Meet Spanx Founder Sara Blakely & Get Inspired
While looking for a silver lining in all of this, I have to say that shaving off countless hours from my weekly schedule for kids activities and sports has allowed me to spend more time working on my business Vintage Magnality and house projects, so I'm thankful for having this time right now. As Sara Blakely, the founder and owner of Spanx says, you will find blessings and growth from challenging situations, and not only do I think that's true but really gets to the meaning of this journey called life.
If you're looking to rotate something into your quarantine time (instead of quarantinis), that is both educational and fun, I highly suggest you check out MasterClass. This is the ultimate e-learning, distance learning or online education tool available to adults (I would say that depending on your kid, age and interests, that there is plenty of content they would enjoy and also learn from). Taught first hand by masters of their profession you get a one-on-one sit down with an icon, star, author, artist, professional athlete or executive. Sign up for the All Access Pass! They're currently offering "buy one share one (so 2 passes for $180)", for a limited time and then download the app to access anywhere at anytime. If you're trying to implement social distancing from your spouse and children during quarantining, pop in your ear buds and start a MasterClass.
We've all heard of Spanx and a lot of us probably own at least one item from this innovative company founded and owned by self-made billionaire Sara Blakely. Her launch product was footless pantyhose born from the need and want to wear white pants to a party without showing panty lines.
Spanx now offers a diverse line-up of products including my favorite Faux Leather Leggings (see picture above), Velvet Leggings (love!), Denim, the Perfect Black Pant in various styles (which I've been eyeing), bras, panties, hosiery, and active. I highly recommend any of the leggings for your stay at home, work from home wardrobe. Much to my surprise, they also offer men's underwear, undershirts and socks. If you asked me last week who started Spanx I wouldn't have been able to give you a name.
Perusing the MasterClass app, I came across Sara Blakely's class in the Business, Politics & Society category. I selected Sara's class and watched 3.5 hours worth of lessons in one sitting. This was my third MasterClass and I can tell you that following Diane von Furstenberg's (Teaches Building a Fashion Brand) and Anna Wintour's (Teaches Creativity and Leadership) classes, it was going to take a lot to impress me.
I was hooked immediately and completely blown away by Sara herself, her content and delivery. Sara Blakely is a vivacious, articulate, brilliant, full of grit, humor loving, inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, wife and mother. Her authenticity, vulnerability, humor and candidness is so appreciated and needed in this world full of blow hard Steve Job wannabes (think Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos founder who is awaiting her trial for fraud). Her unconventional approach to disrupting an industry run by men is an inspiring story for everyone who wears a bra.
She's true to herself by embracing her bold personality and love of humor both of which are reflected in her brand and company culture. A fan of red lipstick (one of my favorites NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Don't Stop) and bright colored tops, she chose the color red for her brand and packaging when the industry norm was beige and black. Sara also created cartoon type characters to grace the covers of her packaging, which was completely unheard of at that time. Even the name Spanx was considered to be risque when she launched. There were stores that refused to carry Spanx due to the then scandalous nature of the name, but she stuck to her guns and forged ahead.
Women undergarments were very bottom shelf, hush, hush, no one talked about them and they certainly weren't fun. She actually created a cult following by embracing the female spirit and bringing our world of undergarments to the public forum in a fun and playful way. Being authentic to herself and trusting her gut, Sara was taking risks and doing things her way. As a result, she was able to differentiate herself and her product, catching the attention and hearts of all of us women.
Tapping into the female spirit proved to be a smart business move but was initiated by her inner purpose of wanting to make a product that would help as many women as possible. Her feminine part of self was her biggest strength and asset both in terms of her motivation for success and also guiding her to listen to herself and following her gut and instinct all along her journey. She did things her way and I think you could say it worked for her.
Personally, I love that she started this company with $5,000 and built it from scratch from the ground up and never along the way sold out to private equity to get a big payout or pursuing overly aggressive growth for the sake of, at the expense of diluting her ownership and control. Instead she did it herself in a methodical fashion and retains 100% of her company.
Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship with MasterClass through 14 lessons, totaling about 3.5 hours. She conveys so much wisdom within this window and touches on business, inventing and manufacturing concepts and insights but also on the things that hold a lot of people back in the very beginning stages, even pre-idea. I cherished topics like "Finding Your Purpose", "Developing Your Big Idea", and "The Entrepreneurial Mindset".
Much like there's so much more to Sara Blakely's Masterclass, there is so much more to Sara than Spanx. In 2006, Sara founded the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation which, according to their website, has donated millions to charities that empower underserved women and girls worldwide, including, but not limited to, Grameen America (Dedicated to helping entrepreneurial women who live in poverty build businesses to enable financial mobility), Kode With Klossy (Provides free summer camps for girls 13-18 to learn coding and increase interest in STEAM), and Center for Civic Innovation. Additionally, in 2013 Sara signed The Giving Pledge, founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, which is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.
Being driven by her purpose of helping and supporting women, Sara has in my opinion seized the American Dream by building a successful business and using her platform of Spanx to give back in a big way to the women community worldwide. Her story shows the beauty of American capitalism and what's possible for a driven individual in this country. She's sitting at the table of influence shaping people's lives for the better and shows us why we need to be supporting women in their paths to higher education, entrepreneurism, heads of state, executive career paths and corporate boards.
Click here to read about my company Vintage Magnality and how we're helping women worldwide by supporting Girls Not Brides Members.
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