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Spanx Startup Story: How Founder Sara Blakely Built Spanx

Stashed in: Founders, 106 Miles, Sara Blakely

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Startup Capital:

Blakely used her personal savings of $5,000 to start Spanx. She bootstrapped the growth of the company on sales of her product, quickly locking up large purchase orders.

Follow on Funding:

None. Sara Blakely owns 100% of the company and has self funded the company since the beginning.

Years to Profitablity:

Spanx was profitable in its first year of business with total revenue of $4,000,000.

Startup Milestones for SPANX:

1998: Sara Blakely starts SPANX while selling fax machines with $5,000 in savings. 

1999: Spanx’s first year revenue tops $4,000,000. 

1999: Blakely gets her product distrubted into Neiman Marcus.

2000: Oprah names SPANX her favorite product of the year and sales take off. Sales hit $10,000,000 in revenue. 

2001: SPANX is featured on QVC and sells over 8,000 units in under six minutes.

2013: Sara Blakely becomes a billionaire. 

Sara Blakely Startup Advice:

”Differentiate yourself – why are you different?”

“It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”

“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.”

“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.”

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