Ben Francis – Owner of GymShark
Biography, Net Worth, GymShark, Entrepreneur
Ben Francis is the owner and founder of Gymshark, one of the fastest-growing sportswear brands in the UK. His current net worth is estimated at over $10 million dollars. Ben started Gymshark with his friend Lewis Morgan while studying at university, and in 2012 both Ben and Lewis dropped out and left their studies to focus on launching the apparel empire. The company was built around the idea of targeting and catering for the needs and interests of fitness enthusiastic millennials, as Ben noticed that fitness was a growing trend amongst this generation. Gymshark aimed to engage with millennials by understanding their unique needs and building a brand around the idea of looking good while working out.
Ben Francis, Background
At the young age of 19, he had a dream to compete against industries leading players like Nike and Under Armour. And as a teenager Ben always had an entrepreneurial mindset and aspired to be the owner of his own company one day. To raise the initial funds for the business, Ben worked part-time as a pizza delivery driver saving his tips and wages to build inventory for his online store. One of his first investments was a sewing machine where he began designing the first of his high performance gym apparel. Ben invested all of his savings in creating and maintaining inventory and soon started generating sales worth of over £300 per day.
Ben Francis was a high school student at South Bromsgrove when he first got into lifting weights. He later got accepted in to Aston University, Birmingham and dropped out after his second year of his international business management degree to focus exclusively on Gymshark.
Though he dropped out, Ben is still a proud alumni of Aston University and credits the establishment for his success. “Aston gave me a strong foundation on which to build a business. It’s an institution that seeks to foster the talents of passionate and ambitious business-minded people. Many of the people I met there share my vision for Gymshark and are now working with me to take the company to the next level.”
Right before leaving University Ben launched his first product line at a major industry show where he received his first major order worth over £30,000.
Gymshark has been on a tearing growth spree ever since then. Under Ben’s leadership as the majority share owner, the company has sold to over 150 countries. Price ranges vary from product to product; generally, the collection is priced from £8 to £80. Because of its phenomenal expansion in such a short period of time, GymShark was ranked number #1 in the “Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 list of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies”. Because of this huge growth, in 2017 Ben stepped down as Gymsharks CEO & took on the new title as the CBO, his reasoning for the move was to allow people with more experience to manage the day to day management of the business that he was not particularly fond of, and to allow himself more time to focus on the things that he enjoys, such as the creative development, brand development and the development of the product innovation to help the company grow and expand for the future.
GymShark Net Worth and Stats
The company’s growth both operationally and financially has been extraordinary and was one of the fastest companies to gain a million dollar net worth in one year. It finished 2017 with £1.5 million in pre-tax profits with £12.8 million in revenues. International sales of the company reached new heights and clocked an astounding £7.5million. Gymshark is hoping to turn over £90 million in sales by the end of 2018 and is on its way to becoming a £100 million pound enterprise.
Social Media – Innovative Business Strategy
Ben Francis uses an innovative business strategy that leverages the “viral factor” of social media. The company collaborates and works with many social media ambassadors who have large fan bases across different social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube. These social media brand ambassadors are commissioned and sponsored to market GymShark merchandise towards their fans and followers. It has sponsorship agreements with fitness models and body builders such as Marc Fitt, Lex Griffin, Jeff Seid, Christian Guzman, and Nikki Blackketter. This was the key to growing the brand and has helped Ben scale-up the Gymshark name in a cost-effective manner across the globe.
Social Media Presence
The company has around 1.1 million fans on Instagram and 1.2 million fans on Facebook. It has around 139,000 followers on Twitter. But its real strength is the ability to drive 20 million social media users to the Gymshark brand by leveraging relationships with over 200 social media influencers.
Ben Francis – It’s less about selling the clothes and more about selling the mindset,” said Francis. “I would rather die happy in 10 years knowing that I’ve affected people’s lives rather than having £1million in the bank or having a Lamborghini. We are not run by a spreadsheet.”