Monica Sotkasiira, CEO at Gymleco, talks about why Gymleco exists, her own journey with Gymleco and what they are working towards and why.
Gymleco is today Northern Europe’s largest manufacturer of gym equipment. They started with two gym machines and now have over 500 different products. From home built machines in Sweden to having gym equipment all over the world.
How the journey started
Exercise and health have always been in my life. Almost to such an extent that if I were to remove it completely from my upbringing, I don’t know what my life would look like today. Probably, I would have been a completely different person and worked with completely different things in a completely different industry.
I was born into a family with a father who already had a background in exercise and nutrition at a young age and a mother who was also interested in exercise. I was basically born and raised in the gym. Got to join in on training sessions in the babysitter and drink protein shakes from a baby bottle.
When I was 4 years old, my father started the family business Gymleco and a few years after that, my father together with my mother started a gym fully equipped with Gymleco. It would act as a showroom and boost sales of the gym machines. Many of my childhood memories are from Gymleco but also from the gym. I was always allowed to tag along. There wasn’t much to choose from. The job had to be done as a self-employed person and then the life puzzle had to be adapted to that. When I was at my youngest and could not be alone at home, they had to bring me with them early mornings when the gym needed to be cleaned, on late work evenings and on installations at gym customers.
Regardless of how it sounds, I loved it.
What I loved most was going along to various fitness fairs. Other kids would probably have cried because of all the walking but I couldn’t get enough of walking around looking and trying out all the exercise equipment, and being part of the amazing bubble that is the fitness world!
The joy of the gym industry
This bubble that I mention can probably be difficult to understand if you have not experienced it yourself. It is a very positive and happy industry filled with a lot of lovely people. From us as equipment suppliers, to gym owners, to athletes and much more.
It’s something I often come back to and think about: how positive and good the industry is, but also how positive and good our products at Gymleco actually are. That every day I get to work with something that is so fun and that actually does something good. Because that’s what exercise and movement do. Makes us feel good.
Now after these years with Covid, increased cases of depression and more sitting, it has become even clearer how important exercise is. Exercise is not only aesthetic but makes you feel better inside and not only that. It has been shown time and time again that good basic physics can help one in counteracting serious diseases. So the benefits of exercise are many.
Proud of the product
Back to how amazingly good our products at Gymleco are. When I was little and surrounded by all the gym machines, I didn’t understand what I do today.
Do not misunderstand me. I loved Gymleco already when I was little. Only now recently, during my personal move, I found the “book about myself”. There I could read how I, aged 12, wrote that I wanted so badly to work with Gymleco when I grew up.
However, what I have learned with age is that at Gymleco we actually work with products that have correct movement paths and such good quality that they last year after year. It’s not something I had a clue about then and there.
Today I feel incredible pride in working with Gymleco. These are products that I can present without blinking an eye to any gym owner in the world.
I know that our gym machines produce results and that having training equipment in their gym that actually works and also looks good gives gym owners the help to succeed in their business.
I visit time and time again gyms that have had their Gymleco machines for over 25 years and these are still used during hard training. This makes me incredibly happy and gives us at Gymleco proof that we are part of a larger sustainability approach.
We shouldn’t sell products that are thrown away after a few years because they don’t work as they should. At the same time, we should not manufacture gym machines that are unnecessarily large and therefore need more material than necessary.
Also, with today’s high costs for operating and facility, it has become more and more popular to think about the size of the exercise equipment. No gym space should go to waste!
By designing and producing our gym equipment ourselves with a large production in Sweden, we can maintain control throughout the entire production chain. From the smallest screw to the finished product. This means that we can manufacture our gym machines according to our quality and environmental requirements.
I am so grateful that since the beginning and even today we can work independently with our own production. This allows us to maintain our core values in sustainability. Even if we were to become much bigger in the future this is something that is important for me to maintain.
Less is more
I’m sure we’ve all seen someone walk up to a gym machine and then wonder how to set all the levers to make the gym machine work correctly for me.
Something we are careful about at Gymleco is avoiding too many settings. It should be easy to use our gym equipment.
I know from experience that many of our customers appreciate the simplicity. The gym saves costs on staff that they would need to instruct and the members are more than satisfied, as they can actually set up and do the training exercise without having to ask.
For all users
All people are equal yet different. Some are short and some are long. Some are larger in size while some are smaller, but the majority of all gear should work for everyone, right?
It is easy to think so, but the reality is quite different. As a short person, I know from personal experience that the market today is full of gym machines that work on a narrow target group. That’s why at Gymleco we make sure that our machines are user-friendly and work for everyone. Even regardless of how strong you are. You should be able to start working out with our gym machines even when it’s your first time at the gym. As much as when you are an athlete training for a competition.
We want our customers to always feel that they have made a good and long-term profitable investment. Our customers are most important for us and therefore we always make sure to start from their needs.
That is what, in the end, is our basic idea and vision with the whole business. To deliver affordable equipment of the right quality and function so that we can contribute to a more sustainable and healthier future. I hope that as many people as possible want to realize that vision together with us. Whether you are a Gymleco employee, gym owner, athlete or a Gymleco fan.