- Sports apparel brand Gymshark has just hit a valuation of $1.3 billion after General Atlantic secured investment. The business, which was founded in 2012 by Birmingham U.K.-born Ben Francis, now 28 years old.
Sports apparel brand Gymshark has just hit a valuation of $1.3 billion after General Atlantic secured investment. The business, which was founded in 2012 by Birmingham U.K.-born Ben Francis, now 28 years old, has entered into a strategic agreement to further expand globally. General Atlantic will take a 21 percent stake in the business following the deal, which marks the first investment round of Gymshark.
Gymshark began life as a company of vitamins, before expanding into clothes. Since Francis’ grandmother taught him how to use a sewing machine, the clothing, initially consisting of gym jackets and t-shirts, was sewn and screen-printed by Francis, his brother, and a group of friends. Francis said at first, they only made clothes that they wanted to wear. They enjoyed learning how to create and fulfill their orders, and priced items based on what sounded right. Here’s how they’ve risen so quickly and here’s what businesses can benefit from their approach.
This slogan is seen on walls at Gymshark HQ, and the #stayhumble Instagram hashtag is peppered with Gymshark fans and team members’ selfies. Steve Hewitt, CEO of Gymshark, advised that “It takes zero talent to work hard and zero talent to stay humble; if you get those things right you will still be doing well on your journey.” Hewitt’s further advice is to “Learn to fail easily” and “Own as much of the supply chain as you can.”
While everyone called influencer marketing a fad…
…a 19 year old created the $1.3B Gymshark empire.
— Ian Borthwick (@ianrborthwick) August 18, 2020
Gymshark has a strong target demographic of ages 18-25, whose lives revolve around health, fashion, and music. They don’t deviate from the audience and all they do is geared to their needs. Customers are being treated. Gymshark experienced a website crash on Black Friday in 2015, which meant that consumers did not get their bid. Although this may have destroyed other companies, the founder of Gymshark personally wrote 2500 letters of apologies to consumers, including coupons, who were unable to shop after the crash.
The early adopters of the influencer marketing model were Gymshark, who collaborated with YouTubers like Lex Griffin and Nikki Blackketter. Today, through its Instagram network of influencers and YouTubers, the company sells products and sponsors a variety of athletes who each perform at the top of their game. The athletes include professional Irish boxer Katie Taylor and Ross Edgley, who was the first person to swim (1780 miles) all the way around Britain in 2018.