Gymshark

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Gymshark
IndustryApparel
Accessories
Sports equipment
Athleisure
Founded2012 (2012)
FoundersBen Francis, Lewis Morgan
HeadquartersSolihull, England[1]
Key people
Ben Francis (Founder and CEO)[2]
ProductsSportswear
Fitness fashion
Number of employees
850 (2021)[3]
Websitegymshark.com

Gymshark is a British fitness apparel and accessories brand, manufacturer and retailer headquartered in Solihull, England.[4]

Founded in June 2012, Gymshark creates and distributes its own range of fitness wear.[4]

In 2020, the company was valued at over £1 billion.[5] Ben Francis is the majority owner of the company.[6]

The company does not operate any permanent physical retail stores, but has experimented with ephemeral retail.[7]

History[edit]

2012-2015: Early history[edit]

Gymshark was founded by school friends Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan in 2012.[8] Both aged 19, they set up the brand while studying at university.[9] Francis studied at Aston University[9] and worked as a delivery driver for Pizza Hut when he first established the company.[10]

Gymshark started drop shipping bodybuilding supplements through its website.[11] In 2013, it began designing and manufacturing its own fitness apparel.[12]

Initially Francis manufactured the garments in his parent’s garage on a made-to-sell basis using a sewing machine and screen printer he purchased with £1,000 of savings.[13] During the first year, Gymshark made £500 in sales per day.[13]

In 2013, the company exhibited at the BodyPower fitness trade show at the NEC arena in Birmingham where it sold out of all its stock in the first day.[14] After the show, Gymshark’s Luxe tracksuit went viral on Facebook, generating £30,000 of sales within 30 minutes.[14][15]

When the company’s revenue reached £250,000, Francis and Morgan both left university to focus on Gymshark full time.[16]

In 2016, Morgan partially exited the business retaining 20% of the company, to focus on his other ventures, property development company Ernest Cole and fashion label Maniere De Voir.[16]

2016-present: Expansion[edit]

In 2016, Gymshark was named the UK's fastest growing company in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100.[17]

In 2018, Gymshark moved from its office in Redditch to a new 42,000 square foot headquarters on Blythe Valley Business Park.[18] In the same year, Gymshark made sales of £100 million.[19][20]

In 2019, the company opened a new 8,000 square foot office in Hong Kong.[21] In September that year, Gymshark launched the Gymshark Lifting Club, a gym and innovation hub, on the same site as its headquarters in Birmingham.[22][23]

In August 2020, US private equity firm General Atlantic purchased a 21% stake worth of $261.7 Million in the company which valued the company in excess of £1 billion.[5][24][25] The company said it would use the funding to further expand globally.[5]

In November 2021, Gymshark appointed Gary Vaynerchuk as an advisor to the company's board.[26]

Current operations[edit]

Gymshark’s products are sold directly to consumers in 180 countries via websites in 13 languages.[7] The company employs 499 people globally.[10]

In 2019, Gymshark made sales of £175.2 million with profit of £18.6 million.[27] Around half of its turnover was generated in the USA.[7] The company’s full-year revenues to July 2020 were £268 million.[5]

Locations[edit]

Gymshark's office in Blythe Valley Park

Gymshark's head office is at Blythe Valley Park in Shirley, West Midlands.[18] Based on the park is also GSIQ, the company's innovation centre and the Gymshark Lifting Club (GSLC)

Gymshark also has offices in London, Hong Kong, Mauritius and in 2019 the company opened its North American office in downtown Denver.[21][28]

Products and marketing[edit]

Gymshark sells fitness apparel for men and women[29] including workout vests, hoodies, t-shirts and leggings.[30] While the brand was initially aimed at men, by 2020 approximately two thirds of sales were to women.[31]

Gymshark was one of the first brands to make extensive use of influencer marketing by partnering with social media influencers, including YouTube body builders Nikki Blackketter and Lex Griffin.[19] The company continues to market its product range through social media influencers.[31] As of 2020, the company was paying 125 influencers to market the brand on social media.[31]

Gymshark has over 5.5 million followers on Instagram.[32][10]

The company does not have any brick-and-mortar stores, but did open its first pop-up shop in London’s Covent Garden in February 2020.[7][33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How Gymshark grew by 200%+ year on year and hit £41M in sales (Updated 2019)". Beeketing.
  2. ^ "Ben Francis". Forbes. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  3. ^ "From Delivering Pizzas To Building A Billion Pound Business Empire Minutes With UNILAD". UNILAD. 2021-04-04. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  4. ^ a b "About Gymshark". Gymshark UK. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  5. ^ a b c d "Clothing brand Gymshark becomes UK's newest £1bn start-up". www.ft.com. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  6. ^ "Gymshark founder to become UK's richest self-made person under 30, with firm valued at £1bn". inews.co.uk. 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  7. ^ a b c d "Gymshark achieve fittest profits in Britain | GBCC". www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  8. ^ Jones, Tamlyn (2020-08-14). "Gymshark secures new backing to target North American market". Business Live. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  9. ^ a b Rhys, Steffan (2020-05-19). "The 27-year-old from Bromsgrove who's already worth well over £100 million". BirminghamLive. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  10. ^ a b c "Gymshark: Ex-pizza delivery boy's sportswear firm worth over £1bn". BBC News. 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  11. ^ "About Ben Francis". Ben Francis. 2020-05-05. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  12. ^ "How I Started The UK's Fastest Growing Company". Ben Francis. 2020-05-03. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  13. ^ a b Times, The Sunday. "How Gymshark founder Ben Francis created his sportswear empire". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  14. ^ a b Editor, Ashley Armstrong, Retail. "Ben Francis: fitness fanatic builds Gymshark into a £1bn business". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-10-20.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "How I Started The UK's Fastest Growing Company". Ben Francis. 2020-05-03. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  16. ^ a b Russell, Katie (2020-10-07). "'I don't think it's healthy to retire at 28': Meet Gymshark's £100m co-founder, Lewis Morgan". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  17. ^ Evans, Peter. "Gymshark, launched by Ben Francis, bulks up". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  18. ^ a b "Gymshark secures future of global HQ in Solihull". Blythe Valley Park. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  19. ^ a b Bearne, Suzanne (2018-09-30). "The 26-year-old with a £100m sportswear brand". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-12-28.
  20. ^ Leighton, Mara. "Fitness apparel startup Gymshark was started by a 19-year-old and is now one of the fastest growing companies in the world — here's what the clothes are actually like". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  21. ^ a b "A Look Inside Gymshark's Hong Kong Office". Oktra. 2019-05-29. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  22. ^ Media, Insider. "Gymshark to create gym and innovation hub". Insider Media Ltd. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  23. ^ "Gymshark open £5 million innovation hub containing the best gym in Europe". Building Products. 2019-09-03. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  24. ^ "Gymshark secures investment from General Atlantic valuing company at over £1 billion". General Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  25. ^ "General Atlantic Invests in $1.3 Billion Gymshark Brand". Bloomberg.com. 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  26. ^ Thomas, Daniel (2021-11-08). "Gymshark damps IPO talk after adding to US team". Financial Times. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  27. ^ "Turnover and profit soar at Gymshark". NK Media. 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  28. ^ "Gymshark one of the UK's fastest growing companies, opens North American HQ in Denver". cresa.com. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  29. ^ "Gymshark takes a bite of the sportswear market". Drapers. 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  30. ^ TWK. "Fast Track". Fast Track. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  31. ^ a b c "How social media made Gymshark". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  32. ^ "@gymshark is on Instagram • 4.8m people follow their account". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  33. ^ "Gymshark Pop-Up". Covent Garden London. Retrieved 2020-10-20.


External links[edit]