Episode#:29 Bobby Schindler and Shaun J Boyce

Ryan Theimer says Diadem Sports is “big enough to compete but small enough to care” and wants to “make tennis cool again”

Ryan Theimer of Diadem Sports is focused on “making tennis cool again.” Believing that tennis players are “craving something new,” Diadem Sports is encouraging high school and high performance players to try their high quality tennis racquets and string. Evidently pickleball products from Diadem are the popular items currently and there’s something super secret on the wall in the office…

https://diademsports.com/

IG: DiademSports_Ryan

Shaun Boyce USPTA: [email protected]

https://tennisforchildren.com/ 🎾

Bobby Schindler USPTA: [email protected]https://windermerecommunity.net/ 🎾

Geovanna Boyce: [email protected]https://regeovinate.com/ πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ‹οΈ

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Transcript
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Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

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Every episode is titled, "It starts with tennis" and goes from there.

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We talk with coaches, club managers, industry business professionals,

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technology experts, and anyone else we find interesting.

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We want to have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

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[MUSIC]

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Hey, hey, this is Shaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast, powered by Go Tennis!

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Check out our calendar of Metro Atlanta tennis events at Let'sGoTennis.com,

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where you can also find deals on equipment, apparel, and more.

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In this episode, we talked to Ryan Theimer with Diadem Sports.

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Only having been in the industry since 2015,

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Diadem has been described as big enough to compete and small enough to care.

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Have a listen and let us know what you think.

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>> Your base South Florida, are you southeast rep?

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I want to jump right in because that sounds crazy to me.

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That's, well, most of the reps for the southeast, they stick them in Atlanta,

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because you can get everywhere.

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You have to drive the length of Florida to go anywhere?

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>> So, interesting question.

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So, I like starting off with that.

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So, with us being more of like, I'd say kind of a startup company.

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So, we started 2015, Diadem, right?

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And into the tennis world that's very young.

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A lot of these brands have been around 1950s or 1950s and 1950s and 1950s.

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So, for us right now, we have a very strong sales team.

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We all stay here.

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We have one guy in Texas who is the main Texas rep,

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because for us, we felt as a market, Texas was very heavy, especially junior in,

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which is kind of something I'll go in a little bit later, but more of our direction.

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But everyone else, we stay in South Florida.

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We have our HQ here where we actually have like a full hitting lane, offices, all that kind of stuff.

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And for right now, what we do is more so, I call college coaches, high schools all over the country.

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We don't really have specific territory reps just yet, because we're still young in the game.

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We're still building as we continue to grow.

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We have more plans to put people within that.

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But we'll travel accordingly.

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I mainly go to USDA conventions.

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That would be what I'll travel for, because we'll get a bunch of coaches into one room where I'm able to basically showcase the product,

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which is what we need being so young.

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So, as of right now, we only have that one Texas guy that's like the territory rep,

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but everyone else kind of has more so pickable facilities, coaches,

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juniors, tennis facilities, it goes like that.

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So, it's kind of what not where in this case?

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Exactly.

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Gotcha.

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And so, we're talking to Ryan.

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Is it Timer?

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Is that the...

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Timer?

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Timer.

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Timer.

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Timer.

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You say you're targeting personally your USDA conferences.

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And that sounds brutal.

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Like having to go in and convince these guys, no, no, no, no, no, Wilson's fine.

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But we're better and here's why.

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Or at least we're a relevant alternative.

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And here's why, because saying we're better than Wilson's probably dangerous.

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Because they're the big dog in that...

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Double it short.

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Yeah, double it short.

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Yeah, so, and how do you break into Atlanta?

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So, one of the things we're doing here is we're trying to figure out how do we get products

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like, "Diam, we've had conversations with another small, as a small-ish company in Technifiber

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and LaCoste, where they've got a little different way of doing things than the bigger than

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the larger, like you say, the companies that have been around for thousands of years.

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How are you getting into an area like Atlanta?

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Is that something you've thought about?

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Is that a big market for you or you to say, "Well, I'm told to go to the USDA conferences."

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And that's what I focus on.

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So Georgia is actually...

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When I first started, I started in doing high schools.

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So I had 25 states.

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Georgia was actually one of them.

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So I did have the opportunity to reach out to a lot of these high school coaches and teaching

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pros within the Georgia area, specifically because I knew how well Atlanta is and how many

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people are coming in and playing tennis.

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So I'll tell you one thing that definitely started that wasn't really so am I doing, but

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when COVID happened and blessed everyone's heart that went through it, but everyone had

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the supply chain issue.

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Fortunately for us, we didn't.

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So a lot of these places needed tennis balls and in the tennis world, word of mouth is going

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to be something that's very important.

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So if I tell you that our tennis ball is good, comparative to your friend that played with

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it on the weekend, probably can listen to your friend.

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So we had an opportunity where no one had tennis balls.

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The big five didn't really have any of their equipment just yet, but we did.

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So we were able to get into these very high places and they got to try our stuff.

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And for us to have that opportunity, then call and say, hey, well, this place tried it, this

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college is using it, this facility give our equipment a chance was it was a big thing.

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So that was one.

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I would say it was kind of more of a give me and good place, good time for a lot of us,

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but I'd say the biggest thing right now that we're going off of is grassroots.

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So instead of attacking a big player or one big facility and just having one person say,

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hey, this is a great brand, we're going to target these kids that are going through futures

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and going through all these tournaments and really trying to get to a professional level

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of tennis, whether it's college or going to play pro, those are the markets that we're

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going after.

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So we've we partner with universal tennis.

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That's a new thing that we have going.

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We're really going strong on getting these younger kids a better opportunity to play tennis

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and use this high quality equipment moving forward.

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And for us that's been a great kind of step in because a lot of these companies aren't

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really paying attention to the juniors, I'd say.

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Yeah, we've got one of the things we're talking about with Bobby and we're targeting potentially

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more for the juniors than really is there.

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And the high schools has a good target to say, hey, they're not quite getting enough.

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In that case, are we are we really doing enough for them?

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And like you said, the big five, do they care?

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Is it just they're already out there and they're not really offering anything?

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Bobby, you said you did some homework.

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We were talking earlier.

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You said you did some homework on on diet, I'm interested in what they've got going

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on technically.

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And we want to ask all the questions, of course, about the strengths, about the tennis

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rackets and you said you're hiding pickle balls, so we're going to have to ask them about that as well.

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Don't map me.

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What kind of questions you got?

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No, it's a tough road.

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I mean, I was involved with Mantis for a short period of time when they were trying to

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come to the country.

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And you know, all the same ideas, you know, the Babelot Playbook, let's go, with Staub

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with Strings, go get five.

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Hopefully one of them turns into Andy Roddick.

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And you know, but it's tough.

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You know, how do you sustain ability?

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I mean, I know you're seeing this.

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How do you know, where's the profitability?

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You're still using start up money.

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That's a big thing in the tennis industry.

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Somebody that we see don't make it, not just because they're not quality, just because we

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run out of money.

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Yeah.

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So, again, kind of the hiding the pickle ball.

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And so we started with Strings in 2015 that we went to balls when the whole thing happened

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2020.

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We were very afloat with the ball sales.

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Then we picked up and pickle ball.

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I'd say right now for us to be a company trying to get into the lane of the big five if we

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didn't have pickle ball and the trust of that community and how fast that's growing,

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it would be a lot more of a difficult time to kind of get in.

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I'd say a lot of shops and facilities that include both are a lot more likely to listen

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to us because they want to try our pickle ball stuff.

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They like it.

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It's good.

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Let's try your tennis stuff now.

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So, for us being a younger company and trying to stay afloat, if we didn't have the pickle

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ball end, it would be a little bit of a different story.

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But I'd say after that, that COVID with us going with the tennis balls and the pickle ball

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thing, it's, we've actually been very profitable after that.

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But 2015 to COVID, I wasn't with the company at that time.

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So it was two tennis pros that they were literally in their garage calling everyone, Evan and

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AJ are their names.

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They were the ones calling everyone from 2015 to 2020.

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They were three guys.

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One of them was basically helping for the general manager side of it and they would just call

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and that's all they would do.

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They would call every coach, get them out there.

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One of them has a few ATP points.

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They know what it's like to be in that kind of world.

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And they grind it from that time and got very fortunate with the supply chain stuff.

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Well, I love the idea first of all.

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This is what we have this conversation with our tennis clubs.

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Use pickle ball to be a revenue generator.

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Put the money into tennis.

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You know, that's your opportunity.

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This is a rare opportunity that paddle sports tennis in general has had to have something

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new come into.

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It's really created a buzz.

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Use it.

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Use it properly.

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You know, that's which is great.

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It's fine.

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You time because I'm a firm proponent.

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Obviously the same thing with man is man is the gentleman who was the creator of matches was

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essentially the dumb laugh engineer.

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So he made a lot of great sticks and when we actually got him into people's hands, it was

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you know, we have a good wow.

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This is unbelievable.

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It's hard.

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It's hard to find the instructor who is willing to go take on Wilson because they're going

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to say, what is this product?

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What is matches?

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What is diet in them?

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Well, you know, like you said, we've been actually used your balls at our club for

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the very reason you said you couldn't get it.

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You know, we're big Wilson club.

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We couldn't get Wilson.

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Wilson's still on a boat somewhere.

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So, you know, we bought 10 cases of balls and like you said, great introduction, but we're

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small.

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We only have so much wall space.

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How are you doing?

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Are you making any inroads with any of the bigger online even retailers?

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Yes.

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So, again, with big online retailers, it's going to be demand.

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So, you know, we want this product.

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We're going to buy it kind of thing in tennis warehouse that realm in the beginning, very

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hard because there's no demand for a diet, I'm sick or diet, I'm straying because again,

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we're just not known on that level yet.

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So one of the biggest ones that really started for us and we had a sales rep just walk up

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to them during a convention in a booth was pickleball central.

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I don't know if you guys are familiar with them.

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They're the largest online retailer for pickleball and we're their top five brand on the website.

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So for sales and the pickleball realm, they do some tennis too, but we're a top five top

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three brand on there.

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That's helped us get into the Amazon sphere.

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We're also going to go into PGA, played against sports.

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A lot of those big sport, complex kind of facilities and stuff.

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That was a big thing because we got in with pickleball central early and did so.

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I will argue about whether playing against sports is a good idea at another time, but I understand

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that there's an urgency.

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I get it.

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Yeah, I get it.

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I mean, we can talk about play because we have them here and, you know, it's, it's not

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important.

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And Atlanta is a different market so we can throw it and land out.

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So I'm an Atlanta tennis player.

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How do I go about finding out and trying what are your rackets?

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So that's a great question.

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We have different sales reps here that are also dealing with reps within different states

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and stuff.

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That's not my end.

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I don't deal with that, but we'll, we have two different ends.

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So you could go online retail and the only way you're really going to know about that is

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if your friend tells you to go online and buy the racket, which really happens.

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Usually you're going to want to play with it.

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You're going to want to touch.

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You're going to want to feel it.

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That's going to come from, we have a lot of facilities that we pick up.

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The pros there and that's kind of on my end.

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That's where we'll get a lot of sales.

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So for you, if I don't know what level tennis player you're at, but, you know, let's say you're

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on the lower end, you're taking clinics, you're playing.

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We'll have a lot of pros head pros at facilities using our equipment.

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And that that would be the biggest one right now on the tennis end for us is more so.

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We have pros and reps using our equipment on the tennis facility end that for us has been

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the best revenue in the sense of getting rackets because again, right now online tennis wise

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is not as successful as it would be a tennis facility having a pro use our stuff and then

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sell it in the pro shop.

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Well, you have how many different rackets?

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So I actually have a few here.

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So we have two lines.

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We have a hundred square inch and then we have the 90, 98.

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So we have basically a pure drive, very friendly racket.

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We have players on tour that are using that and then we also have people have never played

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tennis using that racket.

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The other end we have the players frame a little bit stiffer than 98.

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Nova is the hundred square inch elevate is the 98.

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And within those two rackets, there will be different ones that vary in weight.

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So the Nova Nova light, we have a plus and then elevate.

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We have the regular light and tour.

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And we started, obviously there's a couple different ones in the back here, but right now we

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have the Nova, which is brought nice black color.

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This is the Gen 1 version.

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So we're going to come out with a new one beginning of 2024, but this is our best seller

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here.

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So this is what put us on the map for rackets.

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Very nice, easy racket to pick up and feel.

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And the thing that for us and I know you asked about technology is created by tennis players.

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So they've used every racket on the market.

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They specifically created a lot of this stuff for tennis players and tennis pros, right?

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So they wanted to have something that they felt was missing in the market.

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Ars are foam filled.

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So that's not a thing that much anymore with a lot of these rackets.

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This will feel much like a pure drive.

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Like I said, a lot of people feel as if they're missing something because they're hollow.

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Ars are foam filled, a lot of dampening, very comfortable.

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That has set us apart for a lot of these rackets where they pick up, they feel it, they play

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with it like, wow, this is actually great.

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Lastly we have, this is the Gen 1 version of our elevate.

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You can see here it's kind of like our signature teal color.

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And then we upgraded to the Gen 2 this year, which has a little bit more of kind of like a royal

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navy blue color.

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I think this racket looks a lot better.

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I think they did a great job with this one.

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And we can go into it a little bit more, but there's some new technology in that racket too.

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It's called Craven, which is a German rubber material.

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And again, it's for dampening and for us, we want to make a really comfortable players frame

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for everyone.

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That's the goal.

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Fantastic.

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And we laugh, but aesthetics are important.

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Yeah, I tell you what, especially in the world of juniors, they care more about the decal

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and how the strings look with the racket more so than the technology.

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Yeah, it's a hard part.

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That's a hard part.

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You're right.

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I mean, because Manchester is the same way.

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Like I said, quality stick made by tennis players.

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And we'd always laugh about, you know, okay, why does the red and the black one sell

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vocals, they're Georgia colors.

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So red and black is going to sell really well here, you know, in the net.

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So where are your weights for your different sticks?

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So the Nova and the nice thing is too, I don't, I love this.

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They have them on the racket right here, but Nova will be about 10.5 ounces.

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And again, it will vary.

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So the light is about, I don't remember if my memory right now, things about 285 or the

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light.

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And then there's a plus.

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So that will be a half inch longer and a little bit heavier as well.

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That's about 305 grams.

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And then we have the elevate this one coming in straight at 305.

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The tour is at 315 and then the lights at 295 for the elevate.

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So you're hitting all the, the sweet spots?

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Yeah, and then we have a, in the Nova, we have a 105 as well.

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So there's a light and an ultra light for that kind of called the resort racket.

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So anyone that's kind of, you know, on that end.

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Well, again, very important.

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I mean, we spoke to, you know, the Technifier rep and that was a big drawback for Technifier.

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There was no place to go.

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Yeah, it's great from Epidep, but who, you know, I don't have him in my club.

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So, you know, so you know, that you have to think about even though the one sells or that's

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your exposure, you need the other one because not everybody's going to be comfortable in

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the other racket.

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You have to have it.

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And that's gets expensive.

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And I mean, that's what's hard because you got it by both.

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Well, it's funny mentioned that too, though.

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So one of the things just just having two rackets is another thing too.

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Everyone's always asking for a, you know, when are you going to come out the new frame

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or like everyone loves variety.

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And the fact that, you know, the big five have 50 different frames to choose from comparative

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to two again, on the online, you know, realm, more online retailers like that variety.

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Because there's more sales, there's more money coming in where for us just two rackets

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with different weights, you know, they really need the demand for that.

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So that's why you're again, you're going to seem a little bit more in pro shops and the

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pros using them and describe that for us because we talked to the lay person.

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Is there probably what's the phrase for a layton at the average tennis player that doesn't

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sound appealing with talking if you talk to the player improvement racket club, the club

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player.

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Yeah, the club player.

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Yeah, the club player.

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Describe that you've got two rackets.

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Who is it for?

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So I'm, is it Wilson?

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I can be, I can be tall, skinny.

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I can be, I can be old.

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I can be young and there's a racket for everybody, right?

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You're two rackets that you got.

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Who are you covering with that?

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So good question.

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We do have junior rackets too.

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I didn't cover that.

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So we do have 19 all the way to 26.

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So that will help on that end when they're younger and everything.

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But it will be the weights and again, too.

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So for us, what will cater?

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I don't like saying a beginner racket in immediate or advanced because again, for our beginner

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racket, which is the 100 square inch, our tour players are using it.

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So it's not necessarily a beginner racket, but what we'll do is we market the Nova as

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a very friendly racket.

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Anyone can pick it up.

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And really for the average player, what we end up doing is just having the demo program

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because we don't have a set market yet where it's like if you're smaller and shorter, you

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should use this one because everyone's going to be a little bit different.

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So for us, what we've seen is just kind of allowing that demo program.

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And again, on the online sphere, there's very rarely them buying the racket because I'm

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10 years old and I just started playing tennis and I know I need a racket.

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So I'm going to go buy a diet.

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It's more so.

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I'm at a high performance camp.

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My coach is telling me to use this racket.

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He puts it in my hand.

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So with the weights, it gives us a chance if we get to talk to them, to kind of tell them,

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okay, you're, you know, you're, you're a, you're taller, but you're skinny and you need a

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little bit more power.

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You should use the lights, you know, because it's a little bit heavy and all that kind

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of stuff.

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So average club player, what you're end up doing, you're not going to worry about the

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weights.

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You're either going to get the Nova or the Elevate because the Nova is black and

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you're getting the black one or because the Elevate's blue and the blue one.

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Do you want the black one or the blue one?

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That's really how it goes to be honest with you.

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Yeah.

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So at the end of the day.

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And that's in, so high school player, same decision.

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So when, when Bobby says, hey, I've got, I got 30 high school kids and 10 of them need new

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rackets because a few of them even are coming with their Walmart racket.

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How do we get a diet, and I guess that leads to the question that is, how do you incentivize

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Bobby as an example?

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And as a separate question, me with the juniors, with the younger kids, why, why are how am I

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incentivized in the same way that Wilson says, we're going to put you on our pro staff?

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Is that Bobby's pro staff still a thing?

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Is that is still called the same?

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Yeah, I think, I think something that would do that.

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That incentive program to say, hey, here coach, here's the diet, and this is why you're

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going to sell it to all your high school kids.

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So good question.

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Number one, the thing to revert back to that we talked about, so we're small, right?

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So we have a salesperson here that says that we're big enough to compete, small enough to

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care.

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So the same thing with that kind of the coaches and all that on Wilson's just going to give

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you a discount, that's it.

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You're done.

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Bablads, same thing.

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For us, what we do is we're reaching out to these coaches and we're letting them know

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that hey, we have this equipment, I'll cover that and what the benefits are, but the other

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thing is too is you're going to have these players on the team.

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We're going to care about them.

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So it's basically going to be a sponsorship.

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They're going to be on our Instagram.

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If you win any matches, you tell me that it's going to go on the story.

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So the kids see it.

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The other thing that we're doing too, I work with college coaches, we're going to have

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a database of all these college coaches, D1, D2, D3, that's going to be on RN, who's

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ever using our equipment, high schools, we're going to send them different slides shows of

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players in different schools that are using our equipment and send it over to those coaches,

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kind of as a promotion for D1, and then also to it's going to help the younger kids that

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if a college coach sees the high school name, they might be a little bit more likely to

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sign some of those players.

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So we explain that to the coaches that we're going to take the time to actually work with

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you and make the kids excited to play tennis.

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Because what I've seen is a smaller drive to play tennis on the high school end.

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A lot of kids come with Walmart rackets, they come with their dads rackets from the garage

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that's wooden because their parents are telling them to play.

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They're not going out and I want to play tennis.

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There are some of those kids and there's a good amount of them still, but what I've seen

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on the high school end is a lot of these coaches are struggling to get kids to have structure

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and want to play high performance tennis.

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When we come in with D1, they're getting shirts, they're getting uniforms, matching bags.

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They feel as if they're on a little bit more of a high performance level and we're able

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to do that through providing the equipment, putting them on the Instagram stories, the colleges.

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And that's really what we've seen a lot of, especially high school and college coaches,

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want to pick up our equipment for that fact.

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So what are your price points?

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So as a coach, you guys are going to get different price points with that than the club

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player.

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So for me, I deal wholesale.

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So I'm not talking to a customer coming in that just needs a racket.

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I don't deal with that.

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If you're a coach and you're buying a bunch of balls and you're buying, you need bags

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and uniforms, that's you deal with me.

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So with that, you get margins taken off because you're purchasing so much in bulk, like Costco,

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type of thing.

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So as a coach, you get basically 40 to 50% off of what the retail price would be under our,

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we call it a premier team.

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So if you're a high school coach, I reach out to you.

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You buy balls already and whatever a budget the school gives you if you're private or public,

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you're going to need equipment.

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And again, it's more so just go off Amazon, BSN, sometimes Wilson will give you a 20 to

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30% coupon code you just put online.

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For us, you deal with us directly and I'm giving you an opportunity to purchase, you know,

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if you're buying 10 cases, you get one free, you get the 40 to 50% margins.

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Everyone's price is a little bit different.

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So I can't really say like if you're a high school coach, what your racket would be because

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online, they're 225 and 235, but as a coach, if you're buying five rackets, you're going

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to get 50% off of that basically.

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No, what I'm curious about is what is the end point because that's a big thing.

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I mean, that's the top right.

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You don't have name recognition, but it still costs you.

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So you got to go up because I mean, when we were with Mantis, well, I've never heard of

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Mantis.

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Are you cheaper?

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Well, you know, I have some room as you know, I'm cutting it in my margins and you know,

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the good news, I don't know your situation, but it's seemingly that you don't have a,

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you didn't have a supply chain issue where you manufacture.

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We're manufacturing overseas, so we have our factories in Asia and we actually got very

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fortunate with a lot of our manufacturers.

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Our balls in the main in the same factories, US open, a lot of our facilities are the same

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factories that these big brands are using and we get an opportunity to get in there,

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you know, make our equipment there.

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And as you know, everyone pretty much has it made in the same place, some, you know, some

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are a little bit different, but each we can say the C word China.

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Yeah, exactly.

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Asia sounds.

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Yeah, it sounds a little.

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But it's just China.

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Yeah, it is at the end of the day.

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You're in that, you're in that 220 range for the, for the Nova and the elevate and that is,

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I guess that's the question.

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And Bobby says, hey, this is the brand we've never heard of.

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Why am I switching?

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I've been using, being using one of the other brands for thousands of years and now all

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of a sudden it's not like, hey, here's a new thing.

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It's only $100.

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You're still in that quality tennis racket price range.

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Right.

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So I, this is kind of a question for YouTube, Bobby.

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So for me, what I've done, I don't try and ever act like a salesperson.

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For me, what I don't want to do on the phone is say, hey, I know you really like Wilson,

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US Open, but I'm going to get them this much cheaper for you because if you're a true

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tennis player, you're not going to care.

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You like Wilson, US Open, you're going to buy them, right?

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But if I can convince you that, hey, this is a very similar product, but here's the

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things that Diedem is going to do for you, rather than, you know, you just buying a tennis

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ball.

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And I can also save you money.

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For me, that's done tenfold and kind of given a little bit more confidence on our product,

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rather so then, hey, we're cheaper, try a sell kind of thing.

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So when you were going through all of that, did you ever feel as if kind of saying, hey,

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I can save you $100 on a real comparative to just saying, hey, you know, ours is as good

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as Wilson or whatever brand you're comparing to.

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Right out.

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What worked for you?

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The challenge is there is your, you know, I was you, you were me.

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When I was handing it to players at my club, price was never an issue because they already

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bought, they had the confidence that I was introducing something that I believed in,

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right, it was a very good product.

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It was like the balls when we brought it, well, what is Diedem?

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Well, they're good, aren't they?

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Yeah.

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So now everybody wants to know how do I get Diedem?

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So, you know, that's, that's, I'm all for that.

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But I felt the challenge was how do I scale it?

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How do I find 100 use that see the value, see the importance of continuing to bring in new

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technology?

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Because even, you know, I laughed, Matt, this is, went away, but we had an impact.

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You know, the outs has changed a little bit and they were in direct correlation to what

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we were doing.

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So you said to go, they might not have wanted to recognize us, but they felt us.

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Yeah.

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And again, you know, so it to me, it's always, how do we keep you guys alive?

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You know, to find the five to ten where you can grow and invite space.

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Hey, you know, I guess it, this is the Babelot playbook.

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And the weighted Babelot succeed where they found any product and, you know, at, at, at, at,

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14 and he's gang of five all played Babelot.

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Each one of them went D1 and a couple of them you heard of.

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And, you know, now all of a sudden Babelot's a household name.

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You know, and, and, because like you said, I'm, I'm, I'm Wilson staff, but hey, Wilson cannibalizes

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the line.

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And that's how they, you know, they do as much keeping business or difficult for somebody

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like you to enter the market as they do.

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You know, and that's why I'm always interested in technology because let's face it.

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Like you said, Wilson might make the clash in four different weight categories.

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But that ten point nine clash is not the same as the nine point four clash.

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Yeah.

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And if you read it too.

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Yeah.

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There's a huge difference there guys.

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And so, you know, and it's, so it's not getting addressed.

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That's why we need companies like yourselves.

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And, you know, and I take it away from the, even the, the Babelot, the Volko playbook, Volko

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came in and really sold the hell out of the V1 and they were smart in doing that.

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You know, when we started with Volko and introduced Volko and Atlanta was the number one selling

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Volko City in the country.

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I remember.

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Like in the late 90s, early 2000s.

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And we had a lot to do with that.

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They had the V1.

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You know, we would stick the V1, everybody could play it.

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There was 10.6, but it was, you know, the dampening technology.

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So everybody at tennis elbow would say, okay, I want to hear about this.

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Yeah.

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And it was a good stick and they sold the heck out of the V1 and they were never going

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to be the technical tennis company to broaden beyond and they did it.

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You know, they got bar respecter involved.

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They got macro involved and they lost their focus.

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And, you know, they never took that next step.

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So it's hard.

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I love the idea of the high school market.

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I think that is an under appreciated market from a standpoint of the future of tennis and

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today's tennis because I think those kids, I mean, we had our, I think, I think, I think,

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if I was, you know, what, Oh, Lou Jensen told you know, 70% of D1 tennis players never

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play tennis again once they get out of college.

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That's terrible.

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Those are not good numbers.

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So, you know, what are we doing to grow the game if your biggest players and let's face it,

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kids are your biggest sellers because they need more than one racket.

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The average adult is not buy into in most cases.

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Kids are buying two and three.

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So you need to have that player stick.

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So, you know, it's a challenge.

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That's why, yeah, we want to support it all we can and get the word out.

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And it's, like you said, the other tough because obviously technology, you're offering

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something different.

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Who sells that?

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TIA?

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Yeah, but we can have that debate offline.

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You know, how effective they are.

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You know, you have to, you got to pay, you got to play the game, you got to kiss the right,

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I get it.

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But it's not, you know, if you look at an ROI, you're wondering, you're really looking for

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10 guys like you, you know, who go out and spread the word and become disciples.

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And then, you know, like you said, with pickleball, lightning strikes, we get the kid that's

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carrying that and we say, wow, it becomes a household.

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So, you know, it's a lot of it is staying alive.

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So, you know, I love the fact that you guys are taking advantage of pickleball in that capacity.

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I don't think that's anything to hide.

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I shout out to everybody in tennis.

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Take advantage of the opportunity.

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I tell you what, I don't mean that jinks us or anything, but I don't know why the tennis

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companies too have it because our biggest compliment in pickleball is the bevels on our

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handles.

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Or whatever reason, apparently, we're the only company that you could really feel it.

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So, a lot of tennis players, which is mostly going to be the main players now, pickleball,

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really like our stuff because it's a tennis brand, heavy feeling paddle, right, not instead

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of racket paddle.

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Again, if, I don't mean to speak for them, but I feel as if Wilson came in and spent a bunch

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of time, you get a lot of these people that, you know, see the red W and they're like,

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right, this is going to be the best thing moving forward.

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Just haven't taken advantage.

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And that's why we've been going so strong into this market is there's really not a top brand

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right now.

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You could say sell Kirk is probably just because of how flooded they are and how much time.

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But we've done well enough without much marketing, without much of that saturation.

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And it's done very well.

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So 2024 is going to be our big push for tennis.

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Again, we're going to release that new no but all that kind of stuff and it'll be exciting.

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And I'll tell you what to which is going to be interesting is people really, especially

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if you've been playing tennis for a while, you might be a little bit out of this, but for

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newer players in college and people in their 20s to 40s, they are dying for something new

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in the world of a brand.

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So everyone knows Wilson, everyone knows that blood, everyone knows that and Prince is still

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kind of out there a little bit.

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Yeah, it's still a household name, but it's everyone's using it, right?

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So if you could be a younger player out there with something that you can meet the owners

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and come in and see all of it, that's what they want, they want that desperately.

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Tennis is on this like new thing.

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I kind of compared it to golf a little bit with the live golf where they want to make it

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a little bit more different and do something to kind of make it a little bit more exciting.

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I went to, I got to go to the NCAA finals at the USDA campus.

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I've never seen a more lively crowd in tennis.

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That's not usually, it's not usually done.

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So for us, what I've seen and what a lot of people really like is, like Yonix has kind of

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done it and Selenco is being the cool brand in tennis.

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And I feel as if whoever is going to take that next mark is going to be that next brand,

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um, again, Yonix has kind of gone on that end where a lot of the younger college kids

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is cooler to use that racket, the blue with the yellow string and, you know, the red logo and everything.

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I feel as if for us at Diedem kind of going on that route of being, you know, we have the

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younger crowd, same thing with Selenco where they're handing out strings to all those colleges.

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I feel as if for us to go that route is going to be a lot better.

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So then, you know, just signing one player on tour and trying to get us our rackets into a

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pro shop. Oh, there's more of those players. They're always will be. I mean, I agree with it.

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I mean, that was our philosophy. I completely agree with the philosophy and you still need money

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and that's that's the end again. That's where pick a ball is your, and I think it's, I think

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that's a great thing. You know, so we just had, and pick a ball is exploding up here. Alta is

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finally adopting a pick a ball league. So what are you doing up here in that capacity?

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I mean, we had the event last weekend. It was the largest pick a ball event ever anywhere,

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12 more than 1200 people participated over five days. That's not even people walked in.

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And the good part is I shouldn't say that Selenco is getting more sophisticated.

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At least a year ago, they weren't that sophisticated yet as far as what they were asking for.

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So they don't know it's coming, but there's still opportunity there.

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So I think I could say this too. So we, locally in Florida, there's no indoor courts.

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We, and especially to right now that that's kind of the sphere where a lot of these

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developers are taking over like models and remaking them into pickable facilities and, you know,

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the chicken and pickle and all that kind of stuff. So us at diet, and we actually just built our,

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an indoor facility that we're opening up on June 17th. So it's going to be the only indoor facility.

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So for us, what we're doing for that is we're going to hope to hold tournaments there.

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Kind of as you're saying with the PPA and the MLP, it's going to be it's in the basketball arena for

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a college that's right here. It longer have a basketball team. So it's going to have like that stadium

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seating, all that kind of stuff. So that's one hope. We're going to try and host a little bit more

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tournaments now, which is something like, you know, like the diet, I'm open or all that kind of

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stuff, which I think would be something great because especially to the one thing right now that's

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so big is amateur tournaments because everyone wants to know where they're at is everyone goes to

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the local park and they play in the like one of four oh, I'm a five oh and they want to go play tournaments

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and stuff. So that's a big thing right now. I'm going pro. Yeah. And I get it too because it's

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exciting and there's not really a ceiling yet is you technically, a lot of these people that, you

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know, it's called jacksock. Yeah, it's coming. The ceiling is coming. Yeah, it's coming. We've had

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like we had our pro who's, he's his name's Christian Alashane. I think he's like top 10 right now in

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the world for singles. He went to tennis throughout college, all that switched over and into the pickle

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ball world. I think we're going to start seeing that a lot more. And then on the other end for pickle ball,

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the thing that's been really nice for us, we haven't really had to do much marketing. It's been very

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interesting. You see a lot of self-curred commercials, you know, good morning America, like a lot of,

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like kind of plugs in with that. Or for us, we've just really put out our product into like pickle ball

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central and the reps hands and people playing. And we've been able to stay in that top three range. So

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for us in the pickle ball world, I don't see much more marketing coming because we don't need it

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technically. I think what's going to end up happening a little bit more is you're going to start

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seeing more pros pop up on TV using the paddles. And hopefully too that our facility is going to start

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holding a lot of these tournaments now. Well, I love the facility idea. If we certainly be interested in

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picking your brains and potentially doing something up here because again, I have a friend very,

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you know, on the pickle ball side and he can't keep the rackets. And again, he's just limited by

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he's a small, you know, small, he's, his reach isn't that big, but it's not comparative shopping yet.

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It's, I want to play it if it's good and it doesn't break because that's, you know, another thing

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people started playing for six months to a year. They break every now and then. Like, you know, Wilson

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did get into it. You know, made a cheaper pickle ball. They're about to go on the next level. We'll see.

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But you know, they broke. I mean, I, you know, we had pickle ball rackets all over. Whereas the

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handle here, it wasn't because somebody Toma locked it. It was just the strain of, you know, the

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handle to the head that it was not there. So I do, I think there's a great opportunity there

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to really get, I love the idea of opening up a facility and keep it central. You have this way,

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you're selling it and we're big fans in Atlanta. The end user drives the product. It's not, you know,

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the pros, I get it. I am one. I'm interested more than most, but you only have somebody

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thinks you can sell. Right. So unfortunately, you go state that's what, you know, Wilson provides you

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everything. They're going to soup the nuts. We will find something. You don't like red. We got

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blue. You know, and it stinks because it really should be about the quality. And you know, and that's,

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and I, but I do think it works because Volkl did have success. They just missteped and you don't get,

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you know, that's a hard part. You don't get a lot. If you're smaller, do you have the finances to make

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an error? And, you know, they went too big too soon and it didn't materialize. So I, like I said,

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I think you guys are smart in that capacity. You're associated with the game. You're in a good

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state. I mean, the high school tennis association, are you involved with them down there in Florida?

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Yeah, we are. So that's the USDA events I've done. So I've had the opportunity to go to Texas,

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Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio for those, like, national coaches conferences and everything.

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That was been very successful. I, for me, that that has been my best way into this. So when, because

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a lot of these, these coaches I'd love to because they're, they're always open to, to trying new

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stuff. Like you get a lot of, and I understand this, you get a lot of, you know, players and, you know,

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U16s and futures and stuff that they're using this one racket they've used since 10 years,

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and you're told they've been winning with for years. They're not going to switch, which is fine.

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I mean, I probably wouldn't either if I was in their shoes. But if you're a pro or if you're a,

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you know, high school coach or you always love trying new stuff and getting them in, in players' hand.

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So feedback's been great with that. And what's been awesome too is once we're there in person

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and they actually get the hold. And I'm sure you know this actually get the hold the racket or the ball

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or the string. It's, it's a done deal because then they actually know, hey, this is different. I

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want to try and it's like, oh, this actually really feels almost like my Wilson blade. You know,

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I want to, I want to see what this is about kind of thing. So for me too, I find those to be the most

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successful when you can be in front of them. But I mean, again, as you know, I can't be in every sphere

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in the country. So. Yeah, scaling is, is the, is the top issue because again, and it's,

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it stinks because you're right. If I was a pro shot per for pro shot, yes, you have to have Wilson.

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Yes, you probably have to have that. But I also want that, did him. I want that racket that nobody's

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heard of that is a little bit different. Hey, you try this. And like you said, you'd be shot. We

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saw it. We saw it with vocal. There were enough people that, oh, I want to be different. What Vokie?

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You know, like you said, now it's the names. It was Vokie. What? No, it's not Vokie. It's Vokol. But

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you know, I want the Vokie racket. So yes, there were enough people out there that wanted to try it.

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And in Atlanta didn't very well by it. So, you know, like I said, I, you guys are fighting a good fight.

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We want you to be successful. So, you know, whatever we can do to help out. And we will say,

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another cheap branding opportunity, but it sounds right up your alley, who you're going to is

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virtual tennis. It's coming. There's three companies out there already that are all, you know,

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trying to make it where you, when you go in, it's a completely experience. You know, so you do see

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sponsorship banners. So I think that's enough, you know, for your age group when they, when it launches

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and he gets a little further down the line, that's going to be a good age group. Now I want to ask

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you this as much for ours as well. Have you done anything with TikTok?

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Um, so yes and no. So we had a previous social media manager that I'd say wasn't at a professional

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level. And the same and stuff like the TikTok. Whatever. So we have a new person.

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TikTok's hard. I, I'm younger. Obviously, I'm 25 and, you know, like that my age group is very

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into that. I don't have a TikTok personally. It's just not my thing, but um, my girlfriend does,

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she'll show me stuff all the time. It's, it's, it's very satire kind of material to, to, that

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kicks off. And I feel like that's a very hard like language to understand. And um, I think,

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I don't know. I TikTok is something that if it takes off, it's good, but putting all the attention

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into it. Oh, no, no, no. Yeah. Uh, bait the water. Little chum. That's all. Yeah. I have a 17 year old,

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17 year old. I think it's great. Like I, if you could do it, it's good. I just, we haven't had anyone

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here that's had like an idea for a TikTok video that makes sense yet. And I think that's really hard

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to do is like if you're just posting like informational stuff and like here's our new racket and you're

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spinning it like people do on Instagram, there's no point, you know, but there's people that make

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Joe like again, like the satire thing and they're getting millions of likes on it. I don't know. I

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think there's these car dealerships that there's social media managers will just, they're, like,

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they're called means and they'll just put that as their marketing and they'll get millions of likes

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on it just because it's silly. Well, find yourself a 12 year old girl who likes that teal racket.

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Because again, just having a 17 year old daughter, there's three products that I point to that I just

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laughed that I've driven all over Atlanta to find which is the Stanley the cup. Yep. Yeah. That

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the big Stanley water holder, which all the other ones that came previously weren't good enough,

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this one had a handle. So now we got to have a Stanley. The other one is Logan Paul's prime. Yeah.

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You know, this is, I've driven all over Atlanta to get an I'm addicted to it. So now it's,

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it's transferred that I have to drive because I have the flavor that's the hardest to find is my favorite.

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So literally, there's like a network of us that goes and it's here. Boom. We all go to get the

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bomb pop because, you know, I grew up on bomb pops. So it's awesome. And then the, the new one is the

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the Starbucks to paint drink that, you know, that somebody went in said, could you do this for me?

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They started doing his Starbucks. Now they're selling it. I went to Target and said, pick it up at

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Target. I could get it tomorrow. I couldn't find it anywhere in the store, but I've driven all over.

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So I'm just like, if you can find it, like you said, and that's the, we're at the say boat trying to,

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and that's why I love the shirts because this is going to, that's the market. And I laugh because

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I'm with you. We're a different generation. I'm a much different generation. But I like different.

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These kids are follow the, it's the, the lambs, the slaughter, man. It's, you know, the,

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the lambs, Dave Matthews, we're all looking the same. We all, the comfort zone, I don't, you know,

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a couple of years ago, she doesn't play tennis. She's a singer. They're all into tennis skirts.

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This was the, really, fashion wear for teenage girls. I'm like, I can get you all the tennis skirts you

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want. What are you talking about? Tennis skirts. You never had any inches in tennis whatsoever.

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They follow the trend. So that, that's all I got that age group. If you got a 17 or 12 year old girl,

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who's good, who can spin a racket and say, hey, I just won this tournament. Trust me. This, I'm just,

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you do it first. You have a real product. We're going to sell shirts that way. But I, you know,

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you have something I'd be curious about how, you know, it's exceed just by just doing it, you know,

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and seeing where it goes. I'll give you a little backslip. So Instagram something I, I, I don't understand

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social media that much. Like I want to. It's, I think it's, especially with the way the world's

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growing, how you just have the virtual tennis and stuff. I think that's probably the most money

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maker right now. Yeah. You know, kind of moving forward. Maybe not in the tennis world just yet, but

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it will be. I've gone after Instagram influencers because they're very brand loyal. So as long as

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you give them a free t-shirt, free hat, it was a very long way. I was going to wear it. There's just one

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person in particular that I was able to pick up on social media and they brought me in D1 level

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players and these like, like, there's this one 10 year old who's, he's like a four four UTR I think

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right now, which is awesome for, for his age and everything. So if you like finding, like, finding

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those people that, because he he's got probably like 5,000 followers, but again, it's in the tennis world,

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social media, you know, like there's, there's not like huge accounts so much as like, you know, like,

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I think there's one trick shot person for tennis that's like a social media account and then they're,

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you know, like that kind of thing where for soccer, there's millions kind of things. So he's known

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in that world of social media. So as soon as he picks up the diet and thing, everyone else gets

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this 5,000 people get to see it like that. For me, that would take weeks to do so. I think in, I think

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influencers are an interesting venture to go into because they have this like backing that almost

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makes it worth it, which I find very interesting because it's, you know, back back before social media

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would just be like a bunch of fans, but now this is all just people that they, you know, they have

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right there and stunned very well because all he has to do is just say, yeah, I like this and

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they're all going to trust them the same thing with the pro. And it's right. I mean, we find it out

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with pot, you know, podcasting, that's the other thing that is not that we have the base that we

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ever want to be yet, but they're exceptionally loyal and, you know, the turnover and the transfer

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rate to a purchase is incredible. So you're going to see that in everybody's budget trying to find

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those, those people and those avenues that have demonstrated such product loyalty. So, you know,

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again, it's you guys are making the right steps. You're in that generation, which is good too, where,

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you know, it's a little bit social media is the one guess for, you know, me. I'm too old for that,

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you know, so we always buy the 17 year old daughter is my marketing manager saying, oh, okay,

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what are they doing on sick? What are you doing on Instagram? So that's all you need. Yeah,

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it's, it is funny. I wish you played tennis. You would be more helpful, but yeah, eventually I

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again, too. That's what we're trying to get to is is making tennis cool again. I'd really say that

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that's really what did he just say? Yeah, did you get one more time for me, Ryan? Wait a minute.

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Did he say, did he steal online? Did I really? I didn't even read that promise you.

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Oh my god, that's so, oh my god, I love this kid.

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Make a tennis cool again. That I have a coworker here that he does the juniors, his name's Kevin.

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He's the one that really runs our Instagram. If you ever see our Instagram page, he's the one

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that's on front of it. That's what like we, I really, you know, I, I'll talk about it. But I really

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like Selenco, like I really like what they did and they went on that. They they they wanted to,

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they wanted to be the cool brand, get with the cool college coaches that were in the bucket hats

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and stuff and get in with them because that that's what is get like so starving right now for

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this sport is the next generation to pick it up and it that's what like the live golf, I think is

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interesting because it's, it's loud as cheering. There's music playing while they're hitting the ball,

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which is never known or not never know, but never done before. But everyone's watching it. Everyone

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wants to do it. Everyone thinks it's really cool because it's a new thing. I, and I think that's why

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pickle balls picking up so quickly. Like tennis needs that to you right now. Tennis needs the, the

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Kirgos and those kinds of people that are having a style with tennis making it different. So these

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younger kids can, you know, get excited to play it. I get one. It's ridiculous. It's a sport where

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you play and you can't get cheered for. What others, what, what is going to draw a kid to a sport

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where he doesn't get any applause? It makes no sense whatsoever. And it's, I laugh at my club. I started

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it at a new club, you know, eight years ago and I would always play music. And in the beginning,

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everyone, well, you know, I can't concentrate. I'm like, dude, if you're going to play at the US Open,

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you got planes all would go on over your head. Like, let's go make the difference. Music is a lot

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easier than planes. Now literally we have a 12-court facility. There's 12 different little stereos

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playing their music. And, and I've become such, you know, I know my generation is late 70s, early 80s.

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The kids 10, you know, the people 10 years younger than me, they're all into the 90s. You know,

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you go back to the music that you were in high school in college with because that's when you,

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you know, the most free time, the most passionate about it. So that's what you always fall back to.

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So, you know, all these case studies I get to do from being a tennis coach, but it's just funny.

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You can change it. And University of Georgia speaks to them because they're huge as far as

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the craziness. And you wouldn't think so because it's been such a dominant program for so long,

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you think and you know, Dan's no longer there. So it probably changed with them when we go finally

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retired. But, you know, that's a wild experience. TCU, my alma mater is, you know, they, they, they,

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baseball and tennis fun to go to. So, you know, it's, it's, that would make you want to go to that

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school to play the sport too. You know, like, 10, in the, in the tennis world, Georgia is known as

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the best, you know, live, you know, every now or every want to call it. So that, that's going to make

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people want to go and play there and do that. And I think that the, the music thing and

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because what ends up happening, like you said, 70% of those people that play college tennis, they,

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they're done. They hate it. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's very, it's, it is the hardest for

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me. You can argue about golf and baseball and all that. But mentally, if you hit a shot in the net,

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your fault, you can't play anyone else. And that's every single day, every practice, every, so,

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you got to make it fun. You got to make it something that is not, you know, I, I missed a shot. I

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never want to play the sport again. I hate myself kind of thing. You want to make it a good time,

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music, playing in the background. And I think too that, that's why pickleball is picking up, right?

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Because I can go to my local park, go play with a bunch of my friends and random people there.

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Tennis, I have to reserve a court, gets all excited.

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Pick up the basketball.

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Pick up the basketball. Right. I love it. I mean, if we've taken a lot of your time, I know

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Sean's got to get us to the, the king of tennis question. But thank you for your time. We will

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certainly be in touch. You know, love to have you involved with some of the things we're doing just

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to get it out there and you know, let's, let's put in people's hands, let them decide.

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I love it. Thank you, man. Very good. Thank you for having me.

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Yeah, so we've got our question and you paid attention to the email. You should know it's coming.

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So they shouldn't be. I know you as a surprise, but our, my favorite question for sure is if you

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were king of tennis, whether it's a day, a year, forever, it doesn't matter anywhere, local, globally,

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you were king of tennis. Is there anything you would do or change?

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Yeah, so the one thing that I would change mainly with the sport of tennis is the fact that it's

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this gentleman's sport and it's a premium proper. That's the one thing I would change. I know that's

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a very kind of controversial thing to do because a lot of people's too and tennis is the way it's

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always been since the 1900s and stuff. But for me, the one thing I would change is really making it

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kind of that gentleman's sport and making it a little bit more inclusive for everyone to play.

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If you want to wear a basketball jersey, one playing, wear a basketball jersey, you'll need to wear

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a white, I think for me, that would be the one thing I'd change. You agree with the idea that was

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a Tiafos said, he said, we should have more, more wrestling, more things going on during a tennis match.

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At that level? Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yelling during a serve all that like it happens at basketball when

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they're doing a free throw like, why can't they do an attempt? Exactly. Well, how about with Luke said,

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I love Luke said, like, I have a NASCAR pit stop. Everybody jump over. Yeah, here's a guy giving

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you nutrition, here you got a given you a massage. Once you said, you do a pit stop. Again, it's just

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simple marketing. More people involved, brings more people because now you've got five people

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are jumping over to give them, well, he's got five friends. They want to see him jump over.

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You know, it's just, and you're right, tennis has never figured that out. They've held, it's a great

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game. And I completely agree with you from a skills standpoint. And I don't think it sold

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well enough by the industry, probably the toughest sport you're going to play. I always, I was a baseball

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player. I will always say hitting hitting a baseball, being thrown at you at 90 some more miles an

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hour is probably the single most difficult thing to do. From a combination standpoint, there is nothing

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more challenging than tennis at its highest level. And tennis does a miserable job of letting people

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know that these are world costs. I think that's world close. They play for five hours, five to

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six hours. And it's just them like no basketball. Yes, very, very physically demanding sport, but

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no one's doing that. I'm in soccer. Completely agree with you. And like I said, those are the things

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that tennis is just not never figured out for why I don't know why what reason. And I know it might

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not be because we don't have a great American. I don't know. We we embraced federal. We willing

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embrace greatness. It's a great, it's a difficult sport. That's, you know, and that's the whole thing. Look,

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my daughter's a musical theater. I don't know where she got her voice from. I can't carry a tune across

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the street. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate good theater. I can go watch if I wasn't a player. It

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doesn't mean I can't appreciate what they're doing on a tennis court. Right. Yeah. It's just a problem.

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And Atlanta's living proof. We always say, Oh, how does it? A tournament fail in Atlanta? What

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is their players? They're not going to watch. They don't know how to watch. They haven't had to watch

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tennis as a junior. You watch tennis. You had to. You were waiting here. They show up for their match.

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They play the match and they go or they start drinking and have a donut. So, you know, they're not

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watching the game. And you know, the good for the coaches. That's why nobody ever really gets a lot

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better because you miss out on a valuable teaching tool because you got to watch the game. So,

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I guess if we took up a lot of time, right? Thank you so much. We know where to find you. How do you

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travel? Do you get me? Do you? Do you? Do you guys got guys up here? We so what we have reps and

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stuff for as we get bigger, I'm starting to travel a lot more. Just kind of as the company grows. So

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what I've done before and you know, what I'll usually do is is certain people I'll go up and travel

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for and meet them in person, all that kind of stuff. But as of right now, I'd have to ask because

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I'm on again, like high school, college and but there's this guy named Fabio that's very involved

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in Georgia because he's actually from Atlanta. He's got a bunch of, you know, reps and pro shops and

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all that kind of stuff there that be able to purchase. But ditam sports.com will be like the best

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to see everything. You know, everything will be there included. And then if anyone ever needs

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anything, ditam sports underscore Ryan is my Instagram. Anyone could reach out anytime happy to help

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and then you guys got my personal info too. So feel free to share that.

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Well, there you have it. We want to thank rejuvenate.com for use to the studio and be sure to hit that

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follow button. For more tennis related content, you can go to Atlanta tennispodcast.com. And while

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you're there, check out our calendar of tennis events deals on equipment, apparel and more.

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And you should feel good knowing that shopping at Let's Go Tennis.com helps support this show.

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You can also donate directly using links in the show notes. And with that, we're out. See you next time.

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[Music]

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