When Segun Akinwoleola, 31, announced on social media last month that he had successfully launched a healthy meal prep brand – called The Gym Kitchen, comprising four meals – in 120 ASDA stores across the country, his social media went crazy.
To date, he has received 3000 likes on Facebook, 9200 likes on Twitter, and over 1000 likes on Instagram, plus lots of messages. He said: “It’s been so crazy, I think people seeing a young Black man, who looks like them, launch a brand into a supermarket has resonated. I thought I was just launching healthy meals, but it turns out I was inspiring a nation of people.”
He even received a standing ovation from fellow church members at The ARC in Forest Gate, east London, when he shared details of his journey to get his food brand to market.
Segun, the eldest of three boys of Nigerian heritage, got the idea for The Gym Kitchen brand in 2017, and for the past 18months he has been focused on developing the food range with a state-of-the-art manufacturer.
His faith in God kept him going when things got difficult. He recalled: “There were times I had to question why I was still trying hard, working on this, but because it was ordained by Him, He opened the doors to get the biggest manufacturer on board, so I had to keep on going. The whole of last year I’ve been listening to Never Lost a Battle (Elevation Worship) before every meeting, and meditating on Ecclesiastes 3.”
As far as Segun is concerned, this debut range is just the start. “I want to continue to build The Gym Kitchen into what I believe it can be. I aim to develop new and exciting brands that play on the new trends, such as vegan, and to help young people get into some of the big companies before going off to run their own.”
Visit www.thegymkitchen.com for more details.