C2S Best Practice visits took us to the UK’s fastest growing gym wear company today – Gymshark. Started in 2012 by then, 19 year old Ben Francis in his bedroom Gymshark today will turnover in excess of £105 Million, operating in 177 countries, employing over 150 people, with the average age of staff being just 26 years old! This company has been built on social media, no shops, retail outlets or concessions. They now have a following on social media of 5 million, increasing by 15,000 per day! Steve Hewitt, CEO and Dave Parry, Chief People Officer shared with us their story and journey to date, with a tour round their fantastic new HQ. For them it’s all about their people, their business is based on people- their customers (called fans) and their team. They believe they have 2 reasons for success:
- They are committed to their customers (fans) and they know them well and are obsessed with them – good service, good communication, new products, honesty, humility are top priorities.
- Culture – they have created a fantastic culture within their organisation engaging with young people, believing in young people, being inspired by young people. With their target audience between 16 – 26 they employ people that think, engage and act like their customers.
Just having moved in to GSHQ their brand new building only 3 weeks ago, they have managed to create a relaxed, happy, motivated, positive environment which oozes creativity and success – so much so, we all wanted to work there! Having invested 7 million in this high tech building with everything from a Michelin Chef in the restaurant to indoor table tennis, outdoor green space, pod massage beds, music playing as you walk around and an open environment they have already made their mark in Solihull. Recruiting at 12 people a month at present they have the capacity to grow to 600 in this HQ. Now at 150 employees and looking to take that up to 200 by the end of the year they have space to grow.
When asking about how they find recruiting the answer was “Rather have a hole than an arsehole” Dave Parry CPO. Explaining that they only want people that fit the culture of their organisation, people that want to be part of their journey and success. They reward staff well with all being part of the annual bonus scheme and have a very open culture on company figures, turnover etc. to include everyone on the journey, to be part of the journey, make a difference and be rewarded – all open and above board.
People are everything to them and they are changing the way people work by embracing new and innovative ideas, looking at new benefits and ways in which staff work – just because it’s not been done before doesn’t mean you can’t do it! They offer staff flexi time between 7am – 8pm as long as everyone is in at crucial times between 11am – 3pm, all staff have a membership to the Virgin gym round the corner, they provide a heavily subsidised, outstanding restaurant called Refuel, with a fantastic open space where people can work, chat, eat or catch up. They are looking at non-restricted holidays and have created an environment where people want to come to work on a Monday morning
“ We want every Sunday to be Christmas Eve” explained Steve Hewitt CEO.
Wanting to make sure that all employees are excited to come to work on a Monday morning. Work hard/Stay humble is one of their sayings and the walls have key, to the point messages on them to remind everyone of the culture of the organisation – GET SHIT DONE – DON’T BE A DICKHEAD –NOT TALENTED OBSESSED.
They have 11 online stores and when they launch a new range online they expect to take around £2 million in 11 minutes – high pressure to deliver on customer expectations, which they take very seriosuly.
They adopt the fail fast approach to business and when they make mistakes they learn quickly and move on. This very fast moving business is both exciting, successful and engages young people in a way I have never seen before. An inspiration to us all and a glimpse into the future!