The Story of Gymshark

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6 min read

The Story of Gymshark

Gymshark is a leading fitness apparel company and was founded by Ben Francis in 2012 in his parents garage (and he was only 19 years old at the time!). Francis had a passion for fitness, and found a gap in the market for high quality and stylish gym wear that was also affordable. 

Today the company is recognized as one of the leading fitness apparel brands globally, with a massive and dedicated following on social media. The company continues to evolve, collaborating with athletes, fitness influencers, and expanding its range to meet the diverse needs of its ever-growing customer base. The entrepreneurial spirit of its founder and the brand's commitment to empowering fitness enthusiasts through their dedicated brand community have been the driving forces behind Gymshark's remarkable journey from a small garage operation to a global fitness apparel phenomenon.

So how exactly has GymShark grown from a small-scale garage operation to the fitness leader that it is today?

They are obsessed with customer relationships

‍One of the core factors that led to Gymshark's success is their obsession with the customer relationship. The brand places a high emphasis on connecting with their customers and creating a sense of community. They do this through various means, such as:

Expos and meet-ups: Gymshark participates in fitness events and meet-ups, where they feature fitness influencers and brand ambassadors. This allows them to connect with customers in person and build a genuine connection.

Gymshark World Tour: In 2016, Gymshark went global with its Gymshark World Tour, documenting the whole event on their YouTube channel. This further cultivated a sense of excitement and community among its fans.

Data-driven approach: Gymshark launched its Gymshark Insiders community, where customers provide honest and open feedback on marketing campaigns, product innovation, and more. This allows Gymshark to understand its customers better and create products that exceed their needs.

Gymshark for Women

The company actually started out as an apparel brand for men only. The brand eventually created women’s clothing, which now makes up three quarters of their customer base. Gymshark put a lot of effort into inviting women into their community while making sure their voices were amplified and they felt completely integrated into the community. 

To do this they’ve created events that focus on women, such as a virtual Athlete Chat featuring women active in the community as they talk about navigating fitness spaces as women. 

During Women’s Month they redirected their community efforts to creating awareness around the challenges women experience.

Back in 2021 these initiatives took the form of: 

  • Athlete Q+As: This event took place on Instagram, where female athletes in the community opened up about their experiences at the gym.

  • Tips, Tricks and Motivational Quotes: Tips and tricks geared at helping women on their fitness journeys while helping them with common issues like gym-intimidation. 

  • & so much more!

User Generated Content and Customers as Influencers 

 Gymshark encouraged its customers to share their fitness journeys and experiences with Gymshark products. By sharing user-generated content on their accounts, Gymshark celebrates its customers' achievements and highlights the diversity of its community. This approach has reinforced the idea that Gymshark was not just a brand but a supportive community of fitness enthusiasts.

Gymshark Blog

Gymshark's blog plays a crucial role in cultivating a sense of community among its customers and followers. The blog serves as a hub for valuable fitness-related content, lifestyle inspiration, and community-driven stories. The blog shares a variety of relatable content, like inspiring stories from Gymshark customers, challenges and campaigns, conversations with health and fitness experts, and comments where community members can chat with one another. 

Overall, Gymshark's blog serves as an extension of its brand values, creating a space where fitness enthusiasts can come together, share their experiences, seek guidance, and feel inspired. By providing valuable content and fostering a sense of belonging, Gymshark  strengthens its community and solidifies its position as a lifestyle brand that genuinely cares about its customers' fitness journeys.

Gymshark has focused on one strategy — online communities —and is doing that strategy really well. It’s why they’ve managed to thrive for a decade despite not having a physical store. Their events are online AND in-person, and they’re constantly looking for new ways to engage their communities in meaningful ways that make their communities feel like they’re involved. 

Here’s what you should take away from  Gymshark’s success in building online communities:

  • Narrow down your niche and stick to perfecting it instead of going for a bunch of different ideas at the same time - such as customers that are looking for high quality, affordable fitness apparel. 

  • Find new opportunities to spread the word like Gymshark did with their blog, community events, and numerous initiatives. 

  • Understand the needs of your market and learn how to speak to them so they feel heard. In today’s day and age, it’s crucial to provide your customers with a space to amplify their voices and to engage with them one on one. This is going to help you better understand their needs, and in turn help you create products and services that are going to best suit what they actually want!

To start cultivating and accelerating the growth of your online community today, visit

Sep 1, 2023

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