Business Tips from Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx by OPEN Forum
Spanx inventor Sara Blakely shares her secrets
Sara Blakely talks to Marie Claire about creating the undergarment that works wonders for women
‘I cut the feet out of my control-top tights and they worked better than any undergarment I could buy,’ says Sara Blakely, who was 27 when she came up with the idea for Spanx.
‘I had a pair of unworn white trousers in my wardrobe for eight months but couldn’t find anything to wear under them. I just kept thinking, there has to be something that fills this little void in fashion.’
From a young age Sara had created little businesses – from a lemonade stand on the beach to organizing children’s parties. ‘My dad made sure I learned the value of a dollar.’
After graduating from the University of Florida, Sara fell into a job selling fax machines from door-to-door until she came up with the idea for Spanx.
She kept the idea to herself, working on her designs at weekends and after work for a year. ‘I didn’t tell a single person. Not even my best friend. I‘d spend whole evenings in the library researching patterns and dreaming up names.’
Sara spent two years trying to convince hosiery manufacturers that her product was the missing link in women’s underwear. ‘I called them on the phone and they’d put me on hold, so I drove to the factories and made them listen.’
‘I had done so much cold-calling that the word ‘no’ didn’t even faze me,’ she says.
Video: Spanx CEO Sara Blakely offers advice to redefine failure
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