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When Life Gives You Lemons… Create SPANX! The Outstanding Story Of Sara Blakely

Image shows a selfie of Sara Blakely (SPANX creator) with a coffee mug that says, "If you never try you'll never know."

People didn’t just give Sara Blakely lemons; they threw them at her like they were tossing rotten tomatoes at a bad stage show. So she picked them up and commenced to make some lemonade! While working in a sales job, Sara wanted the comfort and fit of pantyhose without the feet. She improvised by cutting the feet off a pair of hose, and the idea was born. SPANX came about due to her frustration of not finding the clothing she wanted. That was in 1998. Now, 26 years later, Sara Blakely is the success story our daughters dream of living.

Getting the project off the ground took two years of research and work. Sara couldn’t afford a business attorney, so she filed for her patent and jumped through all the legal hoops to get her business going independently. Initially, Sara ran the business out of her Atlanta apartment on a shoestring budget while working full-time. Her initial investment was her life savings of $5,000. With a dream, a product, and sheer determination, Sara introduced SPANX to the world in 2000.

Image shows a quote from Sara Blakely: "I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most."
Screen capture from Forbes.

Finding a manufacturer for her product was a huge hurdle. After receiving rejections from almost every manufacturer in the textile industry, she found a home for her unique innovation. Sara did not have a sales force or professional models. She traveled the country, modeling and introducing her product to buyers and major players in the fashion world. Her first major client was Neiman Marcus. The product was highlighted during an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000, and the rest (here comes that cliche) is history.

Sara Blakely Is The Youngest, Self-Made Female Billionaire

The young woman impressed Sir Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur, who contributed the $750,000 donation she used to found the Sara Blakely Foundation in 2006. The money was a gift after Sara appeared on Rebel Billionaire, hosted by Branson. Although she came in second, her business model impressed him. The Sara Blakely Foundation provides scholarships and grants to assist female entrepreneurs. In 2007, Sara donated $1,000,000 to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation in South Africa.

Forbes named Sara the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2012. She is listed on Forbes as having a net worth of $1.3 billion. She was on the cover of Forbes Magazine, and Sara Blakely continued giving back. In 2013, Sara committed to giving more than half her wealth to charitable causes.

SPANX continues to grow under Sara’s leadership. They have added new product lines, including a men’s line in 2010. The bras, shapewear undergarments, and clothing have become a staple in many closets worldwide. This success story is ongoing. At 53, Sara has four children. You can follow her on Instagram to stay up-to-date on her family and current projects. She shares triumphs and failures on Instagram, which only serves to help us love her.

Image shows Sara Blakely (SPANX creator) with a coffee mug that says, "You can't knock a girl off a pedestal she built herself."
Image from Instagram.

If you enjoyed reading about this self-made success story, please share. You, too, can achieve your dreams.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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