ASU alumnus creates custom-shaped headphones

Nick Staley and his brother Trevor started a company that specializes in unique headphone designs. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Nick Staley and his brother Trevor started a company that specializes in unique headphone designs. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

While waiting for a professor to start a lecture during his sophomore year, ASU alumnus Trevor Staley began to play with the cord of his headphones by making shapes.

He looked at the heart he had created and an idea hit him. Today, he has sold more than 15,000 custom-shaped headphones.

“I was in Murdock Lecture Hall, and I just stared at the heart for a while,” he said. “I went online to see if there was anything similar, but I didn’t find anything.”

His company’s website, Stylwire.com, launched in August, almost three years after the idea first came to his mind. The two designs available – a heart and a diamond – are custom-molded on to consumers’ headphones.

This was not Staley’s first venture into entrepreneurship. During his freshman year, he attracted a lot of attention with a skateboard he designed himself.

“I actually talked with a lot of companies,” he said. “One of them almost bought the design.”

Staley realized he wanted to come up with his own products and sell them after that experience.

“People were coming up to me and asking where I’d gotten it and that was a really cool feeling for me,” he said.

Staley relies mostly on social media to promote the headphones, but he has also given the headphones to close friends to wear them wherever they can. His brother Nick, a mechanical engineering freshman, helps him promote them at ASU.

“Any way I can help him, I’ll help him,” Nick said. “He’s an entrepreneur (and) he has a lot of great ideas.”

Nick, who wears the headphones around campus, said some people have asked where they can purchase them.

“One of my buddies who’s going to (the University of) Colorado (at) Boulder said he saw somebody on his campus wearing them,” he said. “That was really cool.”

Nick said Trevor Staley’s passion will help drive the success of the company and any other projects Trevor pursues.

“Trevor is always trying to think of the next idea,” he said. “He always gets very into his projects. This is the first major thing he’s put into production.”

Trevor said his brother has helped him a lot. They worked together to try to come up with a different design after the heart and came up with the diamond idea.

“Now that I’m not in college and he is, he will tell his friends about it,” Trevor said. “He does a lot of the marketing and promotion aspects.”

Nick gave some Stylwire headphones to his friends to wear around campus.

Special education freshman Laura Doemel wears the heart-shaped headphones whenever she works out.

“I like them a lot,” she said. “They don’t fall off my ears, (and) they work really well.”

Doemel said she even received compliments on the headphones when she went home to Wisconsin.

“I’ve never come across anything like these headphones before,” she said. “I would wear them in the dorms, and everybody was asking them where I got them.”

The headphones are sold online at the company’s website, Amazon and eBay.

“Our biggest seller right now is the heart,” Trevor said. “These are two generic designs, but eventually I will look into doing fraternity and sorority designs.”

The next step is to get companies to put their logos in the headphones for promotional items giveaways, Trevor said. He is also trying to get approval from the Pac-12 to create headphones with university logos.

“The first thing I want to do is ASU,” Trevor said. “I want to do a little pitchfork. We actually have a prototype.”

Trevor is working on incorporating a microphone into the headphones so they can also be used as hands-free options for cell phones.

“I’m always looking for the next cool idea,” he said. “Do I see myself doing this for a long time? Only time can tell.”

 

Reach the reporter at dpbaltaz@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @dpalomabp