Investors circling Gymshark at £1bn valuation

The athletic apparel brand continues to grow at rapid pace, here I take a look at what caused this Solihull start-up to become the fast-growing business in the UK.

Ben Francis, who recently stepped down as CEO, launched Gymshark - a “cool”, global e-commerce fitness and apparel brand – in 2012, out of his mother’s garage – aged just 19. Fast forward to today and the business has ambitions to be valued at £1 billion as a result of a minority stake sale.


How has the company achieved such phenomenal growth in such a short timeframe? To put it simply; Through creating meaningful relationships with its customers and riding the wave of influencer marketing. 


Community Engagement– Gymshark has always focused on building sustainable relationships and prioritising customer needs, above everything else. It focuses on forging meaningful connections that endure. The activewear-brand has its finger firmly on the pulse. 


Like many successful brands, Gymshark routinely experiments with different (and new) sales channels to accelerate growth and stay relevant. Having developed huge audiences across YouTube and then Instagram, the company were quick to adopt TikTok in 2018.


Influencer Marketing– Gymshark accidentally stumbled across the power of influencer marketing. As an early follower of fitness vloggers on YouTube, Francis would send Gymshark clothes to his heroes – often just because he thought it was cool to see them wearing them (Few other companies were doing this at the time). The company now has a huge global reach through its Gymshark athletes, which it has continued to build on ever since. 


Today, despite the market being highly saturated, influencer marketing is still gaining in prominence – according to new research, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations and 40% have made purchases due to influencer posts on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.


There are many parallels with the success of Gymshark and the most valuable brand in the world – Nike. Both have used alignment with athletes to project their brand image, and both have their ear to the ground. The fitness industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, and there are few signs to suggest Gymshark has any reason to slow up. 

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