If not for Steve Jobs and the iPad, Sara Blakely might top my list as the greatest modern inventor. Don’t know her? My fellow Atlantan is the inventor of Spanx, owned the world over by women who want to lift and tighten. I may or may not own several of her products.
Blakely was just named by Forbes as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. With a B. At 41, she’s a year younger than me and she has my bank account times a jillion.
Blakely, who has a communications degree from Florida State University, came up with her idea for shape wear because she was intent on combatting one of the world’s greatest fashion don’ts: the visible panty line. Her first product, which came on the market in 2000, was footless pantyhose. Today her company now sells more than 200 products to help women who want to hide their flaws, including a line of Spanx bathing suits, one of which I may or may not have in my drawer upstairs. Twelve short years and she’s a billionaire.
I find it interesting that most of the news stories make sure to mention that Blakely became the youngest female billionaire on her own, and not by inheritance or marriage. Maybe until now women didn’t get on this list by their own work and their own ideas. I don’t know as I’ve never followed it that closely. As a woman, however, it never crossed my mind that she attained her success through others.
Happy International Woman’s Day, Sarah! Keep kicking ass, literally and figuratively.