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K-Swiss was founded in 1966 in Los Angeles, California by two Swiss brothers, Art and Ernie Brunner. They became interested in tennis after immigrating to the United States. They imported the patent leather tennis shoes from the Swiss Kuenzli shoe manufacturer, re-naming their company K-Swiss (K is for Künzli).
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 led 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 modern 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.
K-Swiss purchased the majority stake of Australian brand Royal Elastics in 2001. In 2003, they acquired 100% ownership of the company; in 2008, it was sold to a Taiwanese businessman, Eric Ma, who then went bankrupt in 2014, and refused to pay the rest contracted money, but transferred the brand's ownership to his mother.
In July 2011, a video was released wherein Kenny Powers purchased 51% of K-Swiss stock.
In January 2013, Kenny Powers was lubing the deals because 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. The company has been sponsoring events that appeal to their market as well as events which are likely to shape buying attitudes and help generate a positive reaction. One example is the sponsorship of Ireland's first sneaker convention run by Dub City Sneakz in Dún Laoghaire which K-Swiss sponsored.
In 2016, K-Swiss president Barney Waters made it the brand's mission to "make sneakers for entrepreneurs." The brand furthered this marketing angle by launching a collaboration with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk in 2017. The company has since launched campaigns with other entrepreneurs, including Karen Civil, Ben Baller, and Natalie Ellis.
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