I have a couple of standard responses to the question, “What’s going on, Stacie?” And, based on the day, the answer will be a variation of “Living the dream” (on bad days, “trying my best to live the dream”). Everyone’s dreams are uniquely individual, and some do a better job than others at executing on the dreams—like a couple of best friends out of Denver, Colorado, who are sharing their love of pickleball with each other, their families, and the community at large with a new venture.
Nancy Shipp and Elise Markel first met each other two decades ago through their husbands (who work together). Over the course of these two decades, they shared vacations, golf outings, family milestones, holidays, and more. Needless to say, Nancy and Elise are best friends, as are their entire families. And, it was their families—in particular, their kids—that brought the two even closer together.
During COVID, Elise’s son, Justin, came home from college and pushed the families to get out of the house and onto—none other than—the pickleball court (which, as an aside, is a bit of a twist because typically it was the older generations pushing the sport down to the younger generations). Like the rest of the pickleball population, Nancy and Elise were instantly hooked driving an hour or more (even if there was a chance of rain) for the hope to dink, drive, and drop the pickleball around the court.
The duo was so hooked that they would even spend their entire vacations out on the pickleball court. In particular, one vacation in Vail with their husbands sparked the next phase of their love for pickleball and their bond with each other. After hours on the pickleball court for three consecutive days, Nancy and Elise noticed hundreds of pickleball players, with hundreds of pickleball paddles, but no one had a pickleball bag. Lightbulb moment… Nancy and Elise would work together to fulfill a need for a pickleball bag.
Nancy and Elise fully committed to bringing their vision to life—from their first design meeting on January 25, 2022, to launching the company and brand in August 2022, to now Elise leaving her career behind to give 100% to her new career as a pickleball entrepreneur. What they created is a brand called “Trelle” that produces stylish pickleball bags that merge fashion, function, and joy together. The brand—Trelle—comes from the word “quaintrelle,” which means women who find passion through activity, friendship, and style. This is the core of what Nancy and Elise want their budding company to be—a brand of friendship, connection, serendipity, and happiness—which is what the pickleball experience has been to them.
They are now in phase two of the company, with brand new products that will launching in Summer 2023. This second product launch will incorporate some improvements and learnings that Nancy and Elise have discovered along their journey as pickleball entrepreneurs. Like on the pickleball court, they want to be nimble and move fast (although they may make some mistakes along the way) as entrepreneurs. They want to take a risk that is rooted in passion because without risk, there is no reward. And the reward for Nancy and Elise—or the dream—is for people to feel about the brand and the sport of pickleball the same way that they do. In other words, they want people to feel joy when using their products, and they want Trelle to help foster the friendships and familial relationships that the sport of pickleball has given each of them.
A common story with pickleball is that that the sport gives people purpose or a new lease on life that they didn’t have before picking up a paddle. This usually stems from the amazing connections and relationships created along the way. This is also true for Nancy and Elise. Even though they already had a strong friendship, pickleball has brought them and their families even closer. Further, Nancy and Elise have a new, second career, which they note is exciting to start something new and continue to learn in the second half of their work lives.
If you are in need of a stylish bag, or on the hunt for a gift for a passionate pickleball player, check out Trelle at trelleco.com. A portion of profits are donated to meaningful organizations like the SHE-CAN organization (which supports education for women from post-conflict countries).