Spanx inventor lands a spot on Forbes’ List
Mimi ON Mar 12, 2012 AT 1:02 pm
Sara Blakely, the inventor and owner of Spanx, is the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.
Blakely, who started her line of slimming undergarments in 2000 with a savings of just $5,000, is now valued at $1 billion. Blakely made her money on her own, with no inheritance and no help from her husband Jesse.
Blakely’s success story began when she couldn’t figure out what to wear under a pair of white pants, a visible knicker line problem many women face on a daily basis. Blakely decided to cut the feet off of a pair of control-top pantyhose, and the rest is history.
Despite Spanx never having been formally advertised, the brand has succeeded due to the light-hearted brand name and a cult celebrity following.
Blakely credits her dad, who encouraged her to fail (!?!) for giving her an exceptional work mentality.
“[At the dinner table], he would say, ‘What did you fail at this week?’ and if we didn’t have something to tell him, he would say, ‘That’s too bad,’” Blakely told CBS This Morning.
Blakely said this morphed her definition of failure from being less about the outcome and more about a lack of effort; that without risk, there’s no gain.
Blakely cites her artist mother, Oprah Winfrey, and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer as other inspirations.
Spanx has recently expanded to include undershirts for men, activewear and swimwear, and Blakely has plans to make it a lifestyle brand, crossing over all categories.
She believes comfort is key, so it’s no wonder women have embraced Spanx so completely. Blakely, who is now married and has a 2-year-old son, is a symbol for women’s empowerment worldwide.
“I think my story says that when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot,” Blakely said.
The shapewear inventor said her end goal was not to be rich, but to be a financially independent woman and look good in those white pants.
“We can make the world a better place, one butt at a time,” Blakely said.