Fitness is an art itself. It does not just inspire you to do well physically but is applicable in all parts of your life. A person who is inspired enough to have a control on their diet, routine and works out regularly can surely have enough discipline to run a startup as well. This is how Ben Francis got his inspiration and started the Gymshark.
Before I knew about Gymshark and Ben Francis, I was completely oblivious to the gym routine. I found my fitness freak friends crazy when they used to spend hours at the gym.
After doing extensive research I realized, staying fit is not a hobby for people – it is a lifestyle that they are proud of. I have genuine respect for anyone in this world who works hard on their body and never loses track of their discipline. When it comes to making this passion commercial; Ben Francis comes to mind.
Back in 2012, Ben Francis was an undergraduate student. A delivery boy at night but a student by day. He was living his life like every student does while following his passion to create. He took out all of his creativity during the .com boost and made websites. Ben sold number plates through his first web creation and later moved on to application development. With the launch of iPhone he went on to develop four apps where the two fitness apps got great recognition in the UK.
Later on, while visiting the gym regularly Ben realized there is nothing comfortable enough to wear while you are making yourself fit. He merged his two passions and started Gymshark. The website first sold all the gym related equipment through outsourced vendors without stocking products. Once they had little traffic, he started making gym apparel with his friends at home through sewing machines and screen printers. Every package was made by these two undergraduate students in their house. Ben recalls it as the most “organic time” for Gymshark.
Once when Ben was out researching the market, he realized he needed to get Gymshark up in the market by introducing them at the UK’s ‘Body Shop Expo.’ He took the quick decision to set up his stall next year and got the space by using all his funds. The whole year was spent in preparation for the expo. While working endlessly they used to watch YouTube videos of their fitness idols. Out of the blue, Ben took the risk of sending their apparels to famous athletes. Lex Alarm wore it and the video he made with Gymshark was a hit. Yes folks, Ben Francis did influencer marketing before any of us could even think about it.
Then came the expo where they were overwhelmed with the response they received. Within minutes the stall was full of people and ready to get their Gymshark products. After this expo, Gymshark skyrocketed as a brand. They put Gymshark on the map and were loved by their fans all around the country.
Ben’s vision for Gymshark was simple – he wanted to make a fitness community where Gymshark can be their go-to brand. He says, they successfully achieved that by being creative on the front end and back end of the company. Today the company stands with a worth of £100 millions plus by simply offering quality products and good service.
Some advice by the young man?
He is 28 and has a lot going on. He is traveling the world and is ready to turn Gymshark into an international brand. When asked for tips for success, Ben likes to keep it simple;
- Keep communication with them team prompt and be connected to everyone
2. Don’t shy away from competitors and in fact looks up to them for guidance.
3. Protect yourself financially through different avenues, earn revenue from your startup and invest it back in the business.
4. Once you are successful, look for a team of critics not for followers who would just agree to you no matter what.
5. Lastly, Ben says be intuitive on social media. He makes it personal and works on building a community rather than just selling.
Ben is open to criticism and realizes the mistakes he made. Yet he is always proud of his products and believes in his vision. Ben Francis is somebody who has created a brand which has a personal touch to every apparel they develop. He had a story and a vision and he did not forget it.