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Table tennis.  How Quentin Robinot and Ping Pang Paris want to “make ping stylish”

With 40 million members, table tennis shines in the eyes of the world as one of the most popular sports. If, for some, it represents a recreational and unifying activity, for others, as in China where babies are born with a racket in hand, it becomes a religion. A duality that can harm, on a daily basis, the reputation of what is commonly shortened to “ping-pong” and its ambassadors.

Like Fan Zhendong, world No. 1 and world champion in Houston (United States), last November, ultra-China dominates very high level table tennis. (File photo Leslie Plaza Johnson/EPA)

“There is a big gap between the sport open to all, with spinning, beer-pong (drinking game which consists of throwing the ball into beer glasses, editor’s note), the match at the campsite on vacation, and the table tennis, the real one”, theorizes, from the outset, Quentin Robinot (29 years old). With his band of friends, the former player of the Garde du Vœu Hennebont (Pro A) has precisely engulfed himself in this niche, with Ping Pang Paris. The idea, simple: “make the ping stylish!” “. A kind of historical replacement, since table tennis has long been perceived as a distraction for the wealthy classes, created by British bourgeois society at the end of the 19th century, which played with a champagne cork as a ball?.

Green ambition and hot youtubers

Without, however, wanting to restore this order, the friends of Ping Pang Paris – four French professional players (Benjamin Brossier and Quentin Pradelle, the founders, the Caennais Antoine Hachard and Robinot, partners) and Caroline Huang, artistic director – organize, events and market fashion clothes with, implicitly, this reflection: how to bring the two worlds closer together?

“Competition jerseys are very colorful, it’s hard to wear them in everyday life, so we’re more about lifestyle products, cool t-shirts and sweaters that you can wear to work or for a drink, pose Robinot. There is a large community of table tennis players, passionate people who can identify with themselves. The goal is to create a community outside the table. We don’t position ourselves like the major equipment manufacturers like Tibhar (German). But if we have the budget to come to this field, why not one day”.

At present, “we have sold 90% of the first collection, figures Quentin Robinot, in charge of logistics, after-sales and social networks. The second is more colorful and consistent. We are in the nails. We do this with values ​​that we love: we have partnered with Ping Sans Frontières, which wants to promote access to sport, and Seven Clean Seas, which collects waste on beaches in Asia, and our clothes are eco-responsible. . We visited factories in Italy, France and Portugal. We didn’t embark on the easiest project, but it was the one that was closest to our hearts. It is above all a sacred human adventure”. ?

Table tennis.  How Quentin Robinot and Ping Pang Paris want to “make ping stylish”
From left to right, Quentin Robinot, Quentin Pradelle, Caroline Huang, Antoine Hachard and Benjamin Brossier make up “the club” Ping Pang Paris. (Photo Ping Pang Paris)

With its share of unforeseen events, as evidenced by this day last June, when “the club”, according to their term, organized a tournament with the actors Maxime Musqua, Thomas VDB, Jérôme Niel and Kemar in the Parisian art gallery Ellia , and that the very morning of the event, the room was flooded. “We took it with the kiff, laughing today the former Hennebontais. We took the brooms, the towels, we cleared everything in two hours. The Youtubers arrived, they were hot, didn’t see anything and the tournament went very well! There will be a second edition.

Supported from afar by the French Table Tennis Federation, Ping Pang Paris traveled to Hennebont six months ago. “Omar (Assar) is very attached to the brand, he always sends us photos of his son and his wife with our products, says the one who has kept ties in Brittany. Our ultimate goal is to do what Vans did with skateboarding: when you think of skateboarding, you think of Vans. Everyone likes to play ping, there is a potential sickness! And if it can have an impact on the number of licensees, so much the better.

The racket, this great logo

The club of friends can, in any case, count on a strong iconographic symbol, to build a community: the very playful racket, which can be found on most of its life-style products. “The racket is really the extension of the identity of the table tennis player, it is his most precious asset. Me, I’m not at all careful in everyday life, but I take extremely good care of it. It’s MY racket (he insists), my tool,” Robinot finished.

A tool from which they hope for fruitful spin-offs in France, but also in the world. Because the ambition is clear from the wording of the brand “Ping Pang” and not “ping-pong”, “because in Chinese, we say ping-pang”.

Table tennis.  How Quentin Robinot and Ping Pang Paris want to “make ping stylish”
“The racquet is the player’s extension”, says Quentin Robinot, and when the player suffers, so does the racquet… (Archival photo Bruno Perrel)

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