A stroke of genius from an 11 year old
Exactly how Hannah Dupay, a precocious fifth-grader at Pepper Ridge Elementary in Boise and founder of Goodie Girl Golf, fixed her problem could possibly result in her becoming the newest – and arguably youngest – major player in the golf fashion world.
By John L. Byrwa, PGA.com
Eleven-year-old Hannah Dupay has proven, most fashionably, that necessity is indeed the mother of all invention.
"I don't like to wear hats so I couldn't use those magnetic hats clips, and my ball markers kept falling out of my pocket," explained Hannah, an avid and accomplished junior golfer from Boise, Idaho. "So after I kept losing all of my ball markers, my mom said, 'OK, you better fix this .'"
Exactly how Hannah, a precocious fifth-grader at Pepper Ridge Elementary in Boise, fixed her problem could possibly result in her becoming the newest - and arguably youngest - major player in the golf fashion world.
Most certainly she will be the youngest official exhibitor at the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
"I'm really excited," said Hannah, the pre-teen founder, president and CEO of Goodie Girl Golf, a (for now) home-based company that makes and markets stylish, floral-themed hair accessories that double as functional magnetic ball markers. "I've seen pictures of (the PGA Show) on the web site and it looks really cool. And big, with lots of people
"My goal is I hope to win the New Product of the Year Award."
If ingenuity, drive and passion -- not to mention a cute little-girl smile and politeness -- are prerequisites for the coveted award, Hannah would definitely earn our vote.
Founded in her parents' bedroom in September 2013, Goodie Girl Golf hair accessories feature a variety of colorful flower designs, the center of each one doubling as a colored ball marker that attaches magnetically. There are Goodie Girl Golf Ball Marker Barrettes, Goodie Girl Golf Ball Marker Ponytail, Goodie Girl Golf Ball Marker Large Headband and Goodie Girl Golf Ball Marker Small Headband. (To see all of the Goodie Girl Golf styles and prices, visit www.goodiegirlgolf.com.)
Hannah's mom, Lisha Southern-Kelly, recalled how her daughter first came up with the idea for Goodie Girl Golf hair accessories.
"She had a metal hair clip in her hair and saw that her metal ball maker was attracted to it," Southern-Kelly said. "So I figured I'd go online, look for something like that and buy five of them and be done with it. But after an hour of searching, I found nothing. Then we went to a couple of local golf stores but they didn't have anything like that either.
"So we put together a prototype, it worked great and she started wearing them at tournaments. A lot of people came up and asked, 'That is so cute. Where did you get that?' That's when the light bulb went off."
According to Southern-Kelly, they work with an outside manufacturer to make the logoed ball markers and base, then she and Hannah glue the fabric flowers and accessories together by hand. Hannah's step-dad, Patrick Kelly, who is completing his degree in civil engineering, helped her launch the Goodie Girl Golf website, and before they knew it, she had a real business up and running.
"My goal is to make a full line of junior golf apparel and get it around to all the people in the country," Hannah says confidently.
Southern-Kelly said Hannah has sold 20 Goodie Girl hair accessories so far, but they're hoping that their trip to the PGA Show (booth 4261), which was financed through donations via her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GoodieGirlGolf) and Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/GoodieGirlGolf) as well as family contributions, will result in greater exposure and, of course, greater sales.
"She decides on the colors and designs, and she came up with the (company) name," Southern-Kelly said. "We do it all in my bedroom, so you can imagine what that looks like.
"We are so, so proud of her. It's pretty amazing. We are very humbled and overwhelmed. All this just started in September, so it's been pretty amazing."
Hannah was introduced to golf three years ago by her grandfather and "fell in love with it." A member of the Idaho Junior Golf Association, she has won her district three times and this past year finished third in the state in her age group.
But before she continues to work on her golf game - "It's Idaho, so it's freezing here," her mom said - Hannah will head to Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, with her first order of official business being a stop at the Outdoor Demo Day on Tuesday.
That should be big fun for Hannah. As for mom, she has other more pressing obligations.
"While my CEO is out having fun, I get to set up the booth," Southern-Kelly said with a chuckle.