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Ep #1: Simon Hill-Norton

Sweaty Betty

For the first episode of Founder’s Fifteen, we have a guest who is not only a great business leader but a friend. I’ve been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time with Simon, including most recently a week around Asia. I love every minute of time I get to spend with Simon, and after listening this podcast, I think you’ll know why. He is the embodiment of a humble leader and as the co founder of Sweaty Betty with his wife and creative visionary, Tamara, he’s changed how the UK looks at not only active apparel but fitness itself. After seeing a very unique market opportunity 20 years ago, the same time Lululemon launched, they started selling active apparel. After many years, they realized they needed to launch their own brand, and Sweaty Betty as we know it today was born. From his Friday breakfasts with the boss to how they continue to evolve as a 20 year old business, I think you’ll have several genuine takeaways and be inspired to be a better leader, spouse, and parent. I know I was.

Show Notes:

  • 7:30 - How the athletic apparel world used to approach women’s: “shrink it and pink it” and the way Simon and Tamara approached market research.
  • 9:15 - Sweaty Betty had to undergo a massive pivot due to unsustainable gross margins
  • 14:00 - How Simon makes sure to drive culture and stay engaged via Induction Days and Breakfasts with the Boss
  • 18:15 - Bad jokes about tea and Britain
  • 20:00 - Simon’s true inspiration is someone he’s never told this to
  • 23:30 - The use of Memento Mori to maintain perspective
  • 27:30 - Thoughts around sacrifices and the idea of “nothing to lose”
  • 34:00 - Lessons on catalogues and getting and utilizing customer data
  • 35:00 - Thoughts on the return to community
  • 40:00 - The name “Sweaty Betty”
  • 42:00 - The future of Sweaty Betty
  • 48:00 - The love of the reality that this “stupid idea” is something people so enthusiastically embrace
  • 56:30 - Simon’s favorite book, Feral