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What Inspired Sara Blakely to Start Her Company?

With an idea of a footless pantyhose undergarment that emerged one night for a party, Sara Blakely’s future was immediately set into motion, bound to succeed. With $5,000 in her life savings, she moved to Atlanta and talked to many manufacturers to kickstart her revolutionary SPANX company. 

Dressing up for a party one night, Sara Blakely sought an undergarment that allowed a smoothed finish under her tight-fitting trousers. When she cut the feet from her control top pantyhose, out emerged the multimillion idea for SPANX.

The Origins of SPANX

Before being one of the youngest billionaires, Sara Blakely sold fax machines, traveling from house to house. During that time, the idea for SPANX surfaced. 

Born on February 21, 1971, in Clearwater, Florida, Sara Blakely finished her degree in communications at Florida State University. She had three jobs before pursuing SPANX. Before working in a local company called Danka and selling fax machines, Blakely had a part-time job at Walt Disney World after failing at the LSATs twice despite her determination to pass. When she began selling fax machines door-to-door, Blakely recalled that most people immediately declined her business card, slamming the door in her face.

As the weather in Florida is usually summery and humid, Sara Blakely sought pantyhose with no seamed toes and didn’t tend to hike up to the legs subsequent to its cutting. With that said, it was during one night when Blakely was preparing for a party. As she found no appropriate undergarment that gave her a smooth finish under her white trousers, she used her quick thinking and her pair of scissors to remove the feet from her control top pantyhose, establishing the beginning of SPANX.

In the hopes of looking better in my fitted white pants, I cut the feet out of a pair of pantyhose and substituted them for my underwear. This allowed me to benefit from the slimming effects of the pantyhose’s ‘control top’ while allowing my feet to go bare in my cute sandals. The moment I saw how good my butt looked, I was like, ‘Thank you, God, this is my opportunity!

Sara Blakely

(Source: CNBC

The SPANX Domination

Sara Blakely then proceeded to consume the $5,000 left of her life savings. She moved to Atlanta, and in hopes of dealing with them, met with numerous manufacturers. Eventually, she talked to the Highland Mills Owner, Sam Kaplan, who didn’t like her SPANX idea at first. Kaplan then asked his daughters if they were interested in buying her products, and when both daughters gave their approval, Kaplan followed suit.

In August 2000, Blakely acquired her first batch of pantyhose. After thinking of the business name and producing the logo as a one-woman team, SPANX launched. 12 years after the launch of SPANX, she became the youngest self-made billionaire and was named as one of the most influential people by Forbes Magazine. Per year, the multimillion company produces 250 million dollars in revenue. (Source: Famous Entrepreneurs

SPANX remains an international success in more than 50 countries with its continuously expanding range of selling activewear, shapewear, leggings, bras, and more. (Source: SPANX)

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