As she opens her first ever stand-alone store, the inventor, founder and owner Spanx Sara Blakely has spoke about her company’s phenomenal success.
Spanx made almost $250 million in sales last year without spending any money on advertising, with women everywhere sharing their love for the slimming under garment through word-of-mouth. And they aren’t shy in sharing their love with Ms Blakely herself.
The 41-year-old said, ‘I get flashed at airports. I get flashed at restaurants. I get flashed on the street, I mean, it’s fantastic.’
After creating Spanx 13 years ago, Ms Blakely added that she still sometimes can’t believe their widespread popularity.
She said: ‘It’s really hard to digest. I’ll see these celebrities and they look gorgeous and they’ll say, “I love my Spanx” or “it’s because of my Spanx,” and it’s hard for me to absorb, like, that’s a product I created.
‘Our brand has made women feel better, more confident,’ she added. ‘A lot of women call it “Spanx strong,” like, “when I’ve got my Spanx on, I sort of feel like it’s my Super Woman outfit.”‘
Spanx was born out of a spontaneous epiphany. Ms Blakely cut the feet out of her control-top pantyhose for a smoother look under a pair of cream-colored pants, but when they continued to roll up her leg, she sought out manufactures who could help.
She said : ‘Every time I put the pants on you could see the thong. You could see some cellulite on the back of my thighs and I thought, “what am I supposed to wear under this?” So I cut the feet out of my pantyhose.
‘My rear looked firm. My cellulite had been smoothed out, but they rolled up my legs all night.’
So with $5,000 in savings from seven years as fax machine salesperson, she started approaching hosiery manufacturers.
She said: ‘One guy called me after I made the rounds, and said that “I have decided to make your crazy idea.” I found out he ran it by his daughters over dinner and they said, “Dad, help this girl make it. It’s a good idea.”‘
Now, in addition to foot-loose control pantyhose, and the classic shapers that compress, mold, and smoothen, Spanx also makes back fat eliminating bras made out of pantyhose, active wear like yoga pants with built-in tummy tamers, and also fashionable shaping swim suits.
There is also a men’s collection of body shaping undershirts and underwear.
After failing the LSAT entrance exam for law school, her simple idea turned her the Forbes’ world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, and now Spanx sells more than 200 products in over 13 different countries.
She said: ‘I was always trying to figure out ways to make money and to do little businesses. My first memory is drawing pictures with my friend on a rainy day and selling them door-to-door.
Now, through her charitable foundation, she has contributed over $1 million to causes that support women to achieve their greater life-long goals and fulfill their own potential.
by Debbie Dot