The Empire that Spanx Built

What does it take to become a self-made billionaire on the Forbes list? Well, for starters, a great idea. Back in 2000, Sara Blakely launched Spanx hoisery as a solution to the problem she had encountered working in the humid temperatures of Florida. Blakely wanted pantyhose that had no seams in the socks and did not roll up when she cut the feet off. Using her $5,000 savings and 2 years of her daily time, the then 30-year-old launched the company and soon rocketed to fame when she cleverly sent samples to Oprah’s stylist Andre Walker, who noticed that the talk show host looked slimmer wearing Spanx. It became Oprah’s “Favorite Thing” that year, and success quickly followed. Now the company is worth $1 billion and shows no signs of losing steam. “Woman flash her,” said Blakely’s husband Jesse Itzler to Forbes. “Imagine that. She’s just really that good.”

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