name = K-Swiss
type = Public (nyse|NKE)
Westlake Village, CA
homepage = http://www.kswiss.com/
K-Swiss , Inc. NASDAQ|KSWS is an American
footwearcompany based in Westlake Village, CA. They design, develop, and market a range of athletic shoes under the K-Swiss brandand its wholly owned subsidiary Royal Elastics, Inc.
K-Swiss was founded in
1966in Los Angeles, California, by two Swiss brothers who became interested in tennisafter immigrating to the United States, where they introduced the first leathertennis shoes.
In 1985 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 the 1990s, Steven Nichols boosted K-Swiss's marketing budget and hired a number of key individuals from large companies such as
Procter and Gambleand began a large marketing blitz around the K-Swiss brand. Due to advertising campaigns (primarily one where K-Swiss encourages users to personalize the trademark stripes under the slogan "Put Your Spin on It"), K-Swiss's popularity has risen immensely in recent years. K-Swiss shoes are popular not only for their style, but also for their comfort. The brand has been one of the leaders in interactive footwear with the introduction of their successful color changing K-Swiss Tongue Twister in 2003, Stripe Shifter and most recently their Band Em footwear styles.
The company continues to grow internationally and passed 100 million in revenue in Europe in 2006.
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.
Royal Elastics was founded in 1996; K-Swiss acquired it in 2001. Their sneakers have no laces, instead relying on an elasticized, stretch-fit systems to fasten them to the foot.
Through Royal Elastics the company also produces a line of footwear for
L.A.M.B., the clothing line founded by singer Gwen Stefani, with Stefani serving as Creative Director and a forthcoming collection in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Sébastien Foucan, star of 2006's Casino Royale, helped K-Swiss developed the Ariake, the first free running/ parkourshoe in a line of 5 models. [http://www.kswiss.com/cgi-bin/kswiss/store/catalog_section?selection=m_shoesP1§ion=shoe.trai.24.m Full details]
Along with Sebastien, many other world-class athletes are currently partnering with K-Swiss, including Anna Kournikova, Alona Bondarenko, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, Michaella Krajicek, Chris Lieto, Katja Mayer, Leanda Cave, Liezel Huber and Cara Black.
K-Swiss and Royal Elastics is also in progress of producing a line of footwear for
DCMA Collective, the clothing line founded by Good Charlotteband members, Joel and Benji Madden. The shoes will be released in mid 2008 and will be called "K-DCMA".
* [http://www.kswiss.com/ K-Swiss official website]
* [http://www.royalelastics.com/ Royal Elastics official website]
* [http://www.lambshoes.com/ L.A.M.B. Footwear official website]
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