Owner of sportswear giant Gymshark was just 19 when he started making clothes in his parents’ garage while working as a pizza delivery driver and just seven years later has a £100m turnover
- Ben Francis was 19 when he first started making gym clothes in his garage
- He was studying full time in Birmingham and working nights delivering pizzas
- Entrepreneur quit university to focus on Gymshark and is about to make £100m
The multimillionaire owner of sportswear giant Gymshark was just 19 when he started out.
Ben Francis decided to start making his own gym clothes when he couldn’t find anything he liked the look of on the high street.
But while he was dreaming up the ultimate sports brand he had to juggle being a full-time university student and a night time pizza delivery driver to make ends meet.
His grandmother taught him how to sew and he set up a workshop in his parents’ garage in Birmingham, complete with a sewing machine and screen printer.
He managed to make around 10 pieces a day, but had to work around his degree and part-time job.
Ben Francis has gone from a 19-year-old balancing making gym clothes in his parents’ garage with a university degree and a part-time job to approaching a £100million turnover at 26
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Ben told the BBC: ‘I’d wake up and go to Aston University [Birmingham], then finish uni early afternoon, and work at Pizza Hut from 5pm till 10pm.
‘I could answer emails [about his business] in between deliveries. Then I’d go home and sort out the website, and design new products.’
He kept his exhausting schedule up for two years and managed to get profits up to an impressive £250,000.
But when he decided to drop out of university and focus on Gymshark full time – things started to get serious – and he is now about to turn over £100million.
It took him launching an unsuccessful food supplements business and others when he was younger to find his niche in the market.
He says the secret to his success is using social media influencers with large followings to wear the brand and spread the word online.
He kept his exhausting schedule up for two years and managed to get profits up to an impressive £250,000. But when he dropped out of university things started to get serious. Gymshark is approaching a £100million turnover with ‘Gymshark athletes’ as ambassadors to promote the brand – including his model girlfriend (pictured with him) Robin Callant
Ben Francis, now 26, is pictured in Gymshark gym gear with his model girlfriend Robin Callant
The young entrepreneur has also managed to recruit athletes as ambassadors to wear his creations, with ‘Gymshark athletes’ getting the brand thousands more customers.
His company has its headquarters in Solihull, boasting 215 employees and 1.2million customers worldwide, according to the BBC.
Ben has bodybuilder Lex Griffin among his Gymshark athletes as well as his model girlfriend, Robin Callant. The brand now has 2.4million followers on Instagram.
Ben handed over the business to sportswear expert Steve Hewitt, who has had senior jobs at Reebok and Adidas and is now Gymshark’s CEO.
He is still a majority stakeholder, but he hopes with Steve’s business knowledge, the brand can grow even bigger.
Ben has bodybuilder Lex Griffin among his Gymshark athletes as well as his model girlfriend, Robin Callant
His company has its headquarters in Solihull, boasting 215 employees and 1.2million customers worldwide
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