Rowing, entrepreneurship, and the journey of Crewroom

Rowing, entrepreneurship, and the journey of Crewroom

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Kate Giles, the powerhouse behind Crewroom! Founded by this former elite rower, Crewroom is all about sustainable, rower-designed kit. Kate's journey from elite rowing to entrepreneurship is one of passion and resilience...

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Kate is at the heart of Crewroom's success story, our founder is a former elite rower whose passion for the sport paved the way for her entrepreneurial journey. Back in 2001, inspired by her experiences at Thames Rowing Club and as part of a performance training programme, Kate founded Crewroom. 

Kate's introduction to rowing wasn't a conventional one. Originally a basketball player in London, the allure of the River Thames led her to discover a new passion. The rigorous training and unwavering commitment required in rowing quickly became Kate's obsession, shaping her work ethic and determination. During Kate’s time in the national team, she became ill with pneumonia having been caught out on the water during a terrible storm. She ended up in hospital after coughing so much that she fractured her ribs. She founded Crewroom to create kit that would keep athletes fit, healthy and reaching their full potential, whatever the weather.   

Kate Giles at Thames Rowing Club

This desire to improve the quality of training kit fuelled Kate's transition from an athlete to an entrepreneur. Wanting to create a space where athletes could meet after training and socialise, she created a kit shop and juice bar. It soon became a regular haunt for many top athletes and has continued to evolve and change over the years, most recently with our move to 125 Richmond Road and our exciting new plan for that space. Recognising the need for high-quality rowing apparel, Kate collaborated with JL Racing to create garments that met the standards of elite athletes. She’d regularly sit and draw up designs with the coaches and athletes who would drop into the juice bar, the start of a tradition of rigorous testing and feedback we believe into this day.  

Over the past 23 years, Crewroom evolved from a distributor to a retail brand. Kate's eye for innovation led her to partner with professionals from the London College of Fashion and lead the charge in manufacturing kit using recycled materials. Looking ahead, Kate remains passionate about rowing, increasing Crewroom's presence at regattas, and launching new rowing-specific garments designed by rowers for rowers. Despite the demands of running a business, she still makes time to row, embodying the spirit of a female founder and athlete.

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