If you’re a girl then you’ve heard of SPANX. And you’re maybe even a little ashamed to admit it that you’ve used them once or twice. Don’t worry, there’s no shame in that! Believe me, those things are miracle workers! They tuck in your tummy real nice so you can fit into that gorgeous skin tight dress. And your love muffins? What love muffins! It’s safe to say that SPANX are probably the best invention ever made for women! And the best part? It was invented by a woman! #GirlPower
Sara Blakely, A.K.A. Girl Boss, founded SPANX. Today, SPANX is the most popular brand when it comes to hosiery. But how did the idea come about? How did one woman come up with these genius idea that will forever revolutionize the world of fashion? Well, we did some research, and here’s how it all started!
The Lady Behind The Idea
Sara Blakely was born on February 27th 1971 in Florida. She had initially planned on becoming a lawyer like her father. However, her plans changed when she placed very low on the Law School Admission Test. Eventually, she found a job as a sales person at an office supply company, Danka. Because she was so successful in sales, she got a promotion as a national sales trainer. At 25, she was already on the rise of success.
The creation of SPANX
If you’ve ever been to Florida you know how hot and humid it is! Therefore, wearing pantyhose can be challenging for women. Forced to wear pantyhose for work, Sara was desperately trying to find a better way to wear them. Although she did love that they gave her body a firmer look and eliminated panty lines, she didn’t like the fact that you could see the seemed lines when she was wearing open toe shoes. Ah the struggles of women’s fashion!
During an event that she was attending, she decided to cut out the bottom feet part of the pantyhose and wearing them under her pants. She did love the way that they gave her body a nice shape, but unfortunately they kept rolling up her legs which was extremely uncomfortable.
At 27, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. She spent $5,000 from her savings and two years developing new ways to come up with what would soon be SPANX. Once she had her product finalized, she drove to North Carolina where most of the hosiery mills are located. Unfortunately, she was turned down by every representative. No one saw the value of her product. It would appear that the hosiery industry was solely overseen by men who did not use the product, so did not see the issues that Blakely was refering to.
Two weeks after her trip, she got a call from a male mill operator. After strong encouragement from his three daughters, he decided to support Blakely’s idea. The creation of the initial product prototype was completed within one year.
SPANX is born
Once the prototype was finalized, Blakely had it patented. She registered the name and SPANX was born. After having the product packaged, she got a meeting with a representative of Neiman Marcus. To prove her point, she changed into her product in the ladies room. The result? SPANX was sold in seven Neiman Marcus stores. Not long after Bloomingdales, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman followed. Feeling like the odds were in her favor, Blakely sent a basket of products to Oprah Winfrey. Looks like she was on the right track because Oprah named SPANX her “Favorite Thing”. This made SPANX quite popular and sales rose up to $4 million! By the second year, sales were at $10 million!
In 2001, Blakely signed a contract with QVC. Within the first 6 minutes of airing, she had already sold 8,000 pairs! She’s definitely made it big! In fact, since 2014, she’s been on the Forbes list as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world.
Today, her net worth is estimated at $1 Billion. Not bad for a girl who just wanted to find a better alternative to pantyhose! Sara goes to show that if you work hard enough and that you don’t let anything stand in your way, you can do anything. She has completely revolutionized the fashion industry and broke into an industry that was long ruled by men. But, with hard work and motivation, she is today the first female self-made billionaire! Can we say #GirlBoss Goals?