Since being purchased by E-Land Group in 2013, K-Swiss has been tweaking its brand messaging.
According to Ashley Girard, senior director of global marketing and e-commerce at K-Swiss, the heritage tennis brand is focusing on targeting Millennials by speaking to their entrepreneurial desires.
That’s why the firm has brought its program “The Board,” which launched in 2014, to Skillshare, a digital learning platform, as a series of free online classes called the Creative Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.
According to Girard, The Board includes 100 entrepreneurs who were selected from 10,000 applicants around the world. During the program, K-Swiss gives them access to one-on-one sessions with creative business owners. Each member had an opportunity to design a sneaker for the brand and six entries were selected to go into production for resort 2017. The designer will receive royalties on each unit sold.
“We are speaking to the same consumer as Nike, Under Armour and Puma, but we are speaking to him or her in a different way,” said Girard. “Nike and Under Armour are about performance. Puma is focused on the artist or the entertainer. We see there’s an opportunity for young individuals who are aspiring to be their own boss. It’s the same consumer, but the way we are speaking to them is in supporting their dreams and endeavors.”
The partnership with Skillshare allows everyone to access the sessions, which each covering an aspect of the business. Designer Jeff Staple covers sneaker design; 10.Deep founder Scott Sasso overviews brand positioning; Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie from Runa, a beverage company, outline how to create a charity-based initiative, and Instagram star Josh Ostrovsky, best known as The Fat Jew, offers lessons in social media. The other sessions feature Allure’s fashion director Rachael Wang covering how to make a look book and WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid talking about business plan development. Each of the classes is hosted by style blogger Natalie Suarez of Natalie Off Duty.
“It was important that the sessions spoke to our community,” Girard told WWD. “They aren’t overtly branded and they are beneficial to the masses. We are a champion of the entrepreneurial spirit and we happen to be a brand, as well.”