Statistics show that the UK clothing market has been growing over the past decade, and with the rise in the influence of social media, this figure doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. With this steady growth in the apparel industry, the UK activewear manufacturing sector has remained stable and is seeing a rise in new enterprises compared to previous years. So in this post, let’s take a look at some simple but useful tips for starting a fashion activewear brand like Gymshark including everything from creating a brand plan to working with custom activewear manufacturers on bringing your ideas to life.

1. Prepare a sufficient budget

Before we go further if you think you can replicate the ‘Gymshark Story” and launch a sportswear brand for £200, then please stop believing everything you read. If you know it will take more than “good luck” and “£200”, please continue 😉

The research results from Berunwear Sportswear company show that you’ll most likely need a five-figure sum to start a fashion brand in the UK.

We surveyed members of the Make it British Community and asked them how much it had cost them to get their brand off the ground. Over 50% of them had spent more than £15,000. That’s just to launch – up to the point where the product can go on sale – you’ll still need a buffer of cash to cover more stock and ongoing marketing and overheads.

It might be a good idea to set a spending cap on your project, as much as possible. This can help you ensure that your excitement about moving forward doesn’t leave you with serious financial problems later on. Since you may plan on starting from a small and local activewear retail business, I think a budget of under £20,000, depending on the cost of production, is completely reasonable. However, as your business grows, your budget may need to grow too.

2. Design activewear that customers will love

The design for your activewear is important. Not only do the dimensions/sizing differ between each type of clothing, but they also need to be versatile and able to adapt. The shape of the clothing will affect its flexibility and may enhance or diminish its effectiveness. Here is our top advice on how to make activewear that customers will love.

  • Design Clothing Customers Will Like – Of course, functionality and fit are always going to be the most important aspects, but everyone also wants to feel their best whilst they work out. The better people feel in their workout clothes, the more likely they are to wear them and keep up their exercise routines, and the more likely they are to buy from your custom activewear line again.
  • Do They Fit The Customer’s Needs – Everyone requires something different from their workout clothing depending on the type of exercise that they are doing. Most women tend to opt for leggings and tops, while men go for shorts and a t-shirt. Many people also opt for long-sleeved tops during the colder months to provide warmth and comfort. 
  • Opt For A Range Of Colours – Customers all have different wants and needs when it comes to choosing workout clothing but most will want to have some sort of variety in their closet. This is usually by choosing activewear in a range of different colors. 
  • Offer a Range of Sizes: Just as everyone has a preference about the type of exercise they do and the style of clothing they prefer – they also have different body sizes and different body shapes. That’s why it’s important not to simply offer a range of sizes but to offer different leg lengths for leggings too in your custom activewear line.
  • Use suitable fabrics – Fabric is by far the one part of activewear that you need to spend most of your time learning about and dealing with. eel the fabric before you make a sample to ensure that it will be smooth on the skin, and do your research to see if you can find any eye-catching fabric that looks like it has texture, etc. Don’t be afraid to include pockets for convenience or additional style lines for aesthetics. Be aware of where you place your pockets so that they are easy to get to, but don’t irritate the skin.

3. Choose the right activewear wholesale supplier

One of the perks of starting your own apparel line is that you don’t have to start from the bottom. You don’t have to spend thousands in setting manufacturing plants. All you need to do is find a good and reliable manufacturing partner. There are many private label apparel manufacturers on the scene. Look around carefully; factor in their catalog, their manufacturing facilities, their market reputation, their ability to meet urgent orders, the customization freedom you get, and so forth when selecting from among one of them as your partner.

But please remember: The most important factor to select a suitable clothing manufacturer now in the 21st century is Supplier Chain!

A good clothing supplier is not just a clothing manufacturing factory, it should also deal with product design, raw material selection, and procurement, professional logistics and inventory management for your brand, etc, so that you can focus on promoting the brand and solving customer pre-sales/after-sales problems, increase sales, and increase brand awareness, will finally become a successful independent activewear brand like Gymshark.

4. Focus on your brand marketing

Focus your energy on showing your leggings to as many people as possible and let people know that you have started a leggings business or that your boutique is selling or has expanded its legging selection.  You have to put in honest effort to get honest results and when you start seeing results, it will become infectious.  Also, when your customers fall in love with their new purchase, they will always be interested in what new items you have. Amazing high-quality legging designs plus your hard work will result in fantastic results.

But attention to what Gymshark taught me when I started my activewear brand: 


You have to spend your time doing things that will directly increase your sales.  If you are not then your sales WILL NOT INCREASE. Ask yourself at the end of the day “Did I work hard to make my products available to more people?”.  If you did not then you have to change how you allocate your time. 

Some useful ideas below:

  1. Social Media
  2. Friends and Family Network 
  3. Local Mailers
  4. Networking
  5. Business Cards 
  6. Build an Email List
  7. Distribute to Other Local Businesses 
  8. Flea Markets
  9. Weekly Yard / Garage Sale 

5. Measure the outcome (sales, profit margin) and make changes accordingly

You won’t hit the chords perfectly all the time. There will be a time when everything will go wrong; you might not be making as much sale as you wished for, your customers aren’t appreciating your collection. Instead of being disappointed, you must measure the outcome of your efforts and make changes accordingly to improve. So what your customers don’t like the range of leggings you have; next time, get something much more appealing and something that they actually want. Learning and improving are the key!