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Sara Blakely Quotes

Spanx Founder Quotes

Sara Blakely quotes: sayings from the Spanx billionaire.

“My first account was Neiman Marcus.  I cold-called them just like I’d cold-called businesses when I was selling fax machines for seven years.”

Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ is my go-to song to pump myself up if I’m having a tough time or if I get really nervous right before a speech.”

“I’d get kicked out of buildings all day long; people would rip up my business card in my face.  It’s a humbling business to be in.  But I knew I could sell and I knew I wanted to sell something I had created.  I cut the feet out of those pantyhose and I knew I was on to something.  This was it.”

“Courage is doing something despite the fear, and I’ve worked hard on being a courageous person.”

“I have this system where if I buy three or four new things, I give away three or four things.  Sometimes it’s a very painful system, but shopping is even better when you know that someone else who needs it will be receiving.  Keep the clothing karma going, I say.”

“I shopped for body-shapers for the first time in my life and I was horrified.  They were thick.  It was like wearing workout clothes and they all had a leg band on one side that showed through the pants.”

“I took a Fear of Flying class, and I always missed the class, because I was always flying.”

“When I was a child, my father used to encourage my brother and me to fail.  At the dinner table, instead of asking about the best part of our day, he would ask us what we failed at that week.  If we didn’t have something to tell him, he would be disappointed.  When we shared whatever failure we’d endured, he’d high-five us and say, ‘Way to go!’  The gift my father gave us by doing this was redefining what failure truly meant.”

“The word ‘Spanx’ was funny.  It made people laugh.  No one ever forgot it.”

“I got a call from The Oprah Winfrey ShowOprah had chosen Spanx as one of her favorite products in 2000.  I had boxes of product in my apartment and I had two weeks’ notice that she was going to say she loved it on TV… and I had no shipping department.”

“The smartest thing I ever did was to hire my weakness.”

“The thing about fashion – it’s like ducks going, ‘Quack, quack quack.’  It’s being dictated from above, and it just makes me want to rebel against it.”

“I failed the LSAT.  Basically, if I had not failed, I’d have been a lawyer and there would be no Spanx.”

“I think very early on in life we all learn what we’re good at and what we’re not good at, and we stay where it’s safe.”

“I’d never worked in fashion or retail.  I just needed an undergarment that didn’t exist.”

“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.”

“Failure, to me, became not trying versus not succeeding.”

“I’m just like so many women – I was frustrated, I had these white pants that I had spent a lot of money on, and you get home and you think, ‘What am I really supposed to wear under this?’  So it was a frustrated consumer moment.”

“Money is fun to make, fun to spend, and fun to give away.”

“Ideas, even million-dollar ones, are most vulnerable in their infancy; don’t share them with too many people.  However, don’t hide your plan from people who can help you move it forward.”

“The thought of my mortality – I think about it a lot.  I find it motivating.  It can be any time that your number’s up.”

“If somebody can do something 80% as good as you think you would have done it yourself, then you’ve got to let it go.”

“I always joke and say I want to invent a comfortable stiletto and then retire.”

“You’ve got to embrace what you don’t know – don’t be intimidated by it.  That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”

“My revenue was $4 million my first year in business, off of one $20 item.”

“In the next decade, I see Spanx going worldwide.  Everywhere.  No butt left behind.  It’s going to be all over the world and it’s going to be an aspirational brand that transcends categories.  There’s so many things we can improve upon and make better.”

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

“We don’t have the luxury of time.  We spend more because of how we live, but it’s important to be with our family and friends.”

“Trust your gut.”

“Within the first year of launching my company Spanx, I decided to go over to England and cold-call Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges the same way I had cold-called Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s here in the States.”

“The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.”

“Don’t tell anyone your idea until you have invested enough of yourself in it that you are not going to turn back.  When a person has an idea at that conception moment it is the most vulnerable; one negative comment could knock you off course.”

“My saddlebags are why Spanx exist!  Now that I have a baby, I also have a muffin top.”

“I’ve always had that gratitude that I had the opportunity to pursue my potential.”

“Whatever you can think, you can create; just have a very clear vision.  Once you have your snapshot, work on filling in the blanks to get to that place.”

“I feel like money makes you more of who you already are.”

“Most of the reason we don’t do things is because we’re afraid to fail.  I just made a decision one day that I was not not going to do things in my life based on fear.”

“Where I get my energy is: ‘How can I make it better?'”

“There is a hidden blessing in the most traumatic things we go through in our lives.  My brain always goes to, ‘Where is the hidden blessing?  What is my gift?'”

“I didn’t want women to walk out of the dressing rooms feeling depressed and wanting a cocktail.”

“What I most identify with is effortless fashion: looking as if someone’s not put a lot of effort into their look.”

“You’ve got to visualize where you’re headed and be very clear about it.  Take a Polaroid picture of where you’re going to be in a few years.”

“Every time I went on stage I was so terrified I almost threw up.”

“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, coworker, husband, or wife for validation?  Be careful.  It can stop a lot of multimillion-dollar ideas in their tracks in the beginning.”

“If we can put a man on the moon, we can make pantyhose comfortable.”

“I pledge to invest in women because I believe it offers one of the greatest returns on investment.  I am committed to the belief that we would all be in a much better place if half the human race (women) were empowered to prosper, invent, be educated, start their own businesses, run for office – essentially, be given the chance to soar.”

“It’s really a full-time job to manage our lives.”

“I’ve always leaned toward a feminine, funky style, even in business settings.  I used to paint my nails blue in 1993, before it was mainstream.”

“I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot.  We deliver.”

“It’s the power of the brand.  We’ve never formally advertised.”

“I started thinking about joy.  Everything in our society is so purposeful.  Let’s bring joy back to the experience.”

“Perseverance is the key to starting a successful business.”

“My training of cold-calling and everyone under the sun telling me no, and my keeping going, was a huge part of the first two years of Spanx.”

“My advice for an entrepreneur just starting out is to differentiate yourself.  Why are you different?  What’s important about you?  Why does the customer need you?”

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