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|Headquarters||Westlake Village, California, United States|
K-Swiss was founded in 1966 in Los Angeles, California, by the two Swiss brothers Art and Ernie Brunner who became interested in tennis after emigrating to the United States. They started an import company "Brunner enterprises" to import Künzli tennis shoes, a sport shoe manufactury from their homeland Switzerland. Those tennis shoes were made of leather, back then unusual in the US, and had the 5-stripe lacing invented by Künzli and patented in the US in 1964. In 1972 the import company was renamed to K-Swiss and furtheron started to produce sport shoes on their own.
In 1986, Steven Nichols, while working at Stride Rite, was so impressed with the K-Swiss tennis shoe that he tried to convince his bosses to purchase the K-Swiss company. When his superiors passed on the opportunity he headed a group of investors that bought the company for $20 million. Mr. Nichols called the K-Swiss white stripes on white leather tennis shoe a "classic 50-year shoe", and in 2005, global sales passed $500 million. In 2006, the company exceeded $100 million in revenue in Europe. It acquired the Royal Elastics shoe firm in 2001, but sold it off to a management-led investment group in 2009.
In the 1990s, Steven Nichols boosted K-Swiss's marketing budget and hired a number of key individuals from large companies, such as Procter and Gamble, and began a marketing blitz around the K-Swiss brand. Award winning Creative Director, Mindy Gale lead her NY based agency team in developing and producing K-Swiss advertising and publicity campaigns from 1997 through 2008. The "I Wear My K-Swiss" multi-media campaign ran for five consecutive years, targeting young urban consumers in print and on TV. A re-branding campaign appealing to a wider contemporary female target, featuring Anna Kournikova rolled out in 2007. Advertising campaigns encouraged users to personalize the trademark stripes under the slogan "Put Your Spin on It." The brand includes their color changing K-Swiss Tongue Twister in 2003, the Stripe Shifter, and more recently their Band Em footwear styles.
In January 2013, the company — which posted $195 million in losses between 2009 and 2012 — was sold to Korean firm E-Land World Limited for $170 million. The following May, E-Land named a new executive team to oversee the newly formed K-Swiss Inc., including Truman Kim as chairman and Larry Remington as president and CEO.
In September 2014, the company updated its brand identity. Keeping the K-Swiss name it unveiled a new marque. The new identity was created by a recently appointed internal creative team and plays up the company’s heritage as an American tennis brand. All aspects of the new brand’s design, including its 1966 typeface and tennis court colour palette, hark back to this identity.
- "Contact Us." K-Swiss. Retrieved on January 12, 2010.
- Lenetz, Dana (November 19, 2001). "K-Swiss nab Royal Elastic". Footwear News. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "K-Swiss sells Royal Elastics division". Los Angeles Business. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "K-Swiss’ new brand retains American heritage". Transform magazine. 7 October 2014.