Lori Bosch and Jodi Wudjkowski traveled from their Michigan homes last year to play in their first pickleball tournament, the Arizona Grand Slam.
The two pals had started out as tennis partners, but when Lori developed knee trouble, she switched to pickleball, and persuaded her good friend to make the switch too.
They had been pickleball doubles partners for nearly two years when they traveled to Arizona for the tournament. It was, in part, a way to get beyond the COVID-19 restrictions in their home state.
“We planned this girl’s trip, and said, ‘Jodi, we’ve got to find something cute to wear so we look like a team,” Lori said.
“But we couldn’t find anything we’d want to wear,” she said.
The Navy and white outfits they wore, Lori said, were “lackluster, just like the way we played in that tournament.”
That tournament planted a seed, and spawned a business idea between the two women. They decided to come up with their own company that specialized in on- and off-the-court pickleball clothing – mostly T-shirts, hoodies and caps – they wouldn’t mind wearing themselves.
They would sell “pickleball wear with flair” and the rules would be simple: “No dancing pickles, no pickleballs with smiley faces, and no fluorescent green.”
Naming their company hit an unexpected snag. Their first idea was to make it a combination of their first names and call it “Jolo Pickleball Wear.” But their lawyer told them that might make them the target of a trademark infringement lawsuit from pop culture icon Jennifer Lopez and her “J.Lo” brand.
So, the budding pickleball entrepreneurs took the legally safe route, and called the company jojo+lo. In a little over a year, they have created six different collections – retro, hipster, America, chill, flair and statement – and set up pop-up shops in tournaments around the country.
Their products are being sold in Pickleball Central, some brick-and-mortar retailers around the country, and online at their jojoandlo.com website.
Their clothing has also been adopted as the stage costumes in the live-theater comedic play, “Pickleball”, which is written by actor Jeff Daniels and currently being performed at his Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea Michigan. The Pickler featured a story about this production: Dinking, Stage Right: Actor Jeff Daniels Writes Pickleball Live-Theater Comedy.
As pickleball grows, pickleball fashion is starting to blossom. This year, the clothing chain J Crew has teamed up with Recess, a pickleball paddle and accessories company, to produce a new line of branded paddles and accessories.
Jo and Lori aren’t surprised that pickleball is starting to get its own clothing identity that’s separate from tennis and other sports.
“Now that pickleball is becoming popular, people want to show that they’re pickleball players,” Lori said. “It’s becoming part of our identity.”