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Ben Francis

Founder & Chief Executive, Gymshark

The Gymshark founder and chief executive has built a $1.3 billion business by tapping into a niche, and using grassroots social media marketing tactics to turn everyday strength training enthusiasts into brand loyalists.


Ben Francis is the founder and chief executive of British activewear upstart Gymshark. Francis dropped out of college to build the Gymshark brand, which initially started as a supplements company. He then invested in a sewing machine and screen printer and started manufacturing clothes from his parents’ garage. In 2013, just a year after he founded the brand, a tracksuit he made went viral on Facebook, and generated £30,000 in sales within 30 minutes.

For the year ended July 2021, the brand’s revenue reached $506 million. Francis made room for Gymshark in a hyper-competitive and tough-to-crack activewear space by targeting everyday gym-goers, rather than elite athletes, and building a community around strength training enthusiasts. Gymshark’s grassroots social media marketing has helped the brand make inroads in a market dominated by Nike and Adidas, reaching a $1.3 billion valuation in 2021.






Vital Statistics

6 June 1992

United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.