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Entrepreneur Ellie Jamison Launches New Gen Pickleball Paddles

 Ellie Jamison Launches New Gen Pickleball Paddles: Pickleball, a sport rapidly gaining popularity among the younger generation, has seen a surge in interest in recent years. Now, thanks to the innovation of a local entrepreneur, young enthusiasts of the game, known as ‘picklers,’ have access to paddles designed specifically to complement their style and preferences.

Ellie Jamison’s journey into the world of pickleball began unexpectedly during her first week at the University of Virginia’s business school. A former girls lacrosse player at The Benjamin School, Jamison quickly developed a passion for the sport, recognizing a niche in the market for equipment that resonated with the next generation of players.

The sport resonated with Ellie for its blend of competitiveness and camaraderie, appealing to her athletic and social sides alike. Recognizing a niche in the market early on, Ellie, along with her future business partner Grace Collins, saw an opportunity to cater to the evolving tastes of young pickleball enthusiasts. Despite pickleball’s growing popularity nationwide, they identified a gap—existing paddles didn’t quite align with the aesthetic preferences of the next generation of players.

Play Henry, born out of Jamison and Collins’ shared love for pickleball and dissatisfaction with existing paddle offerings. Jamison explained that she and her business partner became completely enamored and obsessed with pickleball. As former athletes, they discovered the sport to be low-impact and easy to learn. Their quest to create the perfect paddle stemmed from a dissatisfaction with current options. Inspired by their extensive play with the UVA club team, they embarked on a mission to craft a paddle that would meet their standards and resonate with others like them in the pickleball community.

“We completely fell in love with it and became obsessed with it, The problem that we saw is that we absolutely disliked every paddle on the market.”- (Ellie Jamison )

Jamison and Collins found the standard paddles too masculine and the colorful ones too preppy.

“We were like, ‘you know what, we’ve been playing so much. We’ve been playing with the UVA club team. Why don’t we talk to people and see if we can build our own paddle.’ So it kind of just came out of this need that we wanted to have our own paddle because we didn’t like anything on the market.” – ( Ellie Jamison )

Embracing their entrepreneurial spirit, Collins and Jamison boldly ventured into the pickleball industry, founding their own company, Play Henry. The company’s name holds personal significance, paying homage to their family ties with “Henry” and the community they’ve cultivated around leisure and play as a reprieve from daily life, as stated on their website. Their debut paddle, the ‘Hank Pro, quickly sold out within its first month, marking a promising start and prompting Play Henry to embark on artistic collaborations to engage younger players.

Fast forward a year, and Play Henry has announced its latest venture, the ‘Pickleball as Art’ collaboration with New York abstract artist Presley Goode. This partnership resulted in the vibrant “Sunset Sip” and “Morning Dip” paddles, designed to enhance the summer pickleball experience. With plans to expand beyond online sales into retail stores, Jamison reflected on her journey, combining her passion for sports with entrepreneurial ambition.

“I always wanted to start my own business, and I knew if I did, it would be something within athletics,” she remarked “Just because I feel so connected to sports and passionate about it. And so I knew it would always be something in this space, and I’m so excited because I love using our product every day.”

Ellie Jamison Launches New Gen Pickleball Paddles1

News in Brief: Ellie Jamison Launches New Gen Pickleball Paddles

Pickleball’s rising popularity among young players has spurred innovation in equipment, thanks to local entrepreneur Ellie Jamison. Initially drawn to the sport during her time at the University of Virginia, Jamison, a former lacrosse player, identified a gap in paddle design for the next generation of players. Teaming up with Grace Collins, they launched Play Henry to create paddles that blend style with functionality. Their debut paddle, the ‘Hank Pro,’ sold out swiftly, paving the way for artistic collaborations like the ‘Pickleball as Art’ collection with Presley Goode. Jamison’s journey reflects a passion for sports and entrepreneurship, driving Play Henry’s success and expansion into retail markets.

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