How can your fitness brand do good and increase profits?

By Ben Moreland, Asuno.

Whether you are planning a startup or you are building an existing health and fitness brand you can choose to do good in the world.  And this contribution can go hand in hand with boosting profits. Let’s look at some of the facts and some approaches brands can take.


Fitness is bigger business now than ever before.  Gym membership, in the UK, has increased approximately 4% year on year from 2015 to 2018. The UK industry is worth a staggering £4.9bn (according to The 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report). That growth likely to increase in the coming years of data driven health and fitness, it’s a fantastic sector to be in.


To take one example, fitness apparel is no longer only about big names; small boutique brands are appearing. But many are struggling to stand out in an ever-more crowded market place. Beyond functionality, style and quality what can help customers choose one over the other?  The answer lies in choosing to prioritise social responsibility in your brand.


With an estimated 807,000 running events annually, 100,000 event participating cyclists and over 140,000 competing triathletes, the UK is anything but lazy when it comes to pushing physical and mental limits.  Many of these people are raising money for wide-range of charities.  With so many keen people willing to go the extra mile to do good, why is the clothing they wear not living up to this generous giving mentality?


The answer is, of course, profit and a tendency to focus on revenue over social good.  Company are there to make money. And that’s exactly where they are missing the point; doing good is also good for your bottom line.


Here are just a few companies, in a variety of sectors, that are nailing the bottom line revenue and having a huge impact on world in the process:

  • CH2OOSE – Eco-friendly non-plastic bottled water that gives all of their profits to Water For Africa
  • BOMBAS SOCK – working on the one-for-one model, Bombas donate a pair of socks for every pair purchased
  • ONE WORLD PLAY PRODUCT – Donate 5% of the sale price to providing their product FutBols to communities in need
  • WEWOOD – Collaborate with Trees For The Future to plant a tree for every wooden watch sold
  • ASUNO – Providing premium quality fitness and yoga clothing that supports charitable actions with every purchase
  • TOMS – For every pair of TOMS shoes brought, they provide a pair of shoes to someone in need


These companies prove that doing good is good for business. And since so many fitness fans are also keen charity fundraisers – it makes perfect economic sense to combine the two.


So, if you are launching a new fitness brand, or wanting to grow your fitness business – consider linking it with a charitable aim.  You can do this in a variety of ways – whatever suits your business model, internal resources, and target market the best:


  1. Donate a percentage of your profits – 1%, 5%, 10%… 50%, there is no correct figure, every little helps when it comes to charity, and if you are rocking a healthy turnover then even 1% will make a huge impact.


  1. Charity partners – support a charity directly with co-branding and awareness campaigns, keep your profits but co-advertise to bring more awareness for your charity partner. Tell your customers about the charity and make it easy for them to donate, promote the charity on your website, social media and in your newsletters.


  1. Sponsor events – become a corporate sponsor for an event, this is not only a huge help to the charity, it provides your company with a great advertising opportunity.


  1. Buy one, give one – invoke this ethos into your business model. Do you have a product that could help others? Support a cause that compliments your product and donate one for one.


  1. Empower your employees – support and sponsor employee fundraising days, put on an event, get your employees family and friends involved. Target your employees that are most passionate at volunteering.


  1. Build your story – long gone are the days that customers took charity on face value, they want to know the story, envelope themselves in the cause and believe that your company is seriously in it to do good, build your brand story to tell them.


All of these options not only help the world but will also boost your brand’s social responsibility.


According to the 2018 State Of The UK Fitness Industry Report ( 1 in every 7 people attend a gym or fitness class.


What do the number tell us? If we assume the average cost of a  gym outfit is £30, and we have 9.9m gym attendees purchasing one outfit a year (more like five, I know, but let’s take worst case scenario), then we have £297m spent on fitness apparel every year in the UK. If these brands donate 1% of total sale prices that would free up £2.97m for projects in need around the world every year. If making that small donation enabled you to gain an additional 1% of the market, it would make a huge difference to your bottom line.


Charitable donation not only does good – it can pay dividends, when are you going to collect yours?


Ben Moreland is co-founder of Asuno, a Manchester-based fitness and yoga clothing brand passionate about making an impact on the world. Using the city as inspiration, the team design beautiful, premium quality, functional fitness clothing that saves lives. Every item in the range is linked to an individual charity and each purchase provides a specific action from alleviating hunger to providing access to water and helping children build an identity.




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2016 – More people are taking part in endurance sport than ever before –