From Dream to Reality: Santa Barbara Happy's Journey to Becoming a Pickleball Apparel Powerhouse!

November 18, 2023 00:24:49
From Dream to Reality: Santa Barbara Happy's Journey to Becoming a Pickleball Apparel Powerhouse!
Sleeve's SPR: People of Pickleball
From Dream to Reality: Santa Barbara Happy's Journey to Becoming a Pickleball Apparel Powerhouse!

Nov 18 2023 | 00:24:49


Hosted By

Mike Sliwa

Show Notes

Discover the fascinating world of pickleball custom apparel in this captivating interview between Mike Sliwa and Lauren, the talented designer and CEO of Santa Barbara Happy. As a family-owned business on the scenic California Coast, Lauren shares her inspiring journey of creating unique and beach-inspired designs for Santa Barbara Pickleball. From initially filling a gap in the market to expanding nationwide, Santa Barbara Happy has become a go-to destination for pickleball enthusiasts seeking stylish and personalized apparel. Join us as we delve into the ideas behind their vibrant designs, their commitment to customer satisfaction, and their sponsorship of charity events.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Sleeve's senior Pickleball report is brought to you by TNC Network. Get ready for an exciting episode of People of Pickleball with Mike Sliva. We're about to dive deep into conversations with influential figures from the world of Pickleball. So let's get it going. [00:00:25] Speaker B: Okay, today we are talking with Lauren from Santa All right, she's making some great stuff. But before we get to that, if you like this content, consider subscribing to the channel. Check out all our discounts merch in the description and our newsletter, which keeps you up to date on all things in the pickleverse. All right, hey, let's get to that interview with Lauren from Santa [00:01:05] Speaker C: All right, we have Lauren from Santa Welcome to the Senior Pickleball Report. [00:01:13] Speaker D: Hi. Thanks for having me, sleeve. Awesome. [00:01:15] Speaker C: Right on. So, hey, I'm decked out in all the gear. I love it. So kindly provided because my merch is starting to get going, but nothing at this level. So we have our work laid out for us. Let's talk about first. I mean, obviously, your company and your business is everywhere. If anybody is in pickleball, on specifically Instagram, somebody's wearing something from you. But before we get to how you got into that, you have to start with, how did you find pickleball? Because not everybody understands this addiction. But you do because you have a business. [00:02:01] Speaker D: Yes, that's true. Okay, well, thanks for asking. So our family is sick. Some big family. Married 30 years, and we were all in Boulder, Colorado. Our kids all went to college there. And during the pandemic, they graduated online and life had just kind of shut down. And we were in a lot of snowstorms. Although we loved living there. And my son took a job here, and I decided maybe we should relocate. Maybe we should look at coming to Santa Barbara and look at just like a life change. We've been in a lot of snow, a lot of skiing, but it's been really fun. [00:02:35] Speaker C: But. [00:02:35] Speaker D: Okay, time for some sunshine, right? So we landed here and I took a position. I'm in mental health. And I took a position covering the Central Coast. And the beaches were beautiful. And we'd find ourselves walking and outside all around the like just every time, not even how. It wasn't boulder. It was like maybe six months out of the like, wow, we are so happy. Oh, my gosh. And so Santa Barbara happy. And I said, you know, we got to do something really, like, let's do something that brings the soul of Santa Barbara here. And so we joined a club, a country club called Cathedral Oaks here, and we started playing pickleball. We started going to their pickup and trying to make friends. Didn't know anybody here, and we're like, let's know, embrace what Santa Barbara offers. It seems like Pickleball is a big thing here. We didn't even play it in. [00:03:30] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:03:30] Speaker D: So we joined the club, and then next thing we knew it, we made a ton of friends. And next thing we knew it, someone said, hey, they saw that I was making a couple of designs with beach designs, kind of like these sweatshirts of the Beaches. And we kind of started with that, and they're like, Lauren, why don't you make some pickleball designs and come to our open play and just see what happens? We don't have any clothing for Santa Barbara Pickleball in the whole county, and it's really big. So we just made a run of sweatshirts, and the next thing I knew it, we were asked to do some charities, and one charity led to another charity. Next thing I know it, Kenny Loggins is my new customer. [00:04:11] Speaker C: Football player Kenny Loggins. [00:04:12] Speaker D: I love him. And we end up going from, like, 50 sweatshirts. Oh, yeah, 50 sweatshirts, to, like, hundreds of sweatshirts overnight at different events, whether it's benefiting different charities, seeing some celebrities, and. Yeah, so it was born overnight. This was not planned. [00:04:35] Speaker C: Right? I mean, obviously, when something like that happens and it takes off on a scale that it's taken off for you, it changes your life. So you have, obviously, what my dad would call a real job, and you do this, which is a passion, which could take over your life and become the real job. So how do you balance those things and play and with the family? And it happened at a very quick period of time, as you've mentioned. So talk about some of that. [00:05:07] Speaker D: Yeah, so it started in April. So it's only been, what, like five months or something like that. And, yeah, I guess you could say I embraced it with having the whole family involved. Everybody's involved, from my daughters to my husband and whoever can actually help me. My husband does a lot of stuff on the website. I built the website out of a need here because people are know. It's great, Lauren, that we can message you and ask you to ship sweatshirts to Wisconsin, but you really need to get a website going. So the website was born. He handles a lot of the editing, and I'll upload and I'll get side of it that he does. My girls will be a lot of the models will try in a lot of the samples. I have them involved in ordering and stuff like that. Yeah. And so basically doing my day job in mental health during the day, all of in mental health, and then I come home in the evening or afternoon or get up really early, and I'm designing, and all day long people are calling me. And it's kind of just like a hustle, a little bit of a hustle. And you're getting someone that has a lot of energy, too. I've got four kids, and I've always had a lot of energy. So I guess you could say, like, if anyone's going to take on something so crazy, it would be me, right? [00:06:20] Speaker C: Yeah, clearly. Because there is no way I could take on. I've spoken to you several times, and we've connected, obviously, via phone and via messenger and all those things. And I don't know how you do it, Lauren. I don't, because my channel is starting to get to the point where I'm getting some of those things happening to me, people contacting me. Have I reviewed this? Have I worn this on the air yet? Have I mentioned that? And I'm like, holy cow. It's one of those things. It's like, careful what you wish for, because it starts to literally take over most of your day. I got to tell you, you're doing a phenomenal job because your stuff is everywhere. It's with the Open pros, it's with the senior pros. It's with different clubs. It's beach wear. It's for charity events. It's for National Pickleball League. Do you have to go to at some point, are you going, like, do you ever say no? [00:07:16] Speaker D: Well, I mean, I'd love to make this our goal. Obviously, it's a family business. Our goal is to grow it. We'd love to get our apparel in some of the major stores eventually. We do have several country clubs that just reached out to us asking if we can make their apparel exclusively. So we've got two big clubs here. We make the apparel for Barbara county, like for Santa Barbara Pickleball, for Dynamite Pickleball. Now. So they have us making, like, a micro store for them where anyone that's part of doing any of their league plays or their clinics or whatever, they can buy dynamite instead of just kind of. We're taking it one day at a time. The biggest thing that we're finding is that the customization has been really fun. So while we started with the Santa Barbara, in the Santa Barbara Pickleball with the iconic palm tree in the. [00:08:10] Speaker C: Right. [00:08:11] Speaker D: Yeah, yeah. So if you can see what I'm wearing here. So it started with Santa Barbara Pickleball. And then what happened is people are like, hey, I love what you're doing for Santa Barbara. Can you do it for us? We're in Virginia. Can you do it for us? We're in Wisconsin. And so now what we did is, on our store, we kind of do every city. And if you don't see your city, reach out to me. I will make your city. I will customize your paddle. So, yeah, we're just kind of seeing where it goes right now. The customization has been huge. I get a lot of pros that will contact and say, hey, I live in Evergreen. Can you make me something with the trees and my name on the back and my number? I think that that's the most fun I'm having, is connecting with really great people all over the US, like, customizing cool stuff for them. That's just not like this generic imprint that I'm shipping out to them. [00:09:04] Speaker C: Right. I mean, You've done some really smart things. You have a really cool sort of template that I love, and then you make it your own. I mean, you totally fill in with stuff and you do things on the sleeves and on the back. And some have colors, some don't. It's a great idea because you don't have to reinvent the wheel for every single project. Yet every single one is unique because it's got its unique little form or style or logo in. [00:09:31] Speaker D: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, you know, like some of the pro players, like Jen Galwa, she contacted me with David, the professor, and they love that line. [00:09:41] Speaker C: Yeah, PT and the professor. That's a brilliant line. [00:09:44] Speaker D: Yeah, she's awesome. And she sent me a message on Instagram, and she's like, hey, we live in Chicago. Could you put this Chicago skyline and the bean and some wind in the paddle? And we want to change what you say for Santa Barbara and put PT in the professor. So we did that, and then the next thing I know, she goes, Lauren, we have a lot of people that want to buy our stuff. Would you buy making a little store for us now? We have maybe 1520 items for them. And it's on a little micro store within our store that people can shop on. [00:10:14] Speaker C: Right? Yeah. And you're doing it obviously, for, you have. There's the Austin ignite. You have stuff for them. And it seems like you're going and going and going. And so where do you see this going? I know you're talking making it a family business, but obviously there's long term plans and there's short term plans, and you're taking it one day at a time. But if you look in your magic crystal ball, where do you like to see yourself in a year or two? [00:10:40] Speaker D: Gosh. I mean, obviously I would like to grow this to a know apparel company. Apparel business. I love the custom side. We have some stock designs that we'd hope to get into, maybe some department stores, maybe even pickleball, you know, Dick's sporting goods, any place like that. [00:10:55] Speaker C: Oh, yeah. [00:10:56] Speaker D: So I haven't figured out how it's going to work with the customization side of it, but I think a lot of the stock designs that we've designed recently, we renamed it called Happy Go Pickle. So instead of us being just Santa Barbara pickleballs, we have that line, but now we have what's called Happy Go Pickle. And that's got its own little flair that we're hoping to expand retail. [00:11:18] Speaker C: Yeah. Right on. Have you done design work before? Because you're pretty good at it right out of the gate. [00:11:23] Speaker D: Thank you. Oh, you're so have. I have a design degree. Went to design school, and then in college, I was, like, designing the sweatshirts and the T shirts for the sororities and the fraternities and ASB. Then I came out and I worked for Dole Food Company for a long time. I was their marketing gal. So anything that was for, like, shark shootout or for any of their major events that we did, I was the one that would design the apparel, the hats, whatever it was. Even the pineapple covers, for God's sake. Yeah, for the golf club. So I did a lot of custom back then. And then I had my own business for 13 years while I was raising four kids called Lauren's Little Store. And it was apparel. So I had apparel. I was a jobber for a line called Ella Moss and Splendid. And I had go downtown and I get all the goods and I would sell it like a wholesaler. And then I also had, like this, I had sweats, and I did a lot of sweatshirts back then. So it was a sports mom line where it would be like, yeah, hockey mom. So if you were a hockey dad, it would say hockey dad. And then you could customize and put your name on the front left chest. [00:12:37] Speaker C: Right on. [00:12:39] Speaker D: So I guess you could say, I'm going back to where it all started. Yeah, I'm going back to where it all started. I've been in pharma for 15 years, 20 years. And I love the apparel. It's like my favorite thing. [00:12:51] Speaker C: Yeah. And obviously you've caught, as we all know, the serious wave of pickleball. I've been around sports all my life and I've seen things peak and come and go. You talk about beach volleyball or racquetball or even tennis in the late 70s, but I've never seen anything quite like this. Give us your thoughts a little bit about that because I feel like we're all on this sort of momentum and I'm like, where is this going? [00:13:21] Speaker D: I know. I think it's insane. I really honestly feel that it's insane. I've never seen things crazy in my life. [00:13:29] Speaker C: I know. [00:13:30] Speaker D: It really is. And the people are just incredibly helpful and wonderful. Like every person I've met, I don't even know where they're from. They message me from different states and they tell me their story. Or they're like, I've been watching you and could you help me with this? I have people that I'm helping starting businesses that want to do the same thing, and maybe they're in New Jersey, right? Meeting really great people for the love of the game. You know what I mean? [00:13:56] Speaker C: Yes. [00:13:56] Speaker D: Don't you feel that way? [00:13:57] Speaker C: I do. I noticed that because I've been talking to apparel people of late. I've talked to a bunch of paddle people, pros and all that. But lately apparel has come into my life and you all communicate and you all support each other. And that's what I think is really cool and different and which I hope continues because it seems like everybody is sort of raising their level and enjoying supporting one another and putting out really quality things. And it's cool to see somebody can have something that you have on and a different hat and you guys are friends on different Instagrams and things like that. So new Paddle company Pickle PCKL Great Paddle line, Great price point. Anything you want, from starter paddle to intermediate to a pro series high level paddle, check them out. Get 15% off using my discount code. Pickle it's the future. [00:14:56] Speaker E: Are you looking to stay up to date on the latest pickleball news and tips? Look no further than the sleeve. Senior Pickleball Report Newsletter get the scoop on the sport Learn how to stay healthy while playing, and find out about upcoming tournaments. Subscribe now to get all the Pickleball info you need. [00:15:16] Speaker C: Talk about a little bit about obviously you've touched on it, but it's got to be cool to go to an event. And if there's vendors and you can talk shop and still feel like you're not trying to be cutthroat. [00:15:29] Speaker D: Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, we're all here to support each other. I do a lot of events and there's other people there that are doing them. There's nobody doing this kind of like, aesthetic beachy thing. It's like Camp Beverly Hills kind of beachy aesthetic. Like my own little thing with me. [00:15:45] Speaker C: I'm the senior pickleball report. Nobody's doing. [00:15:50] Speaker D: Know. I started Santa Barbara Pickleball and so that know the logo and all that. So there are other Santa Barbara companies, but they do different kinds of things. And so we started collaborating. Like, let me wear one of your hats. You wear one of my hats. Let's share each other's know. My specialty, obviously, are, like, the hoodies and the crews is what I do more than anything. And it's the distressed logo, it's the customized paddles, and then it's the script. You see the script on a lot of stuff. That's kind of my signature thing. And so I'm not doing what they're doing. They're doing something different that I think super fun also. [00:16:23] Speaker C: Yeah, that's the thing. There's so much creative licensing going out there that people are finding their little space in this gigantic volume of commerce and enjoyment and community. And I think there's a lot of room even for more growth and for more people to come in because we've just sort of scratched the surface. We're really only a few years into this. And if you look at retail, we're brand new at it. [00:16:50] Speaker D: Yeah, we are brand new. The whole thing is a phenomenon. I'm not going to lie to you. I mean, I've had some funny people that call me and I'll get messages on my store. And by the way, if you were to go online and you pick something out and you have a question about it and you hit the bubble and the chat bubble, it's me that responds. And people are. Yeah, they're like, they ask me these questions because they think they're talking to a bot. And I'm like, hey, it's Lauren in Santa Barbara. What's up? [00:17:16] Speaker C: That's right. That's what makes it fun. [00:17:19] Speaker D: It is, totally. I got a message at like five in the morning from New York today From someone, and I think they were shocked because it was a very formal message about putting my link in their magazine. Yeah, it was like, for kosher Pickleball, I designed a kosher pickleball with pickles inside. And they thought it was funny. And they're like, we want to put you in our magazine. And I'm like, okay. And she's like, oh, you're real. This is not a bottom. I'm like, no. I'm like, this is Lauren. [00:17:46] Speaker C: Yeah. And that's the thing. I hope it stays like that. As much as we know, I get there are avenues we have to take because things happen and we can't wear all hats at all times. But at the same time, I think at this point, it's what I enjoy about Pickleball. And this community is. It's the real people. And for me, it's even above the game. It's the people that we've met along the way over the last six to eight months that I've really sort of caught a little bit of fire as well as you. So, yeah, I hope that continues as well. [00:18:21] Speaker D: I do, too. I feel every day, I'm like, these are the nicest, kindest people I've ever worked for. And I'll just give you a little brief here that our daughter, our oldest daughter, plays for the women's national soccer team. For beach soccer. Yes. [00:18:37] Speaker C: She's good. [00:18:39] Speaker D: She plays barefoot in the sand, and she plays against the other countries. It's pretty cool. But let me tell you, that whole business with soccer and where she's at and seeing her, just their community, completely different than what we've got here. [00:18:53] Speaker C: Yeah. Day and night, it is day and night. I had a niece that played very high level soccer at club soccer, national level stuff. And I was like, I don't know if I'd want to be in this world sometimes because it is different. It is business like, it is competitive like, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but at the end of the day, you hope you can feel good about participating in it and not just get sort of this overwhelmed feeling of that you're always sort of up against it, up against someone else. That's why I love the support that everybody you've talked about and I've talked about have for this game and each other. [00:19:29] Speaker D: Yeah. Oh, totally. Absolutely. We belong to this fabulous club here. My husband plays, and there's a bunch of competitor 50 plus that play there. But such nice people. I mean, like, Friday nights, they're doing barbecues, they're getting together. We're doing pickleball parties. I'm going to a pickleball get together in Santa Barbara downtown on this Thursday night, and they're just for the love of the game, just bringing people together. It doesn't matter what level you are, just come. We're having a happy hour with music. It's just such a nice. [00:20:01] Speaker C: So let's. Before we get you out of here, let's just talk a little bit about. Because obviously you have a big family and you have a day job, a fun job. Do you get time to play? [00:20:15] Speaker D: Yes, I do. I'm not as good as my husband, but I do play. I would have to say not on that level, but I do. I do play. I show up to all the events. I always have, like my booth, my pop up store. Everyone knows me here, just from Santa Barbara. Pickleball. [00:20:34] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:20:34] Speaker D: But more so, I'd have to say my husband is more of the hardcore player. [00:20:39] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:20:39] Speaker D: So that actually works for us. We're still married. [00:20:42] Speaker C: It works for us, too. Yeah. My wife's one of those people that she'll play like once every two weeks, but she's super athletic. She comes in and she still stomps on people. [00:20:53] Speaker D: Yeah. [00:20:54] Speaker C: I don't even practice. I'm like, nobody likes that. [00:20:56] Speaker D: Yeah. I mean, I really love it. It's so much fun. I love where we play. We have great people. We've got some really good people in this community that teach a lot of great clinics. Our open place on Friday night. It's really fun to go and connect with everybody on Friday nights, just to have drinks afterwards. So I'm definitely not on that level at all. I just go for fun. My husband takes it very seriously. I know when he hears this recording, he's going to have a little chuckle, but he takes it very seriously. [00:21:22] Speaker C: Yeah. And I think that's what's great about the game is ultimately like, you and your husband can play games together. MayBe not all the time, but at the same time, there are people that don't take it as seriously and people who do. And I think that's what's great about the game, is they can have games and have fun. [00:21:37] Speaker D: Yeah, exactly. And one thing I was just going to bring before you leave here is that one of the big things we went into, people would call me and say, I know you did the Santa Barbara. I love the Santa Barbara logo. But hey, we have our own group of women. There's 15 of us, and we want to have our own logo in Santa Barbara for our own group that plays. We've already bought your sweatshirts, your T shirts, they're so cute. But we want to own thing. So I just did this one. It's fun. You might have seen it. This is on fabric. This is Dinking Divas of pickleball. They were established in 2022. You can see here. [00:22:12] Speaker C: Beautiful. [00:22:13] Speaker D: And they have got a crown inside the paddle. It's a group of really amazing gals that are super sweet here that played our club and play in Glida. And they made these fun apparel. So we did these cruise out of our super beachy fabrics that we do. And then they said, we want some other things. Can you make some T shirts, face towels, keychains? So they have a mini store now on my store for them to shop and buy their own branded, deleted dinking divas for their group of 1415 women. [00:22:44] Speaker C: Yeah, that's very cool. And again, ultimately, at the end of the day, it's fun. You know what I mean? Yeah, it's fun. You get to go shop in your own little store with your own little things. I mean, how cool is that? [00:22:56] Speaker D: Yeah. And I share them the link, I set up all the stuff. I share it with them. I'm like, hey, this is live. It's on the store. Here's your link for your little mini store. They share it with their whole group. They all buy what they want. Some people like to buy a couple of things. Some people just want one thing. But the funny thing is seeing the pictures on Facebook where they're at a birthday party and they're all wearing sweatshirts and it's just kind of like they designed it. They wanted the crown by the paddle. It was like their fit. [00:23:21] Speaker C: It's a little bit of ownership for them. [00:23:22] Speaker D: Yes. And their name and their year and all it. [00:23:27] Speaker C: I love it. I love it. Well, hey, I mean, keep doing what you're doing. You're on obviously, an amazing path and you're connecting with people on a daily basis, which is super fun. I always look forward to getting a message from you because I know it's going to be super positive and fun. [00:23:42] Speaker D: You're awesome. [00:23:43] Speaker C: And folks, go to Santa Santa Barbarahappy. Happy Santa Find her on Instagram as well. We'll have all those links in the description and reach out contact. You want something custom. Lauren Jagal. All right. [00:24:00] Speaker B: Hope you enjoyed our interview with Lauren. Check out her site link in the description. Santa Find our store Senior Pickleball Report sleeves and hey, go in there, get that 10% off discount code for us is in the description as well and represent the channel. Okay, until next time. [00:24:24] Speaker C: Hey, let's pickle hey, if you're looking for very, very comfortable court shoes, in fact, the most comfortable court shoes I've ever worn, and I've worn a lot of them over the years playing different sports, try Fitville. We have a link in the description that gets you $20 off your purchase.

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