Sara Blakely is the founder and sole owner of Spanx, the brand that is constantly inventing more comfortable undergarment options for women that just happen to also make your butt and gut look amazing, and now thankfully makes killer leggings too!
She started with a simple goal - find something to wear under white pants to make them more flattering. Since bringing this vision to life, Spanx has continued to revolutionize and create products women can’t (and don’t want to!) live without. For over 10 years, Sara has set out to elevate the confidence of women and girls through her eponymous foundation; and as America’s top female entrepreneur, she knows a thing or two about building successful businesses. Queue the birth of Leg Up – an initiative which empowers female entrepreneurs and helps create economic opportunity in their communities. Sara lives in Atlanta with her husband and 4 kids.
She inspires all of us to follow our dreams, help uplift each other and most importantly, become our own boss! #aobossbabe
Title: Founder, Owner, & CEO Spanx Inc
Who’s the first person you spoke to this morning?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Sharing a house and very early mornings with my husband and 4 children means who I physically speak to changes every day. Sometimes my day begins at 5am with my 3-year-old sitting on top of me saying “Wake up Mommy!,” Most days though, I wake up talking to myself, going over all the things I need to do that day. My husband thinks I'm nuts.
What keeps you up at night?
NETFLIX, my 3-year-old twins, my 17-month-old daughter, and thinking about how to elevate women and balance the female energy on the planet.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
Watching my children grow…it’s fascinating to see them develop into each of their own distinct personalities. They’re a clan… they protect and love each other. My oldest son Lazer accidentally locked himself in his room recently (we have since fixed the lock.) As I tried everything I could before having to call for assistance, my other 3 children, including my 17-month-old Tepper, shoved whatever they could under the door to “help” their brother… tools, food, paper and crayons. It was remarkable to watch. And yes, we got him out!
What is your secret to living in balance?
How does it feel to be America's ultimate boss babe?
I feel so lucky that I was born in the right place at the right time, and to have this destiny...it’s so much bigger than me. I’ve always felt that I am a vehicle put here to help women and I’m so privileged that I have the opportunity to do that through Spanx and my foundation.
Why was it important for you to start Leg Up and the Sara Blakely Foundation?
My Oprah moment was such a huge opportunity for me and for Spanx. Being on the Oprah show gave me exposure to grow my business. Since then, I have felt an obligation to continue to pay it forward to budding female entrepreneurs and give them the funds and exposure they need to start or grow their businesses.
What’s your boss philosophy?
When I was starting my business, what I didn’t know became my greatest asset. It’s important to make time to listen to all of my employees and to encourage everyone at Spanx to have a voice - to speak-up and present their ideas. Someone in finance can have a great idea for designing a new product or vice versa!
Least favorite word?
You recently launched Spotlight on Lace to meet the needs of women looking for shapewear that was powerful but also sexy and pretty at the same time– what’s next for the brand?
The Spotlight on Lace collection is beautiful and has been doing so well for everyone who loves lace and wants a sexier look from Spanx. I have so many ideas and I’m very excited about what is about to launch this fall. I can’t talk about it yet, but be on watch for the newest invention that will revolutionize the way women shop and dress. We’re also working on more active solutions and swim!
One word to describe how you felt when you became the first woman to join The Giving Pledge ?
(This is Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s initiative in which billionaires commit to donating at least half their wealth to charity.)
When Bill Gates and Warren Buffet ask you to be part of something, is there any other answer than YES? My mission has always been to help women. I’m honored and humbled to have had this opportunity in my life to give back and to be able to share this pledge with such an inspiring group of people.
Optimist or realist?
We heard you take your girlfriends on a surprise trip to celebrate your birthday each year. Can you give us a hint on what you’re planning for next year?
I’ve had the same group of girlfriends for years. Some are the girls I grew up with in Florida and some I met later in life. They’ve been with me through it all. Taking them on a trip is one of my favorite things to do every year! I just tell them if they will need a passport and what the weather is going to be. That’s it! I like to keep things a mystery.
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday in Atlanta?
Barnes and Noble first thing, then the Belt Line for biking, popsicles and yummy food. The top of Ponce City Market (same people who designed Chelsea Market in NYC) for rides and more fun. Nap, then hike Stone Mountain and have snacks at the top. Dinner at Nakato for hibachi, 7pm bedtime. Repeat.
What’s your favorite fashion trend?
I don’t follow the trends... it’s not really my thing. In fact, I'm still wearing my scrunchies (sorry but it's the best for my hair so who cares)! When I shop, I tend to like memorable pieces so you can imagine my love for alice + olivia. I recently bought a lot of bomber jackets including one from you!
If you could collaborate with anyone for Spanx, who would it be?
Maybe another amazing Boss Babe like Stacey Bendet? I like doing things that are unexpected.
What super power do you wish you had?
To be able to hang out underwater. I'm a Pisces who grew up on a beach in Florida who loves to scuba dive. To swim for hours underwater with no tanks would be awesome.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
I really love and cherish the little traditions at home… pancake dance parties on Sunday mornings, bath time with mommy, mommy and daddy monster chase around the house, or snuggling on the couch for movie nights (tons of popcorn of course!). It’s always the little times together that create lasting memories.
How would you define creativity?
What do you feel naked without?
My phone and my red lipstick.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you right now?
10 - I have a new invention coming out this fall and it's a game changer! Can't wait.