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Linnworks With: Gym+Coffee.

Written by:

Emily Ralston

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As Ireland’s leading athleisure brand and community, Gym+Coffee is on a mission to encourage a community of people to Make Life Richer, centered on socializing around exercise. 

We spoke with Content Manager, Adele Biggs about the story behind the business, the effects of the pandemic, the company’s values and plans for the future. 

Tell us about Gym+Coffee. 

Community is at the center of everything we do here.  

We advocate for our community to socialize around exercise and we believe in awesome things to do, an amazing crew to do things with and high-quality gear to do things in.

We’ve been in business for four years and are now Ireland’s largest and most recognizable athleisure brand and the strength of our business really does come from our ever-growing community of adventurers doing amazing things in Gym+Coffee athleisurewear.

How did Gym+Coffee start? What’s the story?

Gym+Coffee was launched in 2017 by our co-founders, Karl Swaine, Niall Horgan, and Diarmuid McSweeney.

They had all spent time living in Australia and California and experienced a lifestyle there that really centered around the cafe culture, being outside, adventuring and socializing around exercise. They each returned to Ireland at a time when the country was seeing a shift in how the younger generation was building community - people were looking for new ways to connect that offered a really balanced approach to life and our co-founders wanted to create something that really encouraged this new active lifestyle. At the time, there was a definite gap in the athleisure space here in Ireland, so they put their heads together and Gym+Coffee was born!

We’ve been so fortunate to have huge support from the Irish people as this community has grown. We’re incredibly proud to be an Irish start-up and now, we’re in an awesome space to take the foundations that we’ve built here at Gym+Coffee and bring our Make Life Richer mission to the world, making this a true global Irish success story.

Has COVID shifted ways of working for you?

The pandemic forced us to pivot in a lot of ways. Like most people and businesses, it definitely brought some challenges to our doorstep. We are an online-first brand but our retail Clubhouses are a significant part of the Gym+Coffee experience and having to temporarily close our retail doors due to Covid was heartbreaking but our whole team really rallied and we’re absolutely delighted to have the doors back open again!

One of the big moves we made during the first lockdown was to partner with Irish company PCH to assist in our supply chain logistics. As online demand for our clothing went up, we were challenged with getting orders out efficiently to our community. Changing how we operated on the distribution side of the business was pivotal in keeping us effective as a brand and making sure our community was experiencing the high-level of service they know to expect from Gym+Coffee. Now, we’re in an even stronger position to continue to grow our community and enable our business to really flourish.

Our digital marketing strategy has always been a cornerstone to our business and it became even more crucial during Covid — to make sure our community was able to stay up-to-date with product launches, online events and Covid safety updates meant that email and social media were elevated even higher than during pre-Covid times.


How did Gym+Coffee shape its company values? 

Our values are and have always been community driven and speak to what our founders’ value at their core. Our brand ethos is to Make Life Richer and I love that this is a mantra that can be individualized so readily.  There’s a genuine desire I think now to create a balanced, healthy, active lifestyle and our company values reflect that: facilitating awesome events and activities for our community to get involved in, building + nurturing that amazing community of people to do things with and then obviously being able to design, create and offer high-quality gear to do things in.

Our values really do come out of what our co-founders and our growing team value themselves. 

Tell us about the campaigns you have going on to support your company values. 

 

Being able to connect with our community and have them connect with each other is integral to Gym+Coffee’s DNA. 

We had to make a big shift to virtual events only during the pandemic which was new to us but our community really showed up and continued to connect and now that the world is starting to open up again, we’re able to offer a hybrid model of in-person and online events. This year will see us host our 5th Summer Stretch Series where every weekend in June we invite our community to join us for free exercise classes. This year we have a running theme going and we’re collaborating with Niall Breslin and his Marathon Mind community to hold a series of social runs

Our journey towards a more sustainable future is a key part of our business as well. We launched our first sustainable line last year - The Amárach Collection and this year we launched our Spring-Summer range The Connect Collection, which includes multiple sustainable products. Our goal is to have at least 30% of our apparel and accessories range be made from sustainable materials by the end of the year.

In addition, we partnered with One Tree Planted. One Tree Planted is an organization dedicated to global reforestation efforts and our community can add a tree to their cart for the equivalent of €1! 

We launched our Ambassador program called The Make Life Richer Collective in 2021. We’re delighted to have our ambassadors be true fans of the brand as well as incredible, inspirational people in their own communities. There is no set criteria to become an ambassador, but we look for people who try new things, push themselves to achieve more and inspire the people who are around them. 

How can others get involved?  

Through all of the above! We absolutely love hearing from our community and the journeys they are on. If you sign up to receive our emails, you’ll stay the most up-to-date with all of the exciting things happening here at Gym+Coffee. Follow us on social @gympluscoffee and get ready to Make Life Richer with us!

What are your plans for the future? 

The sky really is the limit! Our big focus this year is on international growth and in 2020, we opened our first international Clubhouse in London. That same year we built a dedicated website for our Australian and New Zealand communities, we opened a 2nd international Clubhouse in Manchester and launched our dedicated UK website. 

You probably saw that Niall Horan has joined Gym+Coffee as an investor and advisor to the brand and we are so excited to be working with such an incredible advocate and supporter of Gym+Coffee. He has such a dedicated fan and support base and we can’t wait to achieve some really big things together.

What market has interested you the most?  

There’s not one single market that you can point to and say, ‘This is it, this is our sole focus.’ We have a huge community here in Ireland and we are incredibly proud of our Irish roots, that will never change. And we’re also really excited to bring this young Irish brand to a global stage. As I mentioned, we’re continuing to build our community in the UK and we’re delighted to see our Clubhouses in London and Manchester go from strength to strength. 

It’s also really exciting to see growth in the Americas, Australia + New Zealand and we’re really looking forward to continuing to grow, develop and share our Make Life Richer ethos with more and more people!

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