How it started - how it's going
The story of Strength Shop began with a small group of like-minded strongmen and powerlifters. Despite their different training approaches, one thing became apparent to all of them over the years: they lacked equipment. And if this small group of dedicated lifters couldn’t get hold of the right tools, who could?
Although hard to imagine now, this was a real phenomenon not so long ago. Whether it was a pair of ballet slippers for deadlifts, an old wrestling singlet or knee sleeves normally used in a hospital setting, the choices were pretty limited. Training equipment such as belts, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, were in short supply and very expensive. This made things inaccessible both for dedicated athletes and those starting out in their lifting careers.
Even in competition settings, such as Strongman, competitors normally resorted to a DIY approach, scrambling together a few homemade pieces in an effort to help with their performance. This of course had a knock on effect on the quality and fairness of competitions. And the Strength Shop founders, who regularly took part, realised that providing more lifters with better kit could also improve the quality of the competitions as a whole.
Fast forward to 2009, Strength Shop was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland. A new and small business, the initial intention was simply to provide friends and like-minded athletes with the training equipment they needed. But as with many good ideas launched at the right time, word spread quickly and more and more people expressed interest in Strength Shop’s products and brand.As the popularity for strength training gear grew and the brand became more widely known, we realized that there was a growing demand for our products not only in the UK but elsewhere in Europe. In 2012, we made the decision to establish an additional site in Berlin, Germany, so that customers would have easy access to the whole Strength Shop range from a mainland Europe location. A US branch was added in 2013, and all three continue to operate today as independent companies with a common vision, drive and values.
This was the start of Strength Shop Europe. However, whilst the expansion started out as a project with a few friends, it since then really took off and 100s of thousands of orders later we’ve never looked back. Seeing Strength Shop products used in competitions, training videos and gyms all over makes us personally proud as strength athletes and we have to thank all our customers and partners for that.
Building a strength equipment brand is not so unlike strength training itself: hard work and consistency are key. Some changes are bigger and have more of an impact, while others are hidden in the details and take many smaller steps over the years. Think of our barbells: the first versions are hardly recognisable from our current range. The basic principle remains the same, but through repeated testing, re-designing and keeping the athletes needs in mind, material changes, the end products are much improved. And we won't ever stop there. Our goal as a company mirrors the mindset of all dedicated lifters, which is to get better every day.
Strength Shop is not just motivated by the needs of the individual, but also the groups and camaraderie that come with training. We want to grow the field of strength sports and help you grow as a lifter.
In the words of Strength Shop Europe founder, Joni Purmonen:
I never want to forget where we came from. We were all motivated by a passion for sports and lifting, and a love for the spirit of the game. We love to see the drive that people have to push themselves and to improve. To push through the uncomfortable barriers, reach new limits and enjoy that special moment, only to realise that there is a new goal on the horizon, and on we go. It takes a special kind of person to be in this frame of mind - in some ways we’re all a little damaged once we get bitten by the strength bug - I always remind myself about our humble beginnings, after all, this is where we get our energy from.