How Ben Francis made Gymshark a Global Success

Back in 2012, teenager Ben Francis sparked an idea for a business that unbeknown to him would make him over £1.5 million in the space of 2 years. It wasn’t just luck that helped Francis become a success, he had always been business savvy creating websites, a fitness-focused social network and a few iPhone apps all while he was still a teenager.

Francis had always struggled to find fitness clothing he liked online and he noticed a gap in the market for simple and stylish gym wear for young people. The idea of Gymshark was now born. With a lot of determination for this idea to turn into a business, Francis worked hard to save every penny from his job delivering pizza. With the help of some of his high-school friends, he launched Gymshark.

How can a small idea turn into a quick global success? We’ll be digging deeper into Ben Francis’ inspiring story and giving a few helpful tips on how to set up a new business. One small step you take now could turn into some else’s inspirational story...


Starting off small

Once Francis saved enough money to start his business journey, he set up a little workshop in his parent’s garage. Francis and his friends started out with next to no funding and couldn’t afford to buy a lot of materials or machinery. Francis started off small with just one sewing machine and printer and his nan taught him how to sew.

When he understood the basics of sewing and had some equipment, he was able to start creating gym vest and t-shirts. Francis had a lot of fun learning and would spend all day with his friends making up to 15 products a day.

Tip: If you have been thinking about setting up a business then there is no better time to start than now. If you want to set up a baking business, for example, get in the kitchen and start experimenting with different recipes and ideas. This small step edges you closer to your dream becoming a reality.

Finding a gap in the market

When Francis was looking for gym apparel online, he noticed that there was barely anything in the style he wanted. He realised there was a gap in the market for millennials. A lot of gym clothing online was catered to people who had already built up their muscle bulk. There was nothing for slim teenagers or young people who were just getting into fitness.

All gym clothing on the market was either bright or baggy and this was not the aesthetic millennials wanted. With that in mind, Francis designed his fitness clothing to be fitted, effortless and stylish. Gymshark quickly noticed this niche market and took inspiration from brands like Nike to create their own aesthetically and practically designed fitness wear.

Tip: The key to creating a successful business is to create something that no-one has done before. Think about what makes your product or service unique and do lots of market research.

Making the most of social media

Francis had plenty of unique ideas for launching the brand. One of his main ideas was to launch the brand through social media. Social media played a main role in Gymshark’s advertising and marketing. Francis got in touch with several fashion influencers who would then help promote his business and make it grow into a global success.

These fashion influencers were sourced from all big social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. In exchange for free clothing, several influencers became ambassadors of Gymshark clothing regularly promoting Gymshark on all of their platforms. With each of these ambassadors having thousands of followers, the Gymshark community grew very quickly.

Tip: Before you set up your business, make sure to have an account set up ready on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Build up your community by talking to other like-minded people and share other people’s work. You want to be posting several times a day to increase your chances of getting seen. If you support others then they will support you and your potential reach could be in the thousands.

Discounts and Vouchers

Gymshark, as you can see, are very active on social media. With millions of followers, they are able to promote schemes and incentives to a wide range of people all around the world. These incentives include gymshark discount codes and various sales throughout the year.

With a strong millennial customer base, these incentives are very popular. Customers are able to afford high-quality, comfortable and stylish gym wear for less. You can find even more great deals in their clearance section if you are on a particularly tight budget but want to look and feel incredible at the gym.

Tip: Deals and offers are a great way to bring in business, especially if you’re just starting out. Why not have 20% off in your first week to grab people's attention? Don’t forget to promote your discounts on all of your social media accounts to reach as many people as possible.

Are you feeling inspired? Ben Francis’ story is a great reminder of how one small idea can turn into something magnificent. If you’ve been thinking about setting up a business then today is a great day to make the first small step.