As they all say, America is the land of opportunity – businesses can be built from the ground up with just the right amount of luck and effort. Anybody has a shot in reaching their dreams of fame and fortune with the right set of skills and entrepreneurial mindset; Sara Blakely, the founder of popular shapewear company Spanx, is a perfect example of a businesswoman who simply has a knack for the art of business. Born on February 21, 1971, the Florida-born entrepreneur started off her empire in the year 2000 with $5,000 of her total savings earned from her stint as a door-to-door saleswoman for fax machines. And fast forward twelve years into the future, Spanx has averaged annual sales of $250 million with an estimated 20% profit margin to match. And in the year 2012, the value of the shapewear company has hit the $1 billion mark – making Sara Blakely the youngest self-made billionaire to join the Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list at the age of 41.
Although Spanx experienced a decline in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the company’s estimated value dropping to $540 million in the summer of 2020. However, a recent deal struck with Blackstone in 2021 which entitled the private equity firm to a majority stake in Spanx has revitalized the value of Spanx to a whopping $1.2 billion. And for the second time in Sara’s lifetime – her billionaire status has once again been restored.
The financial success of Spanx was not just a stroke of luck – a careful attention to the current needs of the industry at the time was a crucial factor in launching the company to unimaginable heights. From reaching out to Oprah Winfrey by sending a batch of product samples with a letter explaining how the business came to be to Sara Blakely’s natural skill in the art of sales talk, Spanx stands out from the competition and continues to be a major player in the shapewear industry. In addition to her successful business, other ventures which have added up to her current billionaire net worth include a partial ownership in the basketball team Atlanta Hawks and real estate in locations such as Manhattan.
By Neil Gregorio
Neil Gregorio is a graduating university student who writes as a hobby; when he is away from the keyboard, he spends his time watching Japanese animated shows and jamming out to his favorite rock music.