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|Traded as||Formerly NASDAQ: KSWS|
|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 immigrating to the United States, where they introduced the first leather tennis shoes.
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. The company has grown internationally and passed $100 million in revenue in Europe in 2006. 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 most recently their Band Em footwear styles.
Steven Nichols owns a little over 22% of the K-Swiss company (2006). His son David Nichols is the company's Executive Vice President since 1995 and President of Europe Operations.