Home » Episode #441: Pickleball Passion-Randy Sussman’s Success Combining Fashion and Function with PB1965

Randy Sussman is an entrepreneur who identified a gap in the market for pickleball apparel early on. Observing that players were initially wearing items like heavy cotton shirts with kitschy designs, he quickly realized the need for high-quality, stylish clothing in this growing sport. The number of players have grown exponentially to approximately 7-8 million players, with 35-40 million having tried it at least once last year.

Determined to meet this demand Randy approached his friend David, an experienced apparel professional in New York City. Despite initial skepticism, Randy's unwavering conviction convinced David to offer his advice. This marked the beginning of Sussman's journey into the world of pickleball apparel, challenging the conventional belief that "you only go into the apparel business to lose money!"

The sport shows no signs of letting up. Sussman states, "You visit the courts in Delray . . . and you see really strong play! Night time or on the weekends . . . you find kids that are in their twenties, early thirties, teenagers . . . they're all out there playing, and they can really play the game! They're athletes. They come from hockey. They come from baseball. They fall in love with this sport."

Some key moments: 

  •  Launched in December 2019. Despite the pandemic in March 2020, they expanded from t-shirts and hoodies to wristbands, hats, visors, shorts, and more.

  • The sport of pickleball, with its ability to encompass a health active lifestyle outdoors, aligns perfectly with the industry's goals.

  • Pickleball creates a strong sense of community. It brings people together like no other sport.

  • With millions of people playing and a growing industry, major players are getting involved. The Atlantic City open, owned by three partners including Kyle Yates, attracted 780 players and a dozen vendors.

A few key takeaways: 

  1. Randy Sussman is the founder of PB1965, a brand specializing in pickleball apparel. They offer fun and fashionable clothing that allows players to proudly represent the sport.
  2. The industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Now there are an estimated 7-8 million players, with around 35-40 million people trying the sport at least once last year.
  3. PB1965 focuses on creating a sense of community. The brand's logo and quality apparel help players feel proud to be a part of the sport. PB1965 aims to differentiate itself from generic sportswear by cultivating a unique identity specific to pickleball.
  4. The US Open pickleball tournament showcased the diversity of players in terms of age. From 11-year-old kids to seasoned seniors, pickleball appeals to a wide range of ages. PB1965 considers this demographic diversity when designing and marketing its apparel.
  5. Despite facing challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, PB1965 has successfully navigated the market. Their line has grown from t-shirts and hoodies to include wristbands, hats, visors, shorts, and skorts. PB1965 aims to continue evolving to meet the changing needs and preferences of pickleball players.


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