Sara Blakely, born February 21, 1971, in Clearwater, Florida, U.S., is an American inventor and entrepreneur who created Spanx, a brand of comfortable women’s undergarments, and in 2012 became the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire.
Blakely was born on February 27, 1971, in Clearwater, Florida. She is the daughter of Ellen, an artist and a lawyer, John Blakely. She attended Clearwater High School and finished Florida State University with a media degree, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Women’s Union.
Although she first intended on becoming a lawyer, she changed her mind after getting very low results on the Law school admission test; instead, she took a job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she worked for three months.
After a short time at Disney, Blakely got a job with the office supply company Danka, where she sold home fax machines. She was pretty successful in sales and was elevated to national sales coach at the age of 25. Required to wear trousers in a hot Floridian climate for his sales role, Blakely disliked the appearance and the comfort level of normal trousers.
At the age of 27, Blakely moved to Atlanta, Georgia and while still working in Danka, spent the next two years and saved $ 5,000 to research and develop her body-fitting female garments idea.
Blakely then went to North Carolina, the location of most US clothes factories, to present her ideas. She was rejected by every representative; they have been used to deal with established companies, and did not see the value of her ideas. Two weeks after returning home from a trip to North Carolina, Blakely received a call from a male factory operator in Asheboro, North Carolina, who volunteered to support Blakely’s concept.
The creation of the original product prototype was completed throughout the year.
Blakely then consulted with a patent lawyer to complete her application before filing it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After applying online, she then made packaging for her products.
She managed to arrange a meeting with a representative of the Neiman Marcus Group, where she changed into a product in the women’s washroom in the presence of the buyer Neiman Marcus to demonstrate the benefits of her innovation. Blakely’s products were sold at seven Neiman Marcus stores as a result of the meeting; Bloomingdales, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman soon followed. Around this time, Blakely sent a basket of products to Oprah Winfrey’s TV show, with a gift card explaining what she was trying to develop.
Blakely initially handled all business issues, including marketing, logistics, and product positioning, choosing Spanx’s location next to shoes in retail stores, rather than in department stores.
In November 2000, Winfrey called Spanx her “Favorite”, leading to a significant increase in popularity and sales, as well as the resignation of Blakely from Danka. Spanx achieved US $4 million in sales in the first year and US $10 million in sales in the second year. I
In October 2013, Blakely revealed that her ambition was to design the world’s most comfortable high heels before retiring. As of 2014, she was listed by Forbes as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world.
In 2005, Blakely achieved second place as a participant of The Rebel Billionaire, a reality television series that introduced her to Richard Branson, who later helped Blakely in her endeavours as both an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
She was a guest investor on numerous episodes in seasons 9 and 10 of Shark Tank.
In 2006, Blakely started the Sara Blakely Foundation to assist women through education and entrepreneurial training/ Richard Branson behaved as a mentor to Blakely and, at the end of The Rebel Billionaire, surprised Blakely with a US$750,000 check to start the Foundation.
“Everybody has a multimillion-dollar idea inside them,” says Blakely. “Edison said, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.’ The same holds true for innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.”
In 2008, Blakely wedded Jesse Itzler, the co-founder of Marquis Jet, at the Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, Florida, U.S. The two met at a Net Jet Poker Tournament, and they dated for a year prior to engagement.