Meet Sabina Nathanson: the woman behind the first independent luxury pickleball clothing brand. PQL Club. Sabina discovered pickleball during the pandemic and was instantly obsessed. As she started to play more often, the entrepreneur realized there was space for elevated sport's court apparel specifically targeted to the thriving community of pickleball players. Thus, PQL Club was born!
In this special behind the brand feature, we spoke with Sabina about the inspiration behind the brand, the ins-and-outs of entrepreneurship and more.
When did you start playing pickle?
I found pickleball during the pandemic and like so many new players, I was instantly obsessed! It’s easy to learn and really appeals to all ages – it’s fun, fast-paced, addictive and social – that’s why it is currently the fastest growing sport in the country!
Why did you create PQL Club?
As I started to play more often, I realized the new popularity presented a problem – it’s a social game so I wanted to look good and feel good on the court, but despite my best efforts to find something reflective of my personal style, everything I found was a bit dated and targeted to tennis players or if it was targeted to pickleball players it took a really light-hearted, almost goofy approach to the sport – lots of puns and double-entendres about pickles and staying out of the kitchen! I saw that there was space for elevated court apparel specifically targeted to the thriving community of pickleball players.
Will we see any puns or double-entendre t-shirts or visors?
What did you do before creating PQL Club?
At the time I started PQL Club I was focused on raising my three children and philanthropy. I serve on the board of the non-profit Baby2Baby and Brentwood School, but I have a background in brand integration and marketing. I worked for over a decade in the space for media companies.
What is the best part about being an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to do something entrepreneurial, but everything always felt forced – finding an opportunity in a sector I was passionate about and a sport I love playing has been incredibly rewarding. It’s been especially fulfilling to be part of the growth of pickleball – you don’t get many opportunities to develop a new market opportunity and watch it grow.
When I have to say “no” to meet for pickle because I have too many PQL Club zoom calls scheduled!
What does adventure mean to you?
Anything outside of my comfort zone is an adventure.
Can you share a bit of pickle strategy or pickle 101 for beginners?
One of the benefits of pickleball is that it is easy to learn – if you’ve ever played tennis, ping pong or badminton you’re already on your way.
My top 3 tips:
- Keep your paddle high, near your chest - your reaction time will be quicker.
- Keep the ball in play - let your opponent make the mistakes.
- Don’t swing too hard - it’s all about your dink shot!