Ben Francis: Gymshark
The five-year-old fitness apparel brand already shipping to 131 countries around the world
Ben Francis, 24
Starting life as a screen printing operation in a garage in 2012 when Ben Francis was just 19 years old, Gymshark has grown into a fast growth fitness apparel and accessories brand shipping products to customers in 131 countries around the world.
While many fitness clothing brands take either functionality over aesthetics or aesthetics over functionality, Gymshark says its products “exist at the intersection of engineering and art” with effective men’s and women’s performance wear that not only looks good, but works.
From swimwear to gymwear, as well as accessories including water and shaker bottles and bags, Gymshark creates products for a young, fitness-focused and tech-savvy audience.
A truly modern brand, it’s clear to see how social media has played a massive part in the brand’s meteoric rise, with an estimated three million “highly engaged” followers helping to grow the brand to a global presence in just five years.
Founder Ben Francis originally started the company by making and selling clothes to his friends, and, having built websites as a teenager, it wasn’t long before he was creating fitness apps and a Gymshark website that would lay the foundations for what the company is today.
Still exclusively online, the company has capitalised on a growing interest in fitness amongst young consumers and the shift from street commerce to e-commerce to build a brand that raked in revenues of nearly £13m last year.
It is said that sharks never stop swimming and never sleep; it seems Gymshark has taken the name of its titular animal to heart.