How He Built A $1.4 Billion Dollar Business At 19

Emma Colsey-Nicholls
6 min readJan 25, 2022

A Rags To Riches Story Of Success

Image Credit — Wikipedia

Gymshark, the UK born fitness apparel brand was co-founded in 2012. Its founders, two university students at the age of just 19, have gone on to take the fitness world by storm.

Reading or listening to success stories is one of my favourite pastimes. Rather than just consume, I’m working on actually breaking down the stories, pulling out the clues, the lessons and working on identifying what’s relevant to my own entrepreneurial journey and how to implement those to my life and business.

I hope my takeaways can serve as powerful lessons and inspiration for you too.

A Very Brief History Of Gymshark

The business started as a supplement drop shipping company from Bens bedroom. He was a £5 per hour delivery boy for Pizza Hut at night, a student by day and then every other moment was dreaming and actioning the vision for Gymshark. From supplements to apparel, they went from hand stitching garments to becoming a billion-dollar brand.

In 2016 Gymshark was the UK’s fasted growing company and continues to make waves as it focused on gym culture and used fitness influencers to catapult its growth with fitness-focused Millennials and the Gen-Z demographics.

Now with over 900 employees, offices in the UK, Hong Kong and the USA. Distribution centres even wider spread, the company reached sales of $268 million in 2021 and is valued at over $1.4 billion. All whilst founder, CEO and 70% shareholder, Ben Francis is still only 29 years old!

The Foundations Of A Billion-Dollar Company

So how did he do it, what makes him tick and as entrepreneurs, what can we take from his lessons of managing such a rapidly growing brand?

After listening to his recent interview on Steve Barlett's podcast Diary Of A CEO and Ben’s own Youtube channel, here are some of the biggest take-home points that stood out for me.

  • The Element Of Luck — Ben recognises his privilege of being a white male, growing up with a good and loving family. A grandad that taught him the value of working hard and taking risks. He perceives these lessons as an element of…



Emma Colsey-Nicholls

Women’s Health and lifestyle coach. Top writer in Health. I write about health, habit creation and how to be a happier you.