The first thing people need to know about Kjus is that it makes premium technical apparel for golfers and skiers. Founded in 2000 by Lasse Kjus – a Norwegian alpine skier who competed on the World Cup circuit for 17 seasons and won two overall World Cup titles and five Olympic medals – the company has been owned by Acushnet since July 2019. It was headquartered in Switzerland for many years but is now run out of offices in Boulder, Colorado. The worldwide president is Brooke Mackenzie, who joined Kjus two years after its establishment.
The second imperative is understanding how to pronounce the corporate appellation. In the Norwegian language, “kj” sounds like “sh.” So phonetically, Kjus is “shu-ss.” As in moose.
It is also a name that golfers are getting to know better and better.
Kjus the skier was still competing on the World Cup circuit when he started the eponymous business. In fact, he took silver and bronze medals in the downhill and giant slalom, respectively, at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, two years after setting up shop. His goal from the beginning was to create jackets and pants that stretched and provided skiers with groundbreaking freedom of movement while also offering protection in all kinds of weather. Initially, he distributed his wares though high-end stores in Europe and the United States. The response from consumers was very strong, and Kjus soon established itself as a powerful brand in the ski world.
Then, in 2012, Kjus got into golf.
“We looked at what we were doing in skiing and thought we could do the same thing in golf,” said Mackenzie. “We were the first company to bring stretch to skiing, to give that freedom of movement in apparel and outerwear as well as protection from the elements. And we determined we could make that transition to golf quite seamlessly. We had the know-how. We had the materials.”
The result of that initiative was the development of an entire line of golf apparel that included polos and pullovers as well as jackets, vests, pants and shorts. It was as tasteful as it was technical, and at the time that Acushnet purchased Kjus, its golf division had surpassed ski operations in terms of sales.
“And we have a good, solid ski business,” Mackenzie added.
With regards to its golf line for spring and summer 2021, Mackenzie says the theme is “calming color schemes,” which seem quite appropriate given the stress of the last year, and “comfort in all conditions.” The idea is to encourage the golfers in these days of COVD-19 to stay outside as much as possible – and to ensure that they are properly protected, no matter what the weather.
“Play more golf,” she explained. “Play it longer. And play it in all elements.”
Now sold in 30 countries, Kjus also has launched a lifestyle line that employs much of the technical knowledge the company applies to its ski and golf with high-end fabrics, so consumers have something to wear off the golf course and ski slopes.
Like its founder, the company continues to rack up wins.