Spanx Case Study - What Women Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Sarah Blakey

Kim Kovacs, CEO of OptionEase (http://www.optionease.com/) talks about female entrepreneur Sarah Blakely, and her amazing business revelation with Spanx. Understand what you can take away from this story as a business woman.

  1. Don't let rejection discourage you from succeeding
  2. Get honest feedback from your customers
  3. Be as resourceful as possible

So I had an opportunity to do a class at UC Santa Barbara and I used Sarah Blakely who is the Founder of Spanx, who is one of my role models and one of my mentors that I actually look toward. And her story is fascinating and she was, is the inventor of a company called Spanx which are women’s hosiery.

And what’s interesting about this story of hers is that she had to be extremely creative in how she started her business and the things and the challenges that she had in doing this business. And really she is a true entrepreneur because she didn’t take no for an answer. She had to juggle a lot of things. She had to learn on the fly and it was really just a fascinating – and her story is a fascinating story.

So one of the things that she encountered was that she was refused by all the major hosiery manufactures and their distaste for her business idea which was to cut off the bottoms of the pantyhose and so they thought it was just some kind of a silly idea. And so well one of the things that she persevered, she went to every single one of them over and over and what turned the tide for one of them was that the owner had two daughters and they said this is actually really good idea.

So you never know when that last, you know, meeting or that last phone call is actually going to turn into something.

And the other one is she broke the mold. I mean literally broke the mold. Women’s pantyhose were design on a mold on a mold of a female, not a real person who could move and tell you if it was working or not but it was literally a plastic mold and she said, “I’m not doing that, you know these are clothing. People need to wear them. We need to get the feedback.”

And so for any product or service or thing that you’re going to put into the market place, get the feedback of the person that are using them. So that was something she learned and it was just intuition that brought her there but also very successfully.

One of the other things that I thought was fascinating with her is that when she was up to write a patent for her product, she had to find someone to do that and she couldn’t and for the amount of money that she had.

So one of the things she did is she went to Barnes and Noble, bought a book on how to write a patent and she did it herself.

So you need to be really creative in how you’re doing things. You’ve got to really think about all the pieces to your business and if it doesn’t exist do it. If you can afford, it get it started and she wasn’t afraid to take those challenges and then the other one is she persevered. She really had spent a lot of time in this. It was a long journey for her but it was a successful one and she did it literally on her own and I commend her for that.

So the Sarah Blakely Spanx case study I think is fascinating and lessons that we can all learn from.