Mogul Crush: Sara Blakely, Spanx Founder
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
Our latest Mogul Crush, Sara Blakely inspires us to believe in our aspirations despite any obstacles. Her successes as an entrepreneur and business women can serve as motivation for women who strive to turn their dreams into realities. She founded the company SPANX in 1998, and over the past two decades it has become a multi-billion dollar industry that now supports women globally.
Blakely began her journey to success in 1998 as a 27 year-old selling fax machines door to door. While this was not her ideal career path the business attire she wore to work sparked the idea for SPANX.
She loved the slimming effect of pantyhose under her dress pants but disliked the look while wearing open toed shoes. Her temporary fix to this problem was to cut the feet out of her pantyhose and she quickly realized she wanted to offer a better solution for all women.
Blakely knew she did not have the background or funds to turn her idea into a business but she did not let her circumstances hinder her success. With only $5,000 in savings Blakely developed her idea out of her Atlanta apartment and taught herself how to write a patent. She then worked endlessly to find a company that could help build her brand but she was repeatedly told her idea would not succeed.
Blakely refused to lose hope of her passion and after much rejection, a manufacturer agreed to create a prototype. A year and a half later SPANX was formed.
Through much persistence, Blakely was able to distribute SPANX to major retailers including Saks and Neiman Marcus. She continued to take risks to make her business reach its highest potential. She was so confident in how much SPANX could benefit women that she even sent her products as gifts to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah, saw the value of her products and mentioned SPANX as part of “Oprah’s Favorite Things”. Shortly after, Blakely’s humble business began to propel.
After nearly 20 years, Blakely remains the sole owner of SPANX and has been named the youngest self-made female billionaire worldwide. Her success story serves as encouragement to not let the fear of rejection prevent anyone from reaching their goals.
Blakely continues to use her success to empower women globally. Her goal is to pave the way for women who hope to follow in her footsteps. She created the Sara Blakely Foundation where millions of dollars have been raised to help fund the education of women and female entrepreneurs. Her fearless pursuit and determination to help others makes makes us proud to call Sara Blakely our Mogul Crush.