timeline

born 1971

If Sara Blakely had given up on SPANX when she heard her first, "No," she never would have hit all the first "Yes!"-es ever since—products in upscale department stores, a "Yes!" from Oprah, youngest female self-made billionaire, sales in more than 50 countries and a chain of standalone stores, a foundation, the first woman to sign the Giving Pledge—ensuring many more female entrepreneurs hear "Yes!" instead of "No."

She knew—better than the male-dominated hosiery industry—there was a need and how to meet it. In the nearly 2 decades since she first cut the feet off a pair of pantyhose, she's defined and redefined shapewear, with no signs of stopping. But she's helping other women all along the way.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sara Blakely (16)

"I never dreamed visible panty lines and uncomfortable thongs would inspire me to become an inventor."

SPANX | ca. 2010

"You have to develop a sense of humor if you’re in a beach town with no boobs."

The New Yorker | march 2011

"Ideas are the most vulnerable in the moment that you first have them."

Inc. Women’s Summit | december 2011

"You think when you get the big order, ‘That’s the moment.’ That’s just the moment you gotta work extra hard."

Inc. Women’s Summit | december 2011

"The thought of my mortality—I think about it a lot. I find it motivating. It can be any time that your number’s up."

Forbes | march 2012

"Money is fun to make, fun to spend and fun to give away."

Forbes | march 2012

"People have million-dollar and billion-dollar ideas daily. And you have to trust your gut—go for it."

SPANX entrepreneur shares advice | march 2012

"Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know will become your greatest asset."

Spanx Creator’s Tips for Future Billionaires | march 2012

"My father used to encourage me and my brother to fail...It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail."

Women in the World Summit | april 2013

"I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America. I wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I wasn’t born in the right place at the right time."

Forbes | may 2013

"I am committed to the belief that we would all be in a much better place if half the human race (women) were empowered to prosper, invent, be educated, start their own businesses, run for office–essentially be given the chance to soar!"

The Giving Pledge | may 2013

"Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts."

The Giving Pledge | may 2013

"While many of the world’s natural resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed—women."

The Giving Pledge | may 2013

"If the universe gave me the idea, I would take it and run with it and create it on my own and sell it, because I knew I could sell fax machines. I didn't really like fax machines or, half the time, understand them. But if I could come up with that idea that I was excited about, then I would not waste it."

Sara Blakely, Spanx and the American Dream | august 2013

"I was actually eager to hire my weaknesses."

Billionaire Sara Blakely says secret to success is failure | october 2013

"One of the biggest reasons people don’t try things is the fear of failure."

Sara Blakely talks Spanx | april 2014
  • Quotabelle profile
  • Sara Blakely

curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {august 2014}