Dink ‘n’ Dish serves up pickleball profiles that uncover the heart and soul of the pickleball community, one conversation at a time.
My pickleball opponent glared at me, eyes ablaze with fiery intensity.
He stood 14 feet away, close enough for me to watch his muscles pulsate; his nose flair.
Tension high, pressure mounting.
And then I saw it.
Attached to his white-knuckled hand was a paddle adorned with a smiling pickle.
Not just any smiling pickle. But the cutest and friendliest pickle you will ever see.
Damn, I love pickleball.
After our game, I asked him about the paddle, and he told me it was a gift from his wife from the Big Dill Pickleball Co.
The literal yet whimsical approach of putting a smiling pickle on a pickleball paddle, stayed with me. I had to track down the creator of this fun madness.
Founded in 2020, Big Dill Pickleball Co., a woman-owned and operated company, operates out of Salt Lake City, UT, offering high-quality and unique pickleball paddles, sets, and accessories to beginners and beyond.
Pickleball Rookie: Please introduce yourself and tell us about starting Big Dill Pickleball Co.
Katy Luxem: I’m Katy Luxem, the founder and CEO of Big Dill Pickleball Co. I founded the company in 2020. I had started playing a lot of pickleball and found it accessible, inclusive, and fun. The problem was, none of the gear and paddles out there matched this vibe. It was all high-tech and expensive or cheap and junky, plus it looked like the side of an RV when it came to design. I have an extensive background in branding and eCommerce so I thought, why not jump in the game? I started selling in March 2021 and it’s been a really fantastic time to be in the pickleball space.
As a woman-owned business and a mom of three young players, I am also so happy our mission and brand aim to be accessible, fun, and stand out from the crowd.-Katy Luxem
PR: Tell us about the first time you heard “pickleball.”
Katy: I was born and raised in Seattle, near where pickleball was invented. Unlike most people who discovered it during the pandemic, I actually grew up playing the sport in PE and at school. It wasn’t a big mainstream sport, but I have known of it since I was about 7 years old! That’s one of the coolest things about pickleball: It can be a lifelong endeavor. You can play and have a great time if you’re 7 or 77.
PR: What were your initial thoughts when you played pickleball for the first time?
Katy: I rediscovered pickleball living in Utah in 2019. I had broken both ankles that year playing roller derby. It was time to retire from skating, but pickleball filled my need to be competitive and exercise in a more low-impact way. I quickly became obsessed with pickleball and found so many friends from playing at local courts that I could tell it was going to explode in popularity.
PR: How often do you play?
Katy: Usually three times per week in leagues, but also a bit more now that the weather is warming up and there are more courts around for casual play.
PR: Where do you see the sport of pickleball in 10 years?
Katy: Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, and it has only barely started to register internationally. I can definitely see a lot more courts, classes, and opportunities to play in cities where it already exists. Plus, an expansion to more rural places. We have already seen traction with our brand in Canada, Mexico, and the UK. It would be great if pickleball has grown enough to be an Olympic sport in the next 10 years. I think because it’s easy to learn and accessible across so many demographics, it’s likely to continue growing at a fast pace.
PR: What advice do you have for anyone who is on the fence about getting started or is an absolute beginner?
Katy: Get some paddles and either join a learn-to-play class in your community or find a more experienced friend to teach you the basics. Once you know the rules and can keep score, head to your local courts for rotational play or join a league for beginners. You will be a superstar in no time. Please remember courts are in high demand, so be conscientious of basic etiquette if it’s crowded.
PR: If you could make one change to the sport, what would it be?
Katy: More courts! And more people playing with Big Dill Pickleball Co. paddles and gear.
PR: Where would your dream pickleball match take place?
Katy: On a beautiful court in Hawaii with my most competitive friends and no time limits. Ideally, the temperature is perfect and there’s magically no wind.