Sara Blakely is an American businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is the founder of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company with pants and leggings, founded in Atlanta, Georgia.
Born in 1971, Sara attended Clearwater High School. She graduated with a communication degree at Florida State University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Sara initially planned to become an attorney but she reconsidered after having a low score on the Law School Admission Test. Sara accepted the job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and worked there for three months. She also worked as a stand-up comedian occasionally at the same time.
After working for Disney, Sara accepted a job at Danka where she sold fax machines door-to-door. Sarah was quite successful in sales that led to her promotion as a national sales trainer at the age of 25.
At the age of 27, Sara was relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, and spent the next two years and her $5,000 savings researching and developing her hosiery idea while working with Danka.
Sara drove all the way to North Carolina to present her idea in most hosiery mills but she was turned away and did not see the value of her ideas. Sarah drove back to Atlanta and received a call from a male hosiery mill operator and supported her concept.
In 2011, Sara further explained her experience of developing the idea where it was revealed that the hosiery manufacturing industry was overseen solely by men who were not using the products they were producing.
Over the course of a year, the initial prototype of the product was completed. Sara processed the application and worked on the packaging of her product. Sara was able to purchase the ‘Spanx’ trademark on the USPTO website for US$150.
Sara presented her products to Neimans Marcus Group as a result, her products were sold in seven Neiman stores. Sara initially handled all aspects of the business, including marketing, logistics, and product positioning, preferring the location of Spanx alongside shoes in retail outlets, rather than in hosiery sections.
In 2000, Winfrey named Spanx a “Favorite Thing”, leading to a significant rise in popularity and sales, as well as Sara’s resignation from Danka. In the first year, Spanx achieved US$4 million in sales, and in its second year, it achieved US$10 million in sales.
In 2001, Sara signed a contract with QVC, the home shopping channel. In 2012, landed on the cover of Forbes magazine for being the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
In 2013. Sara explained that her ambition is to design the world’s most comfortable high-heel shoe prior to retirement and was listed as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In 2015, Sara became a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, along with billionaire Tony Ressler.
Below are some of Sara Blakely quotes that will make you believe in your abilities to create new ideas prior to innovation and success.
Best Sara Blakely Quotes
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
“Everything in our society is so purposeful.” – Sara Blakely
“We don’t have the luxury of time. We spend more because of how we live, but it’s important to be with our family and friends.” – Sara Blakely
“My revenue was $4 million my first year in business, off of one $20 item.” – Sara Blakely
“I’ve always leaned toward a feminine, funky style, even in business settings. I used to paint my nails blue in 1993, before it was mainstream.” – Sara Blakely
“Where I get my energy is: ‘How can I make it better?” – Sara Blakely
“Trust your gut.” – Sara Blakely
“I am a believer in starting small, thinking big, and scaling fast.”
“Start small, think big and scale fast.” – Sara Blakely
“The smartest thing I ever did was to hire my weakness.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Motivational Quotes
“I’ve always had that gratitude that I had the opportunity to pursue my potential. So I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot. We deliver. We can make the world a better place, one butt at a time.” – Sara Blakely
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.” – Sara Blakely
“When something I can’t control happens, I ask myself : where is the hidden gift, where is the positive in this?” – Sara Blakely
“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” – Sara Blakely
“Every time I went on stage I was so terrified I almost threw up.” – Sara Blakely
“Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ is my go-to song to pump myself up if I’m having a tough time or if I get really nervous right before a speech.” – Sara Blakely
“Don’t let what you don’t know scare you, because it can become your greatest asset. And if you do things without knowing how they have always been done, you’re guaranteed to do them differently.” – Sara Blakely
“You’ve got to embrace what you don’t know.” – Sara Blakely
“I aim to be pretty – I gave up dressing to be sexy in the eighties.” – Sara Blakely
“Don’t let what you don’t know scare you, because it can become your greatest asset.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Inspirational Quotes
“It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.” – Sara Blakely
“Embrace what you don`t know.” – Sara Blakely
“If somebody can do something 80 percent as good as you think you would have done it yourself, then you’ve got to let it go.” – Sara Blakely
“What you don’t know can be your greatest asset.” – Sara Blakely
“My husband is such a healthy eater. Except when it comes to sweets. He never consumes anything except fruit until noon. And then from noon on he might have some brown rice and some tofu, and then, come eight or nine at night, he orders three mud-pie double-chocolate pieces of cake and eats all three of them.” – Sara Blakely
“Whatever you can think, you can create; just have a very clear vision… Once you have your snapshot, work on filling in the blanks to get to that place.” – Sara Blakely
“In the next decade, I see Spanx going worldwide. Everywhere. No butt left behind. It’s going to be all over the world and it’s going to be an aspirational brand that transcends categories. There’s so many things we can improve upon and make better.” – Sara Blakely
“The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.” – Sara Blakely
“I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes on Business
“My first account was Neiman Marcus. I cold-called them just like I had cold-called businesses when I was selling fax machines for seven years.” – Sara Blakely
“Perseverance is the key to starting a successful business.” – Sara Blakely
“I’d get kicked out of buildings all day long, people would rip up my business card in my face. It’s a humbling business to be in. But I knew I could sell and I knew I wanted to sell something I had created. I cut the feet out of those pantyhose and I knew I was on to something. This was it.” – Sara Blakely
“With every obstacle that has happened to me in my life, my brain immediately says, ‘Where is the hidden blessing?’ In starting a business and growing a business, every day is learning how to manage obstacles.” – Sara Blakely
“I knew that I wanted to start my own business. I knew that I wanted to work for myself. I was no stranger to the word no. You just have to keep going.” – Sara Blakely
“Don’t solicit feedback on your product, idea or your business just for validation purposes. You want to tell the people who can help move your idea forward, but if you’re just looking to your friend, co-worker, husband or wife for validation, be careful. It can stop a lot of multimillion-dollar ideas in their tracks in the beginning.” – Sara Blakely
“I pledge to invest in women because I believe it offers one of the greatest returns on investment. 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.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes on Fashion
“I’d never worked in fashion or retail. I just needed an undergarment that didn’t exist.” – Sara Blakely
“The thing about fashion – it’s like ducks going quack, quack quack. It’s being dictated from above, and it just makes me want to rebel against it.” – Sara Blakely
“What I most identify with is effortless fashion, looking as if someone’s not put a lot of effort into their look.” – Sara Blakely
“I’m obsessed with the customer. I am the customer. I really don’t think you can go wrong if you don’t take your eye off of that. Serving the customer. How does she feel? I feel like the fashion industry has cared a lot about how we look but not about how we feel.” – Sara Blakely
“I feel that women have been neglected, unnecessarily neglected and mistreated personally by the fashion industry and shapewear in that entire category was a definite place that we were neglected.” – Sara Blakely
“Shapewear is the canvas and the clothes are the art.” – Sara Blakely
“I couldn’t figure out what to wear under my clothes. The body shapers were too thick at the time.” – Sara Blakely
“I did not like the way I looked in a pair of white pants.” – Sara Blakely
“I’ll mix a lot of things. I’ll wear a Temperley dress with flip flops, or I might be in head-to-toe Gucci and have on a ring that I got from a gumball machine for 50 cents.” – Sara Blakely
“I didn’t like the way it looked in white trousers, and I couldn’t find anything to work underneath them.” – Sara Blakely
“I didn’t want women to walk out of the dressing rooms feeling depressed and wanting a cocktail.” – Sara Blakely
“I have this system where if I buy three or four new things, I give away three or four things. Sometimes, it’s a very painful system, but shopping is even better when you know that someone else who needs it will be getting. Keep the clothing karma going, I say.” – Sara Blakely
“I always joke and say I want to invent a comfortable stiletto and then retire.” – Sara Blakely
“When I’m bored or tired of being blonde, I’ll throw on a wig. It’s a lot less of a permanent way to change your look, and I have about 10 – all different colors, shapes, bobs, long hair, short, feathered.” – Sara Blakely
“I shopped for body shapers for the first time in my life and I was horrified. They were thick – it was like wearing workout clothes and they all had a leg band on one side that showed through the pants.” – Sara Blakely
“I was trying to convince all these men to try to make a product that they didn’t even wear! Or if they did wear them, they were not admitting it! There was the problem right there. No wonder their hosiery was so uncomfortable.” – Sara Blakely
“When I cut the feet out of my pantyhose that one time, I saw it as my sign. I had been visualizing being self employed prior to this happening. It was my mental preparation meeting the opportunity in that moment.” – Sara Blakely
“I cut the feet out of control top pantyhose one night, threw them on under my white pants and realized that the toning and shaping was perfect and that the hosiery material is thin enough that I could make shape wear out of it.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes on Entrepreneurship
“My advice for an entrepreneur just starting out is to differentiate yourself. Why are you different? What’s important about you? Why does the customer need you?” – Sara Blakely
“I feel like money makes you more of who you already are.” – Sara Blakely
“Money is fun to make, fun to spend and fun to give away.” – Sara Blakely
“I’m just like so many women – I was frustrated, I had these white pants that I had spent a lot of money on, and you get home and you think, ‘What am I really supposed to wear under this?’ So it was a frustrated consumer moment.” – Sara Blakely
“It’s the power of the brand. We’ve never formally advertised.” – Sara Blakely
“You’ve got to visualize where you’re headed and be very clear about it. Take a Polaroid picture of where you’re going to be in a few years.” – Sara Blakely
“Ideas, even million-dollar ones, are most vulnerable in their infancy; don’t share them with too many people. However, don’t hide your plan from people who can help you move it forward.” – Sara Blakely
“Most of us want to tell our coworkers or friends, or husbands or wives, our ideas. For what reason? We want validation. But I feel ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy. Out of love and concern, friends and family give all the reasons or objections on why you shouldn’t do it. I didn’t want to risk that.” – Sara Blakely
“When I was 7, I came up with the idea of ‘charm socks.’ My mom would take me to buy bags of plastic charms, we would sew them on frilly white socks, and I sold them at school.” – Sara Blakely
“If we can put a man on the moon, we can make pantyhose comfortable.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes on Fear and Failure
“I failed the LSAT. Basically, if I had not failed, I’d have been a lawyer and there would be no Spanx. I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. It is liberating.” – Sara Blakely
“When I was a child, my father used to encourage my brother and me to fail. At the dinner table, instead of asking about the best part of our day, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something to tell him, he would be disappointed. When we shared whatever failure we’d endured, he’d high-five us and say, ‘Way to go!’ The gift my father gave us by doing this was redefining what failure truly meant.” – Sara Blakely
“Instead of failure being the outcome, failure became not trying. And it forced me at a young age to want to push myself so much further out of my comfort zone.” – Sara Blakely
“I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course.” – Sara Blakely
“Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” – Sara Blakely
“Failures are life’s way of nudging you and letting you know you are off course. Trying new things and not being afraid to fail along the way are more important than what you learn in school.” – Sara Blakely
“Failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. This way, it is about answering to yourself.” – Sara Blakely
“I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying. It is liberating. Most people attach failure to something not working out or how people perceive you. This way, it is about answering to yourself.” – Sara Blakely
“Failure to me became not trying versus not succeeding.” – Sara Blakely
“My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” – Sara Blakely
“I grew up in a house where my father encouraged my brother and me to fail. I specifically remember coming home and saying, ‘Dad, Dad, I tried out for this or that and I was horrible,’ and he would high-five me and say, ‘Way to go.’” – Sara Blakely
“When I was growing up, my dad would encourage my brother and I to fail. We would be sitting at the dinner table and he would ask, ‘So what did you guys fail at this week?’ If we didn’t have something to contribute, he would be disappointed. When I did fail at something, he’d high-five me. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was completely re-framing my definition of failure at a young age. To me, failure means not trying; failure isn’t the outcome. If I have to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I didn’t try that because I was scared,’ that is failure.” – Sara Blakely
“I would say where I feel like I’m struggling the most in learning and giving myself permission to fail is in finding the balance in life. There are different aspects to women: there’s the mother, there’s the working woman, there’s the wife, the friend, the sister, the daughter and so just figuring that all out. I continue to want to try new things and give myself permission to not be great at it.” – Sara Blakely
“Most of the reason we don’t do things is because we’re afraid to fail. I just made a decision one day that I was not not going to do things in my life because of fear.” – Sara Blakely
“I took a Fear of Flying class, and I always missed the class, because I was always flying.
“Courage is doing something despite the fear, and I’ve worked hard on being a courageous person.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes about Spanx
“My saddlebags are why Spanx exist! Now that I have a baby I also have a muffin top.” – Sara Blakely
“Within the first year of launching my company, Spanx, I decided to go over to England and cold-call Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges the same way I had cold-called Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s here in the United States.” – Sara Blakely
“My training of cold-calling and everyone under the sun telling me no, and my keeping going, was a huge part of the first two years of Spanx.” – Sara Blakely
“I cut the feet off of a pair of panty hose and it allowed me to wear a pair of great strappy sandals. I didn’t see lines but the hose rolled up at my feet – and that’s how Spanx born.” – Sara Blakely
“I got a call from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah had chosen Spanx as one of her favorite products in 2000. I had boxes of product in my apartment and I had two weeks notice that she was going to say she loved it on TV and I had no shipping department.” – Sara Blakely
“The word ‘Spanx’ was funny. It made people laugh. No one ever forgot it.” – Sara Blakely
“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.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely Quotes on Life
“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.” – Sara Blakely
“I made a conscious decision not to tell anyone in my life. Now I tell people – don’t tell anyone your idea until you have invested enough of yourself in it that you are not going to turn back. When a person has an idea at that conception moment it is the most vulnerable – one negative comment could knock you off course.” – Sara Blakely
“It’s really a full-time job to manage our lives.” – Sara Blakely
“There is a hidden blessing in the most traumatic things we go through in our lives. My brain always goes to, ‘Where is the hidden blessing? What is my gift?’” – Sara Blakely
Famous Sara Blakely Quotes
“In business, you’re going to hear the word ‘no’ a lot. The importance of trusting yourself and your own rear end is what’s going to keep you going. Recognize that failure or the word ‘no’ is not the end.” – Sara Blakely
“Trusting your gut is like a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger it gets.” – Sara Blakely
“The biggest risk in life is not risking.” – Sara Blakely
“Always be kind. Along the way, some people liked me; some people didn’t. As long as I’m in check with my ‘why’ and my purpose, and I know that I have a good intention and I’m being kind, I’ve got to let go of all of that other worry.” – Sara Blakely
“When you help a woman fulfill her potential, magic happens.” – Sara Blakely
“I was really just trying to find my path. I asked myself a lot of personal questions. Things like, What am I good at? What do I enjoy? I like to challenge myself and do things that scare me. I just have lived my life that way. If something seems really terrifying, it becomes the next thing I want to explore and find out why I’m so afraid of it and then try to do it.” – Sara Blakely
“I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot. We deliver.” – Sara Blakely
“Having a mental snapshot of where you are, where you are going, and what you are moving toward is incredibly powerful.” – Sara Blakely
“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.” – Sara Blakely
“Ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
“I started thinking about joy. Everything in our society is so purposeful. Let’s bring joy back to the experience.” – Sara Blakely
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