How’d She Do It? Spanx Founder Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely’s products are likely in your home, even if you don’t know who she is. Sara is the founder and owner of Spanx! The trendy line of undergarments for women that holds everything in! The idea came to Sara when she used to be a door-to-door sales person in Florida. The weather in Florida can get extremely hot, one day that heat was too much too bear. Sara decided to cut the feet off of her pantyhose and wear the cropped hose underneath her pants to smooth out the lines. That was the start of something great.

With some modifications and major patience, Sara’s undergarments now go for $98 out of her snazzy offices in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta! Although she will be the first to admit she wasn’t the first person to come up with the idea, she acknowledges that it was her moment of vastness. After doing some research and finding no patented-products like hers, she immediately began production of her prototype.

But, how did she get there?

Sara was born February 27, 1971, in Clearwater Florida to an attorney and artist. Growing up she planned to become an attorney, following in her father’s footsteps. After failing her law school admission test, other opportunities knocked on her door.  Sara found her calling in sales. At the young age of 25, she was promoted to national sales trainer with an office supply company called Danka. Two years later in 1988, the female entrepreneur saved and invested $5,000 of her own money into her dream of Spanx.

After being turned away several times from various hosiery mills, Sara did not get discouraged. She believed in her product and continued to reach out to companies that could help.  Sara knew that women needed something to keep the lines away! It was when she was returning back home when she received a call from a male-mill operator wanting to invest in her dream.

It was her mother and friends that had tested out her initial product prototypes. The name Spanx came while Sara was sitting in traffic one day. She paid $350 to get Spanx trademarked. Fast forward to the early 2000’s, Oprah Winfrey names Spanx a favorite product on her daytime television show. Shortly after the episode aired sales of Spanx skyrocketed!

Sara’s fortune expanded…

Since then, Spanx continues to dominate the women’s hosiery industry.  In 2014, at the age of 43, Sara was named the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.  Sara is also known for being a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. She’s a mother of four with a net worth of a billion dollars!

It just goes to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Maximizing on your strengths and never focusing on your failures, you too can achieve great things. What do you think of Sara’s story? Did you know the story behind Spanx? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

-The CGS Team



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