3 Questions for K-Swiss’ Eric Sarin

Newly appointed VP of product Eric Sarin is helping K-Swiss find a fresh perspective.

Sarin, whose 17-year career in the industry has included stints at Puma and Adidas, most recently was global director of product at Paris-based Le Coq Sportif.

The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company, which was sold to South Korean apparel distributor E.Land World Ltd. last January for $170 million, has said that re-establishing a cohesive brand direction is a priority.

The new VP said that growth for the company is not only possible but natural, and he plans to make it happen by tapping into the brand’s archive. “[K-Swiss] is a treasure chest of beautiful old products. The root of the comeback has to be looking at what made the brand great in the first place, with a view to bringing that to the modern world,” he said.

Here, Sarin shares his vision for the new K-Swiss.

1. Why did you want to step in at K-Swiss?
[In my career], I have gravitated toward more startup or turnaround projects. K-Swiss is not where it should be, so some of this experience is going to be helpful in putting the brand back on track and helping it reach its full potential. It doesn’t hurt that there is a court trend coming back.

2. What are your priorities as you work on changing the brand’s direction?
I am spending a lot of time with the regions and the sales organizations to understand their needs. What doesn’t exist today is a clear segmentation strategy. It’s a popular brand that can exist in a lot of places, but we need to be a little more disciplined about what products go where. We need to make sure we understand all of our retailers and all of their needs and be sure we are delivering the right kind of products to them.

3. What will you change to make that happen?
[I want to] start with a clear positioning and be the only real heritage American tennis brand. [We need] to create one global line to focus ourselves and to engage opinion-leading consumers once again.

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