For a long time, I have always been a big admirer of Ben Francis and his journey to create Gymshark, one of the most successful fitness brands in the world. Whether I’m watching his YouTube videos or listening to his podcasts, one thing is clear about how he has achieved success and that is his sheer drive and determination in making his vision a reality.
Who Is Ben Francis?
Ben Francis, is a 29-year-old British businessman who is known for being the founder and chief executive officer and majority shareholder of Gymshark, one of the biggest fitness brands in the world which is located in Solihull, England and rapidly expanding across the world with the US becoming its main focus of expansion.
What Is His Story?
Ben started Gymshark back when he was still a student studying at Aston University and quit in 2021 to solely focus on growing the business which originally started by selling supplements on the side. From this point, he made a profit of £1,000 as well as developing two iOS fitness apps which managed to make it on Apple’s fitness charts, but where did the idea come from? Well, it all started from Ben’s frustrations of trying to find suitable gym clothes that he felt comfortable in, so he began to sketch out some ideas from his bedroom, and from there on the Gymshark brand was born.
From the profit of his side hustle business, he decided to buy himself a screen printer and sewing machine to start producing fitness-related clothing from his parent’s house. During this period, he asked his grandmother, who was a curtain maker, to teach him how to sew which allowed him to keep his costs low by making and sewing the clothing himself.
Even though he had to put a hold on his studies where he was pursuing a degree in international business and management, he believes the knowledge he gained from his time at the University helped him to lay the foundations of Gymshark. This helped him to channel his expertise in business, sales, social media, and market research into the business which led to him understanding the value of other marketing channels such as SEO, collaborating with social media influencers in order to grow the brand’s visibility.
Ben Francis’ Tips For Success
- Ben avoids emails as much as possible as these can prove to slow down progress and can take longer to get the answers your looking for, therefore he prefers to use platforms such as Slack and iMessage.
- When starting anything new, he believes it’s very easy to find people who will tell you how amazing you are doing however in order to grow, you must seek out your critics and people who are doing better than you are so you can continue to push yourself further.
- He believes utilising social media is a must, as it’s going to continue to be in our lives for the foreseeable future, and connecting with like-minded people or following those who inspire us can help in terms of personal growth as well as showcasing your brand, products, and services.
Fast Forward To The Present Day
Gymshark has experienced immense growth over the past decade now employing over 800 members of staff and has seen its turnover grow to around £400 million this year, according to the companies recent financial results. Ben Francis publicly made the announcement back in 2017 to step down as the CEO of Gymshark to prioritize what is important to him which is to pursue innovative design and creative content which he believes is what separates the Gymshark brand from other competitors, while then-managing director Steve Hewitt, a former director of Reebok was appointed to the position. In August 2020, the company became the first DTC brand in the UK to achieve Unicorn status with no external funding, and with the recent partnership with General Atlantic this will help the brand to reach new heights across the globe to become a brand for the future.
What I Have Learnt?
Personally, I believe in this day and age the one major factor in order to become a success is having enough drive inside you in order to make what you desire a reality. For many of us, we were always told from a young age that our academic achievements would be the making or breaking of you and that they would shape us for the rest of our lives, how wrong they were. No matter how wealthy or how intelligent someone is, if that individual is not driven, motivated, or passionate about what they want to achieve in life then it simply will not happen.
If you are interested in learning more about Ben Francis’ journey to success, then check out his Youtube channel or the video below where he talks about his experiences in starting GymShark and what obstacles and challenges he faced along the way.