Recently one of our Buyers, Greg, got the chance to be flown out to look at the popular high end ski clothing brand Kjus. Here is his recap of the trip:
Every year I head off to Europe to look for new and interesting things to buy for our Skis.com customers. This year I had the pleasure of traveling to a small town near Zurich, Switzerland to visit the corporate office of the exclusive Kjus apparel company. If you’re familiar with the brand then you already know how exciting it is to meet the people that create such amazing outerwear for the ski industry. After being greeted at the train station by Timo, the international director of sales, we had a nice drive to their brand new office building.
The first impression of their new office space is that every detail has been covered. Walking into the building under the giant Kjus logo, it feels as if you are entering a place of luxury. On the bottom floor is the brand new flagship store where a local customer can come find the latest in Kjus gear (including their new golf line). My tour consisted of walking through the various floors and meeting the very friendly people who make the company run.
When we got to the top floor, the President and CEO of Kjus, Didi Serena, stopped by to say hello. Standing in the Kjus show room, which has an amazing view of the Alps, I was able to get some background on how the brand came to be. Mr. Serena had been the Managing Director and investor of Aldo Europe. After selling his stake in the company which he helped build, Mr. Serena pursued his idea to create the highest possible quality ski apparel. In the year 2000, Kjus was born through the partnership of a high end skier and a man with business experience and a passion for quality.
When the brand was first introduced in Europe, Kjus brought the ski industry a new level of outerwear. In fact, Mr. Serena told me, at that time they had an offering which was far above anything else around. “The retailers were very surprised to see a price point that was so much higher than everyone else”. He said that at first there was some push back, but they persevered with the vision of having the absolute best product using the best materials. It was rough at first, but they stuck it out and kept building and creating top quality clothing and never lost their focus.
Kjus is not a mass market brand that everyone knows. But those that do know it and wear it, love it.
I’d really like to say thank you to the staff at Kjus. The people at this company are like a warm welcoming family who all share the same passion for the product they are creating and selling. In fact, every single person I met was wearing Kjus clothing and a couple employees told me how excited they get when new product is released. Some employees are Kjus’ best customers! And even though they are working to create a very specialized and exclusive brand, there is no air of arrogance in this building, only passion and one hell of a view of the Swiss Alps which are calling to be skied.