Gym+Coffee, a niche range of athletic staples, is the brainchild of three returning Irish expats who saw a gap in the fitness market. 

The up-and-coming brand has expanded its business into the US; announcing its arrival with a workout and - you guessed it - caffeine-fuelled meet-up in Brooklyn.

The fledgling clothing line, which was heralded as one of Ireland's top 25 startups to watch in 2018, has gone strength to strength with its streamlined offering of hoodies, t-shirts, and hats. With increasing interest from US-based customers, expanding their offering stateside was a no-brainer.

"We were already shipping to the US from Ireland but it was an extra shipping cost for customers," co-founder Diarmuid McSweeney explained.

"Anyone who has bought some Gym+Coffee gear knows that customer service and the delivery experience are vitally important to us. We wanted the US experience to be no different so we engaged in a comprehensive process to evaluate a top tier partner to help us deliver on that customer promise."

McSweeney and his co-founders Niall Horgan and Karl Swaine  signaled the brand's East Coast arrival with an one-off workout event, collaborating with POUND and Toby's Estate Coffee for an intense sweat-sesh. 

The brand came to fruition after its co-founders returned to Ireland from their respective stints in Australia and San Francisco.

McSweeney, a keen GAA player and triathlete, spent over 10 years working in marketing and communications in Ireland and Australia. Now in charge of marketing for the brand, he explains that Gym+Coffee is definitely inspired by a global attitude to health, wellness, and an enriched life in general.

"We were chatting about the growing lifestyle shift in Ireland. People just don’t want to hang out in pubs and bars as much, and are looking for active things to do at the weekends. Cafes are becoming the new places to meet and socialize. We wanted to create a brand that encouraged this lifestyle," he said.

CEO Niall Horgan, a former Cork GAA star, previously worked for companies like  Twitter in the US, before returning to Ireland where upon he was named as one of the Sunday Independent's 30 Under 30. Meanwhile, Head of Product Karl Swaine, a Crossfit trainer and one-time visual merchandiser, brings to the table his experience of the retail industry. 

Aside from the aesthetics of the gear, the message of leading a "richer life" is an integral element to the brand.

"We started with the signature athleisure item, hoodies. Even more so though, we started to create a community around an idea and a lifestyle. We have big ambitions for the brand and we believe it can morph into a number of things," McSweeney explained. 

As for the name? The moniker was born from a reference to a life that is well-rounded in its approach to activity.

"Our name is a bit weird and people ask us about it a lot," McSweeney laughed. "We wanted to tell our target audience exactly who we are and how we both align. The name is a balance equation. We feel the two most important things to make time for are: exercise and socializing So gym stands for that exercise element and coffee covers that social aspect, the plus then pulls it all together."

Strong beanie game! 😉 @nadiaforde #MakeLifeRicher #GymPlusCoffee #Beanie

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While the Irish fitness industry was typically seen as being lightyears behind wellness hubs in other continents, McSweeney believes the growing interest in fitness is a "fascinating space to watch right now."

"Ireland is changing significantly for a number of reasons. People changed their behavior during the recession to adopt more healthy and outdoor pursuits," he stated. "The influence of international people moving to Dublin and [bringing with them] international health and fitness trends, and Irish people returning home having experienced the lifestyle of countries" have also contributed to an emerging community that Gym+Coffee is speaking to. 

"Just by looking at the number of gyms, studios and fitness businesses that are popping up in every area from city to town to village across Ireland, it’s clear there is a massive hunger for this type of activity in people’s daily lives and attitudes have changed," McSweeney agreed.

As of late, the trio are working on expanding their offering to include premium leggings (Irish people are "obsessed with leggings" McSweeney noted) vests and running tops. Late last year, a partnership with a leading manufacturer who works alongside Lululemon, Adidas, and Puma on their wares emerged - so fans of the brand can expect high quality products, that are "squat proof" at the very least.

The trio are keen to expand awareness of the homegrown Irish brand in New York, collaborate with new businesses, and forge relationships with a new community of health and fitness influencers.

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