for an answer and I never gave up.”

Spicer, CEO of Daphne’s Headcovers, is living proof persistence pays off.

“She started literally door by door,” said ASU W.P. Carey School of Business student Zack Nicol.

Nicol and his classmate David Kleinebreil served as student consultants for Spicer’s business as part of a special program through W.P. Carey’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

“I’ve given them real life problems where they’ve come in and worked with us on actual situations that are happening with social media and with supply chain,” Spicer explained.

She listened carefully to the students' feedback, even implementing some of their ideas.

“It feels amazing,” Nicol said. “I always have this philosophy that experience is the best teacher. You can learn so much from a textbook but when you go out there and apply it, that's when you start getting that real world knowledge and experience that can help you a lot later in life.”

Spicer considers her work with W.P. Carey students an investment in the Valley’s future.

“We all need to take care of our own, take care of our community,” she said.

The students Spicer has worked with consider her story an inspiration.

“I would really like to get a lot of experience, learn a lot of things, find out what I love and then take it on my own, hopefully, one day and start my own business,” Kleinebreil said. “You do have something to offer, just find out what it is.”

His piece of advice echoes the words of a trailblazer before him.

“Find something that you love and never, never, never give up,” Spicer said.