The up-and-coming pickleball brand Rally Republic is the creative vision of Encinitas resident Lauren Stohlman. Stohlman’s collection of pickleball paddles, characterized as “high-quality yet design-focused,” holds a vibrant and eclectic Southern California lifestyle ethos.
A Sense Of Fun And Individuality
Her paddles exude a sense of fun and individuality, with sporting designs featuring lively neon hues, lightning bolts, smiley faces, and stripes.
“The Encinitas paddle is actually my favorite,” Stohlman remarks, referring to the paddle adorned with a striking orange and pink checked pattern.
What sets Rally Republic apart is its official licensing agreements with several prominent U.S. colleges and universities. Pickleball enthusiasts can now showcase their alma mater on the court with paddles representing esteemed institutions such as Arizona, Florida, Ohio State, Alabama, and locally, the University of San Diego.
“We really started promoting Rally Republic in October last year, and we’re hoping in 2024 to really start growing the brand and getting it out there for everyone to see,” Stohlman says.
Read more about our paddle coverage here.
Her Entrepreneurial Spark
Originally from Dallas, Stohlman spent a decade in the fashion apparel industry working with brands like Guess and Tommy Bahama before establishing her own photography business, specializing in maternity, newborn, and family portraits for 12 years. In 2019, along with her husband and three children, she relocated to Encinitas in search of new opportunities.
The pandemic ignited Stohlman’s entrepreneurial spark as she discovered a passion for pickleball, playing against friends on backyard courts.
“We bought OK pickleball paddles online, and I realized there were not a lot of options that were cute and actually quality paddles,” she said. “I thought, ‘We need to make this, I think this could be a business!”
Sourcing The Ideal Paddle
In January 2023, Stohlman set out to bring Rally Republic to life, dedicating the year to sourcing the ideal paddle, crafting designs, securing licensing agreements, and establishing an online presence.
“I came up with the name, the logo, and designs for it and the way that we want it to look and feel: a brand that is fun and exciting just like pickleball is…with the happy SoCal vibe that we all love,” explains Stohlman, who partnered with entrepreneurs Chad Phillips and Mike DeCoursey to realize her vision.
After experimenting with various paddle prototypes, they settled on a design that met their standards—a paddle approved by USA Pickleball suitable for players of all skill levels, boasting durability, lightweight construction, and a sweat-proof, hand-wrapped leather grip featuring the stamped Rally Republic “R.”
Paying Homage To California
Many of the paddle models pay homage to California locales—the Del Mar, sporting a white and pink checked pattern; the Mammoth, evoking a vintage mountain aesthetic; and the Malibu, with its retro beachy blue stripes.
The addition of college-themed designs stemmed from Stohlman’s recognition of people’s fervent allegiance to their alma maters. However, obtaining licensing proved to be a formidable challenge, requiring meticulous negotiation and coordination with each institution.
”That has been quite the adventure to get each to sign off,” she says.
A Diverse Selection
While they currently offer a diverse selection, their goal is to expand their roster of colleges, focusing on those with extensive alumni networks, she explains, noting that her own alma mater, Abilene Christian University, is not yet represented.
Stohlman has distributed Rally Republic paddles among her circle of friends, who frequent venues like the Bobby Riggs Racket and Paddle Club or Poinsettia Park for daily matches.
“I love playing, but I’m more of a social player,” she admits, preferring casual matches outdoors with friends on local courts.
Rally Republic’s products are available online at RallyRepublic.com and Amazon.com, as well as in-store at 25 college bookstores and sporting goods retailers like Rally House and Gameday Spirit. The company aims to expand its retail presence this spring, with plans to diversify its product range to include apparel and accessories.
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