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Two Brothers Team Up to Outfit One of the Fastest-growing Sports

Play proper.

Pickleball’s recent meteoric rise has big retail brands taking notice. Today the sport transcends mere competition, becoming a way of life for millions. Originally invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard in Bainbridge Island, Washington, pickleball’s recent surge in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to the forefront of the recreational sports scene.

Ex-professional volleyball players (and twins) Steve Gable and Darren Gable fell in love with the game in 2020. Fascinated by the sport’s origins and evolving culture, they discovered that Joel, along with his friends, stumbled upon the idea of pickleball after returning home from a casual game of golf on a beautiful summer day.

Joel and his wife, Joan, would often create games for their family and friends to join in. Pickleball in particular thrived in their hometown of Bainbridge Island, but it would be decades later that the game would truly surge to the cultural forefront. A blend of leisure and athleticism, it became more than just a pastime—it evolved into a lifestyle embraced by enthusiasts around the world.

Steve and Darren were hooked. The Gable brothers have a proven track record of successfully building and elevating many well-known brands through their marketing agency, but their love for pickleball inspired the twins to create a brand all their own. They were looking for something truly authentic that captured the sport’s essence, culture and heritage.

“We want wearing J. Pritchard to be an experience, a testament to embracing the culture and lifestyle.”

Their idea to reach out to the founding family was inspired. The Pritchards advised them on the sport’s history and ethos and entrusted them with two pivotal requests: elevate the brand and ensure the accurate portrayal of the game’s origins. With the family’s blessing, the Gable brothers embarked on a mission to create pickleball’s premium apparel and lifestyle brand, fittingly named J. Pritchard

The J. Pritchard logo references pickleball’s unique background. With elements like the golf ball and the letter “J” for Joel and Joan, the logo tells a story of tradition and innovation. The treatment of the name in the branding is Joel’s actual signature. Steve and Darren discovered that Joel served in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a lieutenant governor for the state of Washington. Carrying a theme of prestige throughout their brand, they chose heritage colors of dark green (Pritchard Green), nautical navy (Bainbridge Blue), Clubhouse White, blacks and greys.

The name “pickleball” was coined by Joan, originating from “pickle boat”—a rowing term. The boat paddle and pickleball paddle make an appearance on the logo too. The striped hangtag references an actual distress flag used in boating to communicate that your boat is on fire. “So we’re using it more tongue-in-cheek, expressing that our brand is on fire,” Darren says. 

From high-end athletic wear to leisure apparel, the brand’s collections reflect a seamless blend of performance and style that is classic and timeless. Each piece is meticulously crafted with premium materials, ensuring both comfort and durability—a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality.

“The Pritchards are the founders of pickleball, but at the end of the day, it’s a lifestyle brand. And that’s how we designed it,” says Darren. “With our business model, we really thought that we’d be top-heavy online and wholesale second. But what we’re learning is, once a customer can touch and feel the collection, they’re hooked.”

This revelation came about with the brand’s highly successful pop-up at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The line did so well, they extended their stay.

In creating a dress code for the sport, J. Pritchard connects with the playful side of the pickleball community. “We want wearing J. Pritchard to be an experience, a testament to embracing the culture and lifestyle,” says Steve.

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