The woman with her hand on millions of bottoms
Welcome to issue #3 of Thought Makers.
This week I wanted to share a brilliant business person with you: Sara Blakely.
Thought Maker: Sara Blakely
Image courtesy givingpledge.org
Sara Blakely is the billionaire founder of Spanx, an American underwear maker focusing on shaping briefs and leggings.
In 3 Sentences
1. Self-made Billionaire who started her business with just $5,000.
2. Incredibly committed and shrewd businesswoman.
3. Pledged to give the majority of her wealth to philanthropy.
Blakely was born on February 27, 1971 in Clearwater, Florida. She is the daughter of Ellen (née Ford), an artist and trial attorney, and John Blakely. She was raised in Clearwater, where she attended Clearwater High School. After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in communications, she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, had no experience in fashion or retail when she invented her product. The only experience she had was working as a door-to-door saleswoman selling fax machines. However, even though she had no business experience, Sara had an idea. She created the first prototype for Spanx when she was 27 years old, after noticing that her tights were visible through her open-toed shoes.
In November 2000, Oprah Winfrey named Spanx one of her "Favorite Things," which led to a significant rise in popularity and sales for the company. Blakely resigned from Danka after achieving $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in sales in its second year.
Spanx products are now available in mainstream stores such as Neiman Marcus, Target, and Saks Fifth Avenue. They can be found in major department stores throughout the world. Sara Blakely is listed as one of the world’s top billionaires by Forbes magazine. She is also on Forbes’ 'America’s Self-Made Women' list.
In 2013, she became the first woman to join the Giving Pledge initiative started by Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and others.
Top 3 Quotes
Embrace what you don't know, especially in the beginning, because what you don't know can become your greatest asset.
Everything about my journey to get Spanx off the ground entailed me having to be a salesperson--from going to the hosiery mills to get a prototype made to calling Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. I had to position myself to get five minutes in the door with buyers.
I think very early on in life we all learn what we're good at and what we're not good at, and we stay where it's safe.
I took a Fear of Flying class, and I always missed the class, because I was always flying.
Spanx Foundation: https://www.spanxfoundation.com
Spanx Inventor Sara Blakely On Hustling Her Way To A Billion-Dollar Business - https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/10/21/spanx-inventor-sara-blakely-on-hustling-her-way-to-a-billion-dollar-business/
The 100 Most Influential People in the World - https://web.archive.org/web/20120813084453/http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2112100,00.html
Spanx CEO surprises every employee with 2 first-class plane tickets and $10,000 - https://www.npr.org/2021/10/26/1049340376/spanx-ceo-sara-blakely-first-class-plane-tickets-and-10000
Spanx: Sara Blakely -
Sara Blakely Dared To Ask, "Why Not?" - https://www.inc.com/sara-blakely/the-spanx-story-how-sara-blakely-turned-footless-pantyhose-into-a-business.html
Sara Blakely: How She Built SPANX from the Ground Up
Spanx Founder Sara Blakely Shares Secrets To Building A Billion-Dollar Business
Spanx Founder Sara Blakely On How She Named Her Company
Sara Blakely on Writing Your Billion Dollar Story with Lewis Howes
You can build a billion dollar business starting with $5,000.
Solve a real-life problem.
Figure it out as you go. Don’t wait until you have a full plan in place before putting your idea into action. .
Keep going, no matter what.
Build a support system around you. Turn to family and trusted friends for a boost, or join an entrepreneurs’ group to network with like-minded people. You can also turn to inspiring content like self-help books and your favorite pump-up playlist. And as a last resort, therapy can’t hurt.
I just released the second edition of my book:
How To Be A Sh*t Leader
The book to end all leadership books!
How To Be A Sh*t Leader is a handy pocket guide to becoming the very best at being the worst.
It reveals the 51 leadership strategies captains of industry, executives, and even presidents have used to become so useless, that they turbo-charged their careers and rapidly climbed the ladder of success and wealth, despite having only a single brain cell.
In the spirit of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, and The Art of War, Sun Tzu, How To Be A Sh*t Leader provides a caricature of modern business leadership skills.
You should read this leadership book if...
- you want to rise to the top by becoming the best at being the worst.
- you want the final proof that your boss truly is a sh*t leader.
"A fun but telling critique of modern management B.S." - AJ
“Laugh Out Loud Funny!! - Terry”
“Clever, insightful and laugh out loud funny. It eerily mirrors many aspects of the Trump Administration. Whether this was intentional or simple happy chance - who knows? Andy is a terrific writer with a real flair for the comedic with an amusing and irreverent style. I'm sure we'll see lot more from him in the future.”
“A fun but telling critique of modern management B.S. - AJ”
“A no-nonsense corrective to some of the woolly-minded, over-optimistic, orthodox wisdom of business & management gurus.”
“Packed so full of truth bombs - SJ”
“I found myself laughing so hard at this 'management' book packed so full of truth bombs that I nearly fell off my chair - until I recognized so many people that strut the rarefied halls of management, and some who used these tactics to seriously damage others.”
Thought Makers Newsletter
Thought Makers is a weekly newsletter that introduces you to the most successful and exceptional people in business, tech, sports, and more. Each week we'll give you an inside look into their lives, careers, and ideas. Learn from them and get inspired to change your own world.
Who Am I?
My name is Andy, and I’m an Entrepreneur and investor with over 40 years of experience. Previously CEO, CTO, and COO of various media/tech companies, I’ve personally raised over $200 million in venture capital, have worked with some of the biggest sports and media brands on the planet, and have been twice listed in the Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite.
I have two goals:
My first goal is to live forever - so far, so good.
My second goal is to make Thought Makers an interesting blend of infotainment and valuable learning.
My writing is not pretending to have all the answers. All I can do is offer you views based on successful minds, and on my own unbiased experiences.
If you disagree with a particular view, that’s fine. You can share your own thoughts and experiences, ask questions, and interact with other like-minded individuals.
Let me state from the outset that what we are building together here is not just another newsletter. It’s a tribe, a clan, a community, a gathering of like-minded people who are passionate about success.
I hope you enjoy!
Find Me On Twitter: @AndyWoodHQ
Content found in this newsletter is provided as general information for research purposes only and is not business advice, investment advice, tax advice, financial advice, a solicitation to buy or sell any assets, or provided to make any financial or business decisions of any kind. Do your own comprehensive research before making any such decisions.
Links to sources, services, or products do not imply endorsement.
Content presented is subject to change at any time without notice, and may not be correct or complete.
We disclaim all and any guarantees, undertakings, and warranties, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever (including human or computer error, negligent or otherwise, or incidental or consequential loss or damage) arising out of or in connection with any use or reliance on the Content on this site. The user must accept sole responsibility associated with the use of the Content, irrespective of the purpose for which such use or results are applied. The Information is no substitute for professional advice.