5 things to know about Spanx creator Sara Blakely

Many people know Sara Blakely as the creator of Spanx, the US underwear maker that produces body-slimming undergarments for women and men. But, here are 5 things you may not know about the Spanx founder, who became the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2012.

Blakely tested her invention herself

After moving to Atlanta at age 27 and using her $5,000 life savings to develop a pantyhose prototype, mostly on her own, Blakely personally tested her products to ensure they were fit-for-purpose and comfortable.

Reportedly, Blakely’s first prototype was a pair of pantyhose with the feet removed, and after wearing them under a pair of slacks to a function, they continually rolled up her leg.

Patented her own product

When attempting to patent her product, Blakely searched for a female patent lawyer in Georgia, but found that there wasn’t one.

So, after speaking to other patent lawyers and finding that the process could cost up to $5,000, Blakely bought a book about patents from Barnes & Noble and wrote her own patent instead.

Previous job roles include Walt Disney World Resort and a fax machine salesperson

Blakely graduated from Florida State University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, before working for Walt Disney World Resort for a few months and doing a short stint as a stand-up comedian.

Her next job was a salesperson for office supplies, including fax machines and photocopiers, where Blakley performed well enough to be promoted to national sales trainer.

Blakely tried (and failed) to become an attorney

After university, where Blakeley was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, an international women’s fraternity, the Spanx creator had plans to become an attorney.

However, Blakely scored poorly on the Law School Admission Test and was not accepted for entry to law school. Considering the success Blakely has gone on to have, however, you could say that it was for the best in the long-run.

Part owner of the Atalanta Hawks

Outside of Spanx, Blakely has founded the Sara Blakely Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that helps women through entrepreneurial training and education.

Interestingly, Blakely is also part owner of the Atalanta Hawks, a professional basketball team that Blakely and her husband, Jesse Itzler, bought a stake in back in 2015.