wendee lunch pickleball bags

Tatnall grad creates line of stylish, useful pickleball bags

Betsy PriceBusiness, Headlines, RSS-Business

wendee lunch pickleball bags

Delaware Native and Tatnall grad Wendee Lunt has launched a line of pickleball bags. Photo by Gina B Photography and the Scout Guide of Bergen County

Delaware native Wendee Lunt had worked for and with a Who’s Who of luxury consumer goods companies before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

But when Swarovski closed her division, the Tatnall School graduate decided she didn’t want to work for another multibillion dollar company. She wanted to take all the experience and relationships she had and build something for herself.

But what? To help her think through that, she hired a life coach.

“You really light up when you talk about pickleball,” the coach told her in one session. “You should consider this.”

Lunt did.

The result: A line of sports bags designed to help pickleball players organize their gear and personal belongings to get on the court faster and play in style.

Both the DuPont County Club and the Wilmington Country Club stock her Lighthouse Sports bags.

Lunt put to use the knowledge she’d picked up as a global vice president for Swarovski, vp of licensing for Tumi luggage, chief marketing officer for Biaggi luggage, vp of licensing for Judith Leiber, director of worldwide marketing for Movado Group Watches, director of business development for Coach and director of international merchandising for Tiffany & Co.

“I’ve never really done the same thing twice,” she said.

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It’s not a future she could have predicted to herself, but she’s always been sporty.

Lunt is the daughter of Will and Nancy Hunsinger. He was the first in his family to earn a college degree, and ultimately a doctorate, and was a principal at A.I. du Pont High School. He’s now deceased and her mom now lives in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

Wendee, a self-described math nerd, skipped second grade. She played three sports in high school: tennis, field hockey and lacrosse. She earned a bachelor of arts from Dartmouth College and now lives with her family in northern New Jersey.

She couldn’t have picked a better growth market. In the last year, 36.9 million people are said to be playing the game, with another 5 million joining sport each year. That’s a lot of bags. Up and down Delaware, communities can’t build courts — which are smaller than tennis courts — fast enough.

Lunt’s offerings benefit from her years in helping design and market luggage and consumer bags, as well as her experience playing tennis since she was 12, paddle tennis for 20 years and pickleball for six years.

One example: Her backpack is engineered so the racquet sits at an angle, with the handle extending over a shoulder.

“No one wants the handle hitting you in the neck,” she said.

Part of Lunt’s inspiration for the bags was observing players who mostly seemed to buy triangular-shaped bags with one handle.

She didn’t like them because they couldn’t hold much. Even balls were difficult to carry in them.

“They had no functionality, no pockets,” Lund said. They had been around for years.

There has to be something better, she thought.

wendee lunch pickleball bags

Wendee Lunt’s pickleball backpacks and totes come in black, lilac and magenta.

Pickleball details

Her Lighthouse Sports bags — one is a backpack and the other is a tote — feature easy access hidden zippered pockets for phones; a leash that makes keys easy to find; mesh side pockets that hold balls; insulated pockets for water bottles or phones; a soft fleece-lined pockets for glasses or jewelry; and a fence hook for hanging at a field but that also stores away when not needed.

They sell for $125.

One of her friends told her that it was like a diaper bag for adults.

Some of those amenities, she said, were inspired by Tumi luggage, which is known for putting pockets and other items into their luggage that help users organize quickly and stay that way.

Lunt likes to point out the jewel-like metal zipper pulls made to look like a pickleball, another inspiration as a result of several jobs.

She worked with a friend who was a designer, starting with a black bag before deciding to add color options. They settled on a lilac with grayish tones and a deep pink similar to the magenta that luckily turned out to be Panton’s color of 2023.

“I wanted functionality,” she said. “It’s a sports bag, but I wanted you to be able to run from the court to lunch or to do your errands and not feel like you were dragging around your paddle.”

She envisions her clients as a Lululemon kind of woman who cares about how she looks, cares about her accessories and cares about growing old and fit and being able to do things with her family.

The line, fully funded by Lunt herself, is only nine months old now. She’s focused on helping the brand grow and will expand into tennis bags in the next year.

She was chosen as one of nine finalists who later this year will make a pitch to the Title Nine women’s athletic wear catalog to be included in the catalog.

The bags are available in stores and country clubs across the country, but can also be bought at her website.

“I’m a big believer in women-owned businesses and supporting women,” she said. “I don’t do any men’s products.”

 

 

 

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