Chances are you don't know who Sara Blakely is. But if you are a women, and now even a man, you may be wearing a product her company produces. The name of her company is SPANX. She invented an under garment for women and expanded into a full product line. And her efforts have made Sara the youngest female billionaire according to Forbes.
This is a classic case of finding a need and fulfilling it. Sara was selling fax machines door to door when one night she had an inspiration. She was deciding what to wear and wanted to wear white pants. But she didn't like the way she looked in them and the fact you could see a panty line. She took control top pantyhose, cut the feet out and created a product she would eventually sell to millions of people. Sounds simple doesn't it? It's not. You're about to learn the rest of the story.
To begin the story, we must go back before Sara became an adult. She tells how once a week her father would ask she and her brother the question, "What have you failed at this week?" Yes, you read that right. Not what did you succeed at, but what did you failed at.
You might think that strange, but I assure you, it is brilliant. What it did was take the fear out of failing. What Sara would worry about later in life was not failing, but not trying. I know this is counter intuitive, but look at the results. There is no arguing about her success and shows how attitude can make a big difference. Dealing with failure while moving forward is a talent we should all develop.
There is one other important ingredient you need to know about. Sara was devoted to self-improvement. (If only, everyone was.) And she learned to give her subconscious standing orders. In this case, she asked repeatedly for her subconscious to be on the lookout for a product she believed in and could sell to millions of people. And it worked. What standing orders are you giving your subconscious?
Just having a good idea is not enough. To produce it means taking initiative while accepting and dealing with the slings and arrows shot from people who don't see your idea the way you do. And compounding that problem, the women's under garment industry was a male dominated industry. You wouldn't think it was, but it was.
Sara was lucky that one manufacturer listened to his daughters who said it was a good idea and that he should help her out. He did. But there was still so much more to do. Sara was doing everything. Developing the idea, getting the product made, promoting and marketing...everything. Amazing, simply amazing. Her determination and perseverance are remarkable.
First, here's another quote from Sara that gives you an insight into Sara's thinking:
"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 was literally on the road promoting and selling her product for two
years. And when you hear how innovative her marketing was, well, let's
just say it will probably blow you away. Her creativity knew no bounds. And her belief in her product gave Sara the energy she needed to get her business off the ground and into the hands of women...who told their friends...who told their friends.
There is so much more to the story. But here's the bottom line, no one tells what she went through like Sara does. She's so good at it and at the same time she is very entertaining. Listening to Sara will affect you much more than reading my words. She is the real deal. Here's Sara Blakely...
Such a remarkable woman. There is inspiration in her story and a lot to learn. Young people need to see what it takes to make a new company happen.
"It is important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen to you is you become memorable." - Sara Blakely
Do you want to know more about Sara Blakely? Here are 15 more things to know about this Billionaire.
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