Kjus: sporting with innovation.

AuteurScheuringer, Carina
Fonction Business: entrepreneur in focus

Premium sportswear brand Kjus is ahead of its time and ahead of itself. Clothing, at the new Hunenberg headquarters, is not simply a matter of looks. It is about performance, comfort and style without compromise. Kjus is a labour of love, born in the mind of an exceptional entrepreneur upon the wintry slopes of the Swiss Alps.

Two of a kind

Sport and fashion have been threaded throughout much of the life of Didi Serena, the company's founding father and President. "Growing up on skis" in the Engadine, he lived and breathed sports from the word go. He turned his passion into a career in 1979 when he founded his first company and brought Norwegian brand Odlo to Switzerland. After twenty years with Odlo, an encounter with professional skier Lasse Kjus in Norway marked the beginning of a new era.

"Lasse was at the top of his game when I met him. At the World Championships in Vail in 1999, he medalled in all disciplines, a feat unmatched in the history of Alpine skiing," Didi remembers. "I simply said: 'What if we developed a skiwear collection that was entirely without compromise?'" For a man who spent nearly 200 days a year on skis, this was an enticing proposition. The Norwegian sure knew a thing or two about clothing that did not work. Together, the duo set up 'Kjus' in 2000 to revolutionise the market.

"Kjus stands for authenticity and credibility. Lasse is a highly respected and successful skier, who is very much liked internationally and is renowned to always aspire to being the best," says Didi by way of explaining the company name. "It just seemed perfect." With the foundations established, the partners directed their attention to their first collection and, true to their commitment "to create the best skiwear possible," began scouting the market for the best materials available.

They discovered that NASA was using lining materials in their spacesuits for astronauts that could balance out changing ambient temperatures. Agreeing that this was the perfect way to increase the comfort levels for active skiers, they incorporated the material into their skiwear. "This had implications on the price of course," recalls Didi. "Normal lining cost about USD 2.50--this type cost USD 50. Producers were sceptical initially and we had to make considerable investments to get the first prototypes developed." A seasoned businessman, Didi was not deterred. He was well aware that success doesn't happen overnight but requires perseverance and patience.


Pour continuer la lecture


VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT