Sara Blakely
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Sara Blakely
Entrepreneur of the Year
Key Topics:
  • Entrepreneur
  • Business
  • Bio Info:

    Sara Blakely literally embodies the can-do spirit that lies within the heart of just about all of us. A few years ago, when frustrated in her search to find a pair of pantyhose that would offer some slimming features, she took $5,000 from her savings and started her own company to produce exactly that kind of product. With that product, called SPANX, Sara Blakely quickly became a hero to women all over the world while, at the same time, helping to revive an industry that had been in a slump for more than a decade. Sara now divides her time between her business ventures and public speaking engagements in which she inspires and motivates women to take on the world through involvements with business, community, and politics. In her keynote speeches, she talks about her Sara Blakely Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting and empowering women around the globe. By both her words and actions, she has become widely recognized as a powerful force in both the celebrity world and the world of business and finance.

    Sara Blakely wanted footless bodyshaping pantyhose to wear with her cream-colored pants and open-toed shoes, but she couldn’t find them anywhere. Frustrated consumer turned entrepreneur, Sara took $5,000 in savings and began her adventure in the $2 billion male-dominated hosiery industry.

    Two years later, with her first pair of patented footless pantyhose in hand, Sara cold-called and landed the top retail stores across the country. Selling over 50,000 pair in its first three months from the back of her apartment, Sara Blakely’s SPANX revitalized an industry in a 10-year slump. Her SPANX footless pantyhose even captured the attention of Oprah and landed on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list.

    Obsessed with creating comfortable, slimming garments that minimizes figure flaws, Sara reinvented shapewear with innovative designs and smart features and won the hearts of fashion-loving women, from Oprah Winfrey to Gwyneth Paltrow. Spanx has developed and launched more than 60 styles – with names like Bra-llelujah, Two Timin’ Tights, Power Panties, Slim-Cognito, and Topless Socks – all designed to be innovative, comfortable, slimming, and stylish.

    If you haven’t seen Sara flashing her SPANX on QVC, you may have seen her jumping off of a cliff or sharing tea with Richard Branson 10,000 feet in the sky. Sara appeared weekly on Fox, setting daring world-records, meeting Nelson Mandela, and leading successful business challenges as a cast member on The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best. As the first runner-up on the show, Sara received a $750,000 check from Branson to pursue her dream to start a foundation to empower women.

    Remaining self-funded and profitable ever since Sara used her own savings to start the company, Spanx continues to show increasing profits, celebrating $85 million in retail sales in 2005. Spanx are sold in America’s finest upscale stores and boutiques in the U.S., including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Parisian, as well as upscale boutiques and retailers in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

    As the leader of the shapewear revolution, Sara wanted to find a way to share her slimming secrets with even more women, and that’s when Target came knocking. With the launch of ASSETS by Sara Blakely, a new brand exclusive to Target, the shapewear revolution will reach new heights. Sara is thrilled to give better underwear options to women everywhere and to give back. A portion of each ASSETS purchase will go to The Sara Blakely Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting and empowering women around the world.

    Sara’s story and Spanx products have been featured on everything from The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Forbes, E!, and Glamour to Vogue, People, InStyle, New York Times, Vanity Fair, WWD and USA Today. Sara has been named Ernst & Young’s Southeast Regional Entrepreneur of the Year and Georgia’s “Woman of the Year.” Sara is a native of Clearwater, Florida, and a graduate of Florida State University.



    Sara Blakely YouTube Video

     


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