Brilliant ideas can happen anytime, even in the middle of your golf game
Karen Lovcik-Gleason has always followed her “passion for fashion.” She says, “Why wear something boring when you have the opportunity to make it fun?” While golfing with some friends one day in the early 2000s, her eye for great accessories came up disappointed. Many golfers use a glove to improve their grip, but she noticed those on the market for women came in just one style: plain white. She knew feeling good in what you wear is not only a great conversation starter for women in sports like golf, but also a way to lift spirits and confidence on the course. “There weren’t any options for personality or anything to set you apart from anyone else, so I decided this could be a great opportunity,” she says. And just like that, Glove It, LLC, her now internationally successful women’s golf accessories and apparel company, was born.
But even though her inspiration for her business started on a whim, Karen had the perfect background to put her new idea into action, starting with her upbringing in Aberdeen. She and her five siblings, as well as her mother, all went to Aberdeen Central. Growing up, she learned how to sew her own clothes, and another important life lesson that she says has shaped her work ethic and helped her run her company for 15 years. “My parents brought us up to know that we could do anything we worked toward. Golf, like all industries, has had its ups and downs. You have to have the tenacity to work through that and not give up right away, because every failure is a lesson that catapults you to do the next step in accomplishing what you want to do. Good things come about when you work hard.” While Glove It first started as more of a side gig Karen ran out of her home, it has now grown to employ eight people in their Tempe, Arizona, office, 22 sales representatives across the United States, and six international distributors. About the value she sees in being from Aberdeen, Karen says, “If I had the chance to hire someone from the Midwest, I would. I’m really proud of the area and environment of work ethic that I was brought up in.”
After high school, Karen graduated from the Fashion Merchandising Program at Arizona State University. Prior to starting Glove It, she worked in the Fashion District on Seventh Avenue in New York City, one of the main fashion design and manufacturing centers in the world, and owned Regalia Accessory Company for 18 years. At first she thought Glove It would only be about golf gloves, but it has since grown to include all kinds of women’s golf, tennis, and active lifestyle accessories. They have golf bags and everything you carry in them, headwear, sports totes, tennis backpacks, and more, all available in stores worldwide. Karen says, “Our niche is really to encourage women to bring out their own personality. We think outside the box of traditional golf attire, and have a variety of prints-traditional argyle, animal, florals, plaids- that you can mix and match and use to coordinate all your accessories together.”
Glove It’s success is no doubt due to Karen’s hands-on approach to running her company. She is actively involved in all aspects of the business, from fabric buying and design, to manufacturing and sales, to the daily administrative work. She says out of everything, her favorite part is coming up with new products and designs. Every year she creates about 10 new prints, with the goal of bringing the latest styles and colors in fashion to life in golf and active wear. Her first design, a leopard print, is still the company’s best seller.
These days women golfers are showing up to the game in the vibrant colors and bold prints of their choice. For Karen, one of the most rewarding things about her work is when she is playing golf and sees other women on the course wearing her products. “Adding your personal style just puts that extra touch, and when you feel better, you play better. I love providing people with something that they like and that makes them happy.” // – Jenny Roth
For more information on Glove It, LLC, visit www.gloveit.com.