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Spanx founder rewards employees with first-class plane tickets and $10,000 as gratitude

Spanx founder rewarded the employees after investment giant Blackstone purchased a majority stake in the company.

Spanx founder rewards employees with first-class plane tickets and $10,000 as gratitude
Image source: Left: NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Founder of Spanx Sara Blakely (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan) Right: Twitter/Silviosghost

Shapewear company Spanx is surprising its employees with two first-class plane tickets and $10,000 each so they can celebrate the company's new $1.2bn valuation. Sara Blakely, the company's chief executive, and founder showed her gratitude to the employees for their efforts in making Spanx the company it is today. Spanx got its new valuation after investment giant Blackstone purchased a majority stake in the company, reported The Guardian. “To stand here today, and [to] think about what we’ve been able to create and what we’ve been able to do by being authentic and kind and delivering amazing products to women to use their very feminine principles in a very masculine space which is business, leading with intuition, vulnerability … this marks a moment for female entrepreneurs,” she posted on Twitter.



Blakely rewarded her employees with the flight tickets and $10,000 as a show of gratitude. “If you go on a trip, you might want to go out to a really nice dinner, you might want to go out to a really nice hotel, and so … you are each getting $10,000,” she said. Blakely and Spanx have come a long way from its inception in 2000 since the time she started the company with just $5,000 in savings. She vowed the company would be worth $20m one day but only to be laughed at and derided. Eventually, she was laughing her way to the bank. By 2012, she was the first self-made billionaire. 

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: "CBS This Morning" host Gayle King (L) and Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely show off their Spanx onstage during Vanity Fair's Founders Fair at Spring Studios on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)



Blakely worked a second job as she worked on the Spanx prototype. She was selling fax machines by the day while finalizing the Spanx prototype. She couldn't even afford lawyers when she started out, so she wrote her own patent with the help of a law textbook. She had a hard time convincing factories to make the product and then eventually for shops to sell them. She started out with her business in Atlanta. While her product was doing Okay, it was Oprah who really sent the sales soaring. During her show, Oprah Winfrey featured Spanx on her show, describing it as one of her ‘favorite things’ of the year. The sales skyrocketed and there has been no looking back since.


“It’s really important to be resourceful and scrappy – a glass half full mindset,” she said. “Running your own business is a series of obstacles that you turn into opportunities. You have to be resilient because there’s so much coming at you as an entrepreneur and you usually have very limited resources.” She had to deal with rejection on her way up and she constantly motivated herself to keep going. “I’ve always had moments of doubt. I used to spend a lot of time second-guessing myself,” she adds. “I don’t want anyone to think that the people who made it did so because they didn’t self-doubt. It’s just that successful people learn to check that dialogue and keep it at the door, they give it its proper place.”



Blakely says she had the first idea when she cut off the feet to her control tights, before wearing them under white jeans. She started building on that eventually came up with Spanx. Blakely says she took pictures of herself wearing Spanx to convince others of its potential. “I put my own butt on the line — literally!” she said. “I used my own picture as the before and after picture wearing Spanx. And that was part of saying ‘we’re in this together I created an undergarment for myself, let me share it with you and tell you why it’s in my wardrobe’ — a personal touch was important.”




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