Home » Episode #424: Pickleball Fashion and Function | A Conversation with Kristin Peterson and Partners from Volee

Kristin Peterson is one of the three Founders of Volee that specializes in high-end, pickleball accessories. Their site states, "Volée is a Newport Beach based brand founded by three best friends inspired by their passion for court sports, style, fun and community. The retro vibe of California adds a sporty sophistication to the brand, making Volée’s elevated, multifunctional and fashionable bags and accessories stand out."

Alongside Co-Founders Ashley Rose and Kasey Martin, the idea was sparked when they played pickleball for the first time and immediately fell in love with the sport. Realizing the competition in the clothing industry, they decided to focus on accessories instead. Together, they came up with the idea of designing a high-end, well constructed, pickleball bag for women that looks good both on and off the court. 

"The bags are packed with impressive features that make them stand out. From the hook on the crossbody that prevents placing the bag on the ground to the lined sunglass case, there are plenty of little details that make them special," states Peterson. 

The partners discuss building out their brand that conveys a specific identity . . . and the role of celebrity influencers as they continue to scale. They also offer some solid advice for other entrepreneurs in balancing their passions and help managing startups. 

Some key moments: 

[00:01:49] Passionate group of friends create high-end pickleball bag & accessories company.

[00:04:12] Pickleball industry growth, potential for profitability.

[00:12:32] Entrepreneurs face roller coaster ride managing passions.

[00:15:38] Fewer SKUs for inventory.

[00:19:46] Building a brand that reflects personal identity.

[00:21:14] YouTube channel or podcast, visual appeal important.

A few key takeaways: 

  1. The pickleball industry is experiencing significant growth, both in terms of funding and the construction of facilities. This presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter the market and create successful brands.
  2. When launching a product in the pickleball space, it is important to consider the target audience, particularly women who desire functional and fashionable gear. It is crucial to incorporate women's perspectives in the design process rather than simply saying something like, "Let's add pink to it." 
  3. Building a strong brand that sends a specific message about the wearer's identity is essential. People are now more aware of what their chosen brand says about them and what they want the brand to do for them. Functionality and fashion should be key considerations in the brand's offerings.
  4. While there may be a lack of name brand athletes in pickleball, there are opportunities to leverage celebrity influencers and endorsements to promote and grow the brand. Whether to pay someone for endorsements or create a celebrity-branded line of gear is something worth exploring.
  5. Starting an accessories company can be advantageous compared to an apparel company. With fewer variations in products, entrepreneurs can avoid struggles with inventory management and focus on creating a range of high-quality, well-designed bags that cater to the needs of pickleball players.

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