Yes, I know it is no longer Wednesday. Things have been really busy the last few days, so I am a day late, but that doesn’t make this weeks lovely lady any less inspiring.
Sara Blakely at age 41 has done something no one else has. She is the youngest female self-made billionaire- yes I said billion. And how did she do it? She got annoyed with with pantyhose- who hasn’t? Well Sara did something about it.
After graduating college from Florida State University (where she was a Tri Delta!!!) and scoring poorly on the LSAT’s she got a job selling fax machines door to door. She quickly became accustomed to the word no and doors slamming in her face. That just fuelled her to become not only a successful saleswoman but a fighter. What she couldn’t stand was the seemed-toe pantyhose she was forced to wear. She tried to make adjustments by cutting the foot off of her stockings, but that just made them roll up. She designed something to solve her own problem- Spanx. You know, the savior to cellulite and muffin tops. While she continued to work a full time job, she began pitching her product to hosiery manufacturers. In time, someone took a chance on Sara and her footless pantyhose.
But the fight wasn’t over. She designed her own packaging on a friends computer. She bought a book from Barnes and Nobel and saved herself legal fees by trademarking and incorporating herself. Sarah put her whole self (literally) into her product. She took pictures of her own butt in a pair of cream dress pants to show the difference between underwear and Spanx and used those pictures on all of the initial marketing materials. She sold to Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus out of her apartment. She pitched stories to the media and sent her product to media moguls and magazines. Then Oprah’s people called and said to get her website ready for lots of orders. What website? Sara then became her own IT department.
She invested $5000 into her company and now 12 years later she is 100% owner of a billion dollar company. She has no debt.
What inspires me about Sara is her tenacity, passion and drive. Sara proves the American dream is real and not just for the already affluent. With hard work anything is possible. Today she still tests every product. She is a part of every item she puts out. She is constantly adding new products and expanding her hugely successful business. She has never let failure define her. If anything failure has only fuelled her fire. Who knows what you can do if you never give up?