💰 How To Build A $1B Brand

💰 How To Build A $1B Brand

Most of you know Gymshark - The “gym clothes built in the weight room”

Today, Gymshark is a brand worth $1.45B.

But just 12 years ago the fitness store was nothing but a supplement dropshipping store, funded by a part-time pizza job.

4 years after that, Gymshark became the UK's fastest-growing company…

All led by 19-year-old college dropout, Ben Francis.

Today he's one of the youngest billionaires in the world.

Here's how he did it.

  • 📱 From iPhone Apps To Track Suits

  • 🦸‍♀️ The Gym Heros

  • 🦈 Gymshark’s Selling Secret

Read Time: 5 min 1 sec

📱 From iPhone Apps To Track Suits

This is Ben Francis, the founder of Gymshark.

He was 19 when he bought the Gymshark.com domain and had recently closed his iPhone training app “iPhysique”

Gymshark did not start as a clothing brand…

It was first a dropshipping supplement brand that upsold gym clothes.

But a few months in, Francis faced two problems:

  1. The supplements were not very profitable

  2. Customers complained about the low-quality gym clothes and returns were piling up

So with an audience interested in fitness but not completely sold on Gymshark products, Francis had a choice…

Keep making a small profit on someone else’s supplements…

Or go all in on gym clothes.

Francis spent every dollar made on sewing machines and screen printers.

For the first year, all Gymshark clothes were handmade.

But although the clothes were high-quality and paired with unparalleled customer service…

The Gymshark website did not receive a lot of traffic. At the time, fitness clothes were not meant to be attractive - only functional.

So in 2013, Francis did something risky…

He emptied the Gymshark bank account and rented a stand at the 2013 BodyPower event in Birmingham…

Before the event, he sent the top performers his new Luxe Tracksuit to wear for free on stage...

30 minutes after the event ended, Gymshark went from £300 per day to £30,000 in 30 minutes.

But this was just the beginning.

Since the 2013 BodyPower event, Gymshark has pioneered the fitness industry as the first brand to make fitness fashionable.

And it’s all because of this one low-budget marketing hack that is now an international trend….

More on this:

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🦸‍♀️ The Gym Heros

The first influencer to ever rep Gymshark was Lex Griffin in 2013.

Then came Matt Ogus and Chris Lavado.

While building his store, Francis watched what he called “Gym Heros”

AKA Fitness influencers on YouTube.

He figured that if he watched these heroes and designed clothes that he wanted to wear…

Then his target audience was probably watching these Gym Heroes too.

Today, this is called influencer marketing. But at the time, this was a first.

Gymshark leverages influencer marketing in 3 ways:

#1 - Gym Heroes

Gymshark partners with the top performers with big followings in target markets.

Female boxers…

Plus-sized fitness gurus…

And even Ross Edgley, the first person to swim around Great Britain (1780 miles).

People follow who they identify with and trust.

So when their influencer is seen wearing Gymshark, everyone can find a way to identify with the Gymshark brand.

Francis also markets Gymshark via his own YouTube channel with 262K subs.

There he announces Gymshark updates, holds entrepreneur Q+As, and posts mentor ship videos (two of my favorites are linked below)

Same brand, many faces.

#2 - UGC Challenges

In 2018, Gymshark released the ‘66 Days To Change Your Life’ challenge.

The challenge - Set a 66-day goal and post about it on social media while tagging Gymshark

Not only did it paint Gymshark in a positive light…

But Gymshark had thousands of free content posted on every social media platform.

Since then, they’ve released monthly and holiday challenges to maintain the UGC growth loop.

#3 - Gymshark's media empire

What videos do you think Gymshark posts on YouTube?

Training videos? Sometimes.

Company updates? Not really.

It’s mainly fitness influencer competitions, pranks, and inspirational movies...

You can find fitness videos everywhere on YouTube. It’s harder to find original videos about some of the greatest physical feats in the world.

More on this:

🦈 Gymshark’s Selling Secret

And finally, the last pillar to Gymshark’s rapid success…

Their promo strategy.

Like every brand, Gymshark has seasonal and holiday sales…

But they add a twist.

Last Black Friday Gymshark had a midnight sale. But the day after, they released a text offering 90% off to the next 100 people.

And every once in a while, I’ll receive a text from Gymshark offering a deal but for that day only…

This is Gymshark’s secret selling strategy - Offer irresistible offers to a fraction of customers, therefore maintaining goodwill and scarcity within their community.

On top of this, they offer limited editions that will never be restocked once sold out, like the ‘Galentines’ Day collection.

Irresistible offers + scarcity + undeniable social proof = A $1.45B brand

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