The Idaho-based company is certainly high profile, with its name appearing everywhere in the sport, from paddles and balls to podcasts and sponsorship agreements.
In The Grand Scheme Of Things
However, in the grand scheme of things, there are bigger names about at the moment, although not for long if the two homeschool brothers who own the company have anything to do with it!
“They’re one of the top performance brands in the sport,” said PickleballCentral.com’s John Cowley. “I’ve been impressed by their ability to see the trends and stay on the cutting edge of the sport while pioneering a marketing approach that has forced the entire industry to raise its game.”
The unconventional partnership with Sock certainly signifies Selkirk’s unique approach. The Barnes brothers, Mike and Rob, swiftly introduced successful concepts from different sports to the more grassroots, smaller-scale realm of pickleball.
They pioneered the industry’s inaugural limited lifetime warranty for their paddles at the company’s inception. Additionally, they inked the sport’s premier athlete sponsorship agreements, assembling a lineup of 22 elite players.
This roster features renowned figures such as Jack Sock, Catherine Parenteau, who ranked second among women players, and Tyson McGuffin, who holds the third spot among male players in the Professional Pickleball Association.
Dedicate Staff And Exponential Growth
With a dedicated staff and exponential growth in recent years, Selkirk now stands at the front of pickleball equipment manufacturers, witnessing a surge in sales and becoming the leading revenue generator.
The brothers attribute their success to a tight-knit team solely devoted to pickleball, distinguishing them from larger companies with broader interests.
“A rising tide lifts all boats, so those big companies bring more attention to pickleball,” younger brother Mike Barnes, 29, told Jim Gorant of The Sports Business Journal. “But large brands move fairly slowly, so it’s hard for them to keep up with the rate of change.”
Rob, 31, says that larger companies “usually have only a handful of people dedicated to pickleball, but our entire staff is focused on nothing but pickleball.”
The Selkirk Mountains Of Hayden, Idaho
If their staff growth is anything to go by, they may soon be rivaling their large competitors in terms of workforce. The company has expanded from 10 employees in 2020 to surpass 100 today, with their father, Jim, serving as the company’s president.
Concurrently, sales experienced unprecedented growth, surpassing a 100% increase each year from 2021 to 2023. This surge catapulted Selkirk, named after the nearby Selkirk Mountains in Hayden, Idaho, to the top spot in revenue among pickleball equipment manufacturers.
The company’s association as the official paddle partner for the PPA and APP tours further solidifies its prominent position in the industry. Commenting on the firm’s current mommentum, Rob noted, “We anticipate shipping more products in 2023 than in the cumulative eight years prior.”
Engaging With The Pickleball Community At Large
Their success isn’t merely financial; Selkirk is also a frequent and active engager with the pickleball community at large. Their initiatives range from supporting nonprofits and schools with free gear to enrolling influencers as ambassadors.
Moreover, Selkirk introduced industry-first strategies like lifetime warranties and athlete sponsorships, fostering a roster of top players, including Sock and other prominent names.
Innovative Working Practices
Continuing their innovative working practices, Selkirk offers a comprehensive pickleball experience through Selkirk TV, an app streaming matches, interviews, and tutorials alongside Selkirk University, housing instructional content.
Their inclusive approach extends to Selkirk Labs, which invites members to test and access new equipment before its official release.
Mike comments, “It’s like being able to buy the newest iPhone six months before it comes out and give the company feedback.”
“Part of our strategy is vertical integration,” he adds. “We have a full-time AI developer on staff. We have videographers and editors on staff.
“We’ve looked at companies that have built leading brands – Apple, Amazon, even Nike – and they have a competitive advantage because they can take everything in-house.”
“We Are Pickleball”
The company is using the AI experience to produce an AI chatbot that helps players find their most suitable paddle. It is also releasing podcasts, TV shows, and mini-documentaries like “Destination Pickleball.”
Mike says, “Our motto is ‘We are pickleball,’ and that’s not only because we’re solely focused on the sport but because we’re very involved in the community and trying to grow the game overall.”
Looking ahead, Selkirk aims for depth over breadth in its expansion, focusing on advanced yet affordable paddle lines and an upgraded women’s apparel collection. Notably, a pickleball-specific shoe is on the horizon, expected to launch in 2024.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?