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Gymshark: how an e-commerce store turned into a 9-figure business

In 2012, Ben Francis was a 19-year-old university student and pizza deliverer when he first created Gymshark. Initially, it started out as an e-commerce store selling other fitness companies’ products.

As the business started to grow, so did his obsession with creating a community never before seen in the fitness industry. He then began making his own clothing line and the business took off. It is at this point that Francis decided to abandon the pizza and university world to fully dedicate himself to his creation.

In 2018, Gymshark is expected to reach a turnover of £100 million.

But how, in six years, has one young man created such a fast-growing business? Long story short, the company is an avid social media user. To put it simply, he would send his products to some of the biggest influencers in the fitness world, hoping their positive reviews would reach a wider audience.


Today, the Gymshark Instagram accounts, along with the accounts of their biggest athletes, boast a whopping 17 million followers worldwide. Many of the athletes also document their lives on YouTube, reaching out to millions more. Avid gym-goers make sure to be up-to-date on when new products launch on the website, They constantly check the athletes’ social media accounts. Followers all around the globe, are obsessed with the bright, modern design of their website and clothing. The collection appeals not only to those who frequent the gym, it also attracts the attention of the trendy young-adult demographic who love to sport the “athleisure” look.

However, Gymshark loves to keep its customers on the edge of their toes, even if it means switching their entire platform. The company hosts very few sales throughout the year, with Black Friday being the biggest and most important. In order to let its following know what was coming up for the sale of the year, Gymshark uses to Instagram to notify the world. Chief Creative Officer Noel Mack explained they “… knew it would shock [their] loyal fans and tell them something was happening.”


It is no question that Gymshark has made a name for itself as arguably one of the biggest brands in the fitness world. However, how has it constantly stayed in the top tiers of the industry?

Francis didn’t know it yet, but his method of using influencers to help promote his product would spark a whole new category in social media marketing: Influencer Marketing. By utilizing his athletes’ following, Francis created a very personal fitness community containing millions of people. Gymshark modern style of clothing combined with athletes who love to engage with the customers through their own social media accounts are the keys of the brand’s success. It is because of this community, made up of athletes and their followers, that Gymshark has not only prospered but has become the largest online bodybuilding clothing store the world has ever seen.

Written by: Shawn Chang

Edited by: Erica Blotto

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