KSU student creates business to accompany new Apple Watch


Photo submitted by Spencer Nicol.

Julianne Calapa

With the Apple Watch’s April 24 release date approaching, one Kent State student has already started capitalizing on the new product.

Spencer Nicol, a senior marketing major, developed WATCHSMITH, a company making colorful watch bands to accompany the new Apple Watch.

“Back in November, I was on the West Coast doing an internship that I really didn’t like at all, and I was looking for other ways to make money,” Nicol said. “When news of the Apple Watch came out, I knew it was going to be a gold rush for the next six months with people making apps and accessories to go with the watch. It just kind of dawned on me that I could make accessories for it all by myself.”

The watch band uses a flexible plastic material that a 3-D printer molds into its shape to fit the Apple Watch.

“I knew a little bit about 3-D printing before this,” Nicol said. “It’s relatively easy to do because you can go out and find these models online or you can make your own with imaging software, and it doesn’t cost that much money.”

Kent’s campus offers 3-D printing services to all currently enrolled students, which allows Nicol to perform all of the printing tasks for the watch bands.

“One of the main advantages of 3-D printing is the ease of producing prototypes of a concept before sending it elsewhere for mass manufacturing,” said Hilary Kennedy, the manager of Kent’s Student Multimedia Studio, which houses 3-D printers.

“There is definitely a learning curve with 3-D modeling and printing, so having the freedom to make mistakes without added cost makes a big difference,” she said. “Projects like Spencer’s are right on par with how we hoped students would use our services.”

Nicol also received help for WATCHSMITH from Blackstone LaunchPad, Kent State’s resource for entrepreneurs who need help and guidance with ideas.

Kate Harmon, the associate director of Blackstone LaunchPad, said Nicol demonstrates the traits of an entrepreneur, including taking advantage of the resources available to him and being dedicated to his ideas.

“We’ve been working with Spencer since the fall semester, and we can tell he is going to go far in whatever he pursues,” Harmon said. “I’m excited to see how WATCHSMITH takes this 3-D printing trend and applies it to something wearable. Once everything is actually released, it’s going to be amazing to see what happens.”

Nicol said he continues to receive positive feedback about WATCHSMITH.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic to the website but haven’t really generated too many orders so far because nothing is really out yet from Apple,” Nicol said. “It’s tough to gauge how quickly WATCHSMITH will grow once the actual watch is available later this month. Though, I’m really looking forward to seeing how far this can go.”

Prices for the watch bands range from $30 to $45. The bands come in eight different colors and can be ordered at http://thewatchsmith.org/.  

Contact Julianne Calapa at [email protected]