A spotlight on: Gymshark From small business to powerhouse


When it comes to starting a business from the ground up, things can be pretty daunting to say the least. Worrying about what first steps you should be taking, who you should be speaking to and how you should be going about things can take over and leave you feeling overwhelmed before you’ve even started.

This is completely normal and something every new business start-up goes through. Even the likes of fitness industry giants Gymshark had to start somewhere, and if there was ever a start-up story that will leave you feeling inspired – it’s theirs.

Today, we are going to be putting the spotlight on the household fitness brand and take a closer look at how one student turned a passion into a multimillion-pound business, in just a few short years!

Who are Gymshark?

Established back in 2012, Gymshark is the creation of then student, Ben Francis. Now, Gymshark is one of the most internationally renowned fitness clothing lines in the world, with customers spanning over 130 countries!

Although their roots are in high-quality, affordable gym wear, Gymshark now specialise in both gym wear and leisure attire in order to appeal to a larger customer base.

Gymshark timeline

Every so often we get an entrepreneurial story that blows us away, and Gymshark’s rise to glory is nothing short of phenomenal – but where did it all begin?

Part-time pizza delivery student and gym enthusiast Ben Francis likely never dreamt that his passion for exercise and his drive for success would take him as far as it has. But that didn’t stop him from starting up a number of businesses in his teenage years.

First a car license plate website, and then a couple of fitness tracker apps for iPhone, Francis was a natural business man from the off. Although his method was a little rough and ready – the passion and enthusiasm to succeed meant that his earliest ventures brought him a modest sum of money and whet his appetite for his future as an entrepreneur.

A breakdown of Gymshark’s growth:

  • 2012 – university student Ben Francis wanted to create the type of gym wear that he and his friends would want to wear. After a few small business ventures – Gymshark was born.
  • Focusing simply on the type of gym attire that appealed to his peer group, Francis and his small team began designing and producing clothing priced at a ballpoint that he would pay himself.
  • At the end of 2012, attending a BodyPower expo with the fruits of their labour; the Luxe fitted tracksuit, which proved to be a huge hit -would prove be the first glimpse into just how big the Gymshark brand would become.
  • Following the success of the BodyPower expo, Gymshark took to the online world for the first time, and the response was more than anyone could have predicted. Gymshark’s first day of online trading brought in approximately £33,000.
  • To scale up the business without losing control of the logistics, the boys behind Gymshark invested in their own warehouse giving them their first big USP, as they were one of few big active wear companies doing everything themselves, and not out-sourcing to third parties. This was to be the start of a rapid uphill climb within the fitness wear industry.
  • Six years on, Gymshark are now a global name, but what is even more impressive is that they built up their brand through nothing other than social media influencers.
  • Removing large marketing and paid search investments has allowed Gymshark to grow with minimal cost as the majority of their sales come through direct and search traffic thanks to clever social media influencer marketing.

What new startups can take from Gymshark’s story

It goes without saying that Gymshark’s story is one that is exciting and encouraging for other aspiring entrepreneurs. But what’s the secret to success that those looking to start their own business can take away?

Hard work and determination are a given here. But perhaps the most striking thing about Gymshark in its earliest days is Francis’s simple approach of supply and demand and taking those first steps. He saw a gap in the market for people just like him, and he wanted to fill that gap in the most straight forward way possible.

For others looking to begin their own journey to success, why not get in touch with our team at Signature Works? Our network of professionals is something special, and our family like to go above and beyond to support each other in our endeavours – making starting your own business less daunting and making those first steps a little less scary. Give us a call today!


Call Now Button