Women in Pickleball Interview
Our Founder was recently interviewed by Pickleball Magazine as part of a story on the women behind the sport of pickleball. Read her entire interview, below:
How did you get started in the pickleball space?
After recognizing that the pandemic was a catalyst for incredible growth of the sport, I decided to jump into pickleball head first, in an effort to create a modern pickleball apparel line…something I didn’t see yet in the space.
Give us a little history on your career background and tell us how you became inspired to start Civile.
Ha! People often ask me if I am a clothing designer or graphic designer by trade, and that is far from the truth…or should I say, “was far from it”?
My career history is a colorful one, but the majority of my career has been in the education sector. I spent years as a language/linguistics teacher in at the high school, community college, and university level. With that said, I have always had an undeniable entreprenuerial spirit. Having started a few other companies, including a talent agency still in business today, I went back to teaching during the early years of my children’s lives because it was the career most conducive to working and being able to spend time with the kids. Later, during my time as a single mother, teaching allowed me the flexibility and financial security I needed.
When my father passed during the summer of 2020, it was a crippling loss for me personally. I came home and told my husband I was going to take six months off of work. The floor felt like it had fallen out from underneath me. But, I believe that buried somewhere within this darkness was the inspiration to step into entrepreneurship once again, in an effort to honor him.
A couple of months later, I felt my father’s spirit lift me and lead me to Civile.
I became re-inspired to start a business upon seeing the exponential growth of pickleball, and the need for a modern, edgy apparel line that spoke to me and the aesthetic I grew up around.
How has the brand evolved since you started it?
We are still a very young brand, but we have been lucky enough to bob and weave slightly in the direction of our brand identity, in an effort to stay in a truly unique category for the sport. For example, as an all female team, we were very focused on the women’s line to start but have now added numerous items for men and even an adorable line of baby/toddler items, called our Picklets line, due to the response/feedback of our customers.
What does it mean to you to be a woman entrepreneur in the pickleball community?
I would honestly say that being a female entrepreneur in this space has been such an honor and an incredible experience. The entire pickleball community is so warm and welcoming. In addition to that, I find that people react very positively to me being a female entrepreneur; many of them offering support or wanting to get involved. It’s truly a humbling experience.
How long have you been playing pickleball yourself?
Like so many people, I discovered pickleball during 2020 when we were desperate for some human interaction and outdoor fun. With a blended family of seven, plus dogs and chickens, we are a full house. We needed something to get us outside, get our bodies moving, and keep us healthy, mentally and physically. That summer my husband painted our first court in the driveway so that we could share the love with our friends and family...and we never looked back.
Why do you love pickleball?
For those of us who play sports competitively growing up, pickleball offers us a chance to dive in again, to work towards something in sport again. It’s incredible to see all of the retired and current athletes from other sports jumping into the mix. In addition to this, pickleball is just simple fun. It’s a game of laughter and joy, and it brings people together during a time that is otherwise fairly divisive and dark.
What are some highlights from the last year?
For me personally, owning a business has always been an opportunity to create a platform for good, just as my father had done with his business. My highlights from last year really center upon those we’ve been able to help. Being involved in everything from local service members, to fundraisers for schools, to teaching refugee children how to play, to benefits for MS Society, Rady Children’s Hospital, and SD Cancer Angels, Civile has given us the incredible opportunity to give back… and there is nothing more I would rather do with what I have.
What are you looking most forward to in the next year? Anything new you’re working on that you wanted to mention to the pickleball audience?
There is so much to look forward to. We continue to foster the relationships we have with some of the top athletes in the sport and we have some exciting news about a new partnership unfolding. In addition to this, we are releasing a line in August that I am very excited about. This new line of products leans heavily into the Southern California lifestyle that is so near and dear to my heart and my personal aesthetic. These new items are sure to be conversation starters, on and off the court. Stay tuned!
What are your favorite pickleball destinations?
Oh wow. Just the word “destination” (as it implies vacation) isn’t currently in my library of words. As a CEO/Founder of Civile, mother to five teenagers, and someone who has been teaching during the summer due to the shortage of educators right now, the most time I get away is with my eyelids shut. But, I’ve heard of so many wonderful places to travel to, all with incredible pickleball programs and facilities. One place I am excited to visit is Rancho La Puerta, just across the border in Mexico. This all inclusive resort has a fantastic pickleball program, but also offers guests 40 miles of hiking trails, 32 beautifully landscaped gardens, an organic farm, and all the incredible food and fitness courses you can imagine. We are hoping to take a group of women with us on a trip in Spring.