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The Rise of Gymshark - How it turned into an over £1bn brand

If you’re at all privy to the “fitness world”, chances are you have heard of the apparel brand, Gymshark. But Gymshark is more than just sweat-wicking apparel. Starting as a humble supplement company and moving into clothing, Gymshark’s strategy will be one studied in business courses for years to come. The brand has recently surpassed a £1 billion valuation after a recent investment from General Atlantic (its first-ever investment round).

The founder, Francis, started by sewing and screen printing logos on gym apparel, making clothing they wanted to wear themselves at the gym. Moving into eCommerce, they found a demand for the products and altered their strategy to accelerate their growth.

Here’s how Gymshark went from grandma’s sewing machine to a £1 billion valuation in less than 10 years:

1. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has been the backbone of Gymshark’s digital strategy since its early days. Keep in mind, this company launched in the early days of “social media influencers”, as well. This was the start of GymShark’s athlete community, which would eventually lead to the company’s worldwide recognition.

Influencers not only post about the company on social media on a regular basis but also review products they receive in-kind in exchange for their services. They make Youtube videos about their workouts, head-to-toe in Gymshark apparel, which has lead the brand to achieve a reach of over 20 million.

2. Using social media

Thanks to these influencers taking the brand under their wings from an early age of social media, Gymshark has built a significant following and athlete community on their many social channels.

Using a combination of digital marketing campaigns, famous yearly blackout sales, and an extensive network of influencers and community, Gymshark has an incredible reach that is far beyond that of its competitors.

In addition to its position as a premium workout apparel brand, Gymshark has also become iconic in terms of “athleisure”. Recent years have seen the brand harness influencers offline to attract fans and community members to their pop-up stores in the UK.

Gymshark regularly uses Twitter and Instagram and has its own YouTube channel, to share workout videos, tutorials, and motivation tips with its fan base.

Pretty much since its inception, Gymshark has been paving the way as an inspirational company for influencer marketing. Their growth strategy still only includes a few digital marketing campaigns every now and then, and influencer marketing.

3. Putting the customer first

Gymshark has always taken a customer-forward approach to their business operations. Once, during a website outage on one of their famous Black Friday sales, the founder personally wrote over 2500 apology letters to customers (including discounts) so they could make their purchases later. This is just a single example of their excellent customer service, but if you’ve ever purchased from Gymshark and used their support, you’ll understand the hype.

4. Building a fantastic operations team

We’d be remiss if we didn’t recognise the internal operations team at Gymshark, making everything happen behind the scenes. Gymshark’s headquarters houses over 500 team members where they also boast one of the most amazing employee gyms that is reserved for team members and athlete ambassadors that visit the HQ.

Gymshark focuses on hiring the right people for each role they fill and prioritizes alignment with company values and mission.

5. Professional documentation

Documentation is everything over at Gymshark. They build their company very publicly while sharing updates transparently through their social media channels. Using a combination of video and professional images, the company shows everything from walkthroughs of the headquarters and gym to important company updates.

There are also more topical updates are shared with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other decisions regarding various campaigns and initiatives the company takes on.

Either way, using their channel to transparently build their business is a strategy that resonates with fans, and is a large part of the reason Gymshark has such a large following on social media, to begin with. It’s nice to get an “inside perspective” on the company’s ongoing and operations and makes fans feel special and privilege to be a part of the community.

Takeaways

You don’t need a massive marketing budget to grow an internet company in the 21st century. Gymshark has grown exponentially year after year since its inception and has implemented successful digital campaigns through the use of influencers and building a stellar online community. They take care of their staff and only hire the right team members for each open role, and the founder truly believes in transparency of operations.

What we can take away from this is that customer service is the key to success. Whether it’s customer service for consumers purchasing from your brand, or service for the internal team running your operations, by way of providing a state-of-the-art fitness facility and taking care of team members.

Gymshark is more than just a fitness brand. It’s a way of life for many community members. It’s a way to meet like-minded ambassadors across the globe, and it’s a way to learn new techniques, recipes, exercises, and motivations for your own fitness goals.

To become one of the most successful eCommerce brands the world has yet to see, the focus always needs to be on the people and on the product. Creating a superior line of fitness and athleisure apparel is nothing if you do not boast the supporting community both internally and externally.

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