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. She was listed as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Blakely was born in Clearwater, Florida, and graduated from Florida State Univerity with a communication Degree. She is the daughter of Ellen, an artist, and trial attorney, John Blakely. Being the daughter of a trial attorney, she initially planned to become an attorney, she reconsidered after scoring very low on the Law School Admission Test; she instead accepted a job at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she worked for three months. She also occasionally worked as a stand-up comedian during this period.
After her short stint at Disney, Blakely accepted a job with office supply company Danka, where she sold fax machines door-to-door. She was quite successful in sales and was promoted to national sales trainer at the age of 25.
At the age of 27, Blakely relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, and while still working at Danka, spent the next two years and $5,000 savings researching and developing her hosiery idea.
Blakely then drove to North Carolina, the location of most of America's hosiery mills, to present her idea. She was turned away by every representative; these companies were used to dealing with established companies and did not see the value of her idea. Two weeks after arriving home from her North Carolina trip, Blakely received a call from a male mill operator based in Asheboro, North Carolina, who offered to support Blakely's concept, as he had received strong encouragement from his three daughters.
Blakely further explained that the experience of developing her idea also revealed to her that the hosiery manufacturing industry was overseen solely by men who were not using the products they were producing. Blakely launched the “Sara Blakely Foundation” to help women through education and entrepreneurial training—Blakely had considered the establishment of a non-profit foundation prior to the founding of “Spanx”.
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