DAPHENE'S HEAD COVERS

Spirit of Enterprise winner: Daphne’s Headcovers

Daphne’s Headcovers earned the The Spirit of Enterprise Overcoming Adversity Award this year at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Awards.

When Jane Spicer was 10 years old she told her mother that she wanted a sailboat. Her mother told her she had to earn the money for it. Jane did: she sewed a bagful of stuffed toys to sell to friends and neighbors. At the Park & Swap she made $200, and has been hooked on entrepreneurship ever since.

“When I was 16, a customer suggested that I make animal golf club covers. It was really hard to break into that market, but my mom, Daphne, told me: Be tenacious.” Jane taught herself how to get past the attendants and assistants at golf resorts to get to the buyers. It worked: sales grew 400 percent in one quarter, her animal headcovers becoming the best selling item in golf after Tiger Woods started using one.

Not that it was always easy: When the recession hit in early 2008, Jane said that she was paralyzed with fear. “I stopped taking a salary. I sold everything at home that wasn’t nailed down. But I never missed payroll and I didn’t lay off a single key employee. By 2011 we were profitable again.”

Jane and her company do a lot to give back to the community that, as Jane put it, built Daphne’s Headcovers. The company sells a special Weimaraner headcover and donates a portion of the proceeds to Gabriel’s Angels, which provides pet therapy to abused and at-risk kids. They also partner with charities globally to help make a difference and now Jane allows budding entrepreneurs to use her facility and equipment.

Through all of the ups and downs, Jane has lived out the directive her mother gave her, to be tenacious, and Daphne’s core value as well: to do good while doing well.

Name of business: Daphne’s Headcovers

Nature of business: Manufacturer of animal/novelty golf club covers

Address: 337 W. Melinda Lane Phoenix, Arizona 85027

Web: DaphnesHeadcovers.com

Founded: 1978

Number of employees: 19