Making the World a Better Place…One Woman At A Time
“Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women.
In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts.
As it turns out, that was a great place to start!”
“Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts. As it turns out, that was a great place to start!”
How It All Began
Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts. As it turns out, that was a great place to start! Before starting Spanx, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to invent a product that would make millions of women feel good. Spanx became my way to deliver comfort, support and confidence to women all over the world. At the same time, it became my platform to give back.
From the beginning, I set aside a portion of proceeds to give away. As the company grew, so did my opportunity to empower women.
In 2004, I was invited to be a contestant on the reality show the Rebel Billionaire: Richard Branson’s Quest for the Best. Everyone thought I was crazy for leaving Spanx for three months, but I trusted my gut. Something told me this was the chance of a lifetime, and it was. Sir Richard Branson traveled with us around the world, which gave me the opportunity to talk with him about Spanx, his experience with Virgin, and his new global foundation: Virgin Unite.
I was really interested in learning how to set up a foundation, because this had been a dream of mine, even before starting Spanx. I was very touched by our visit to a poor village in South Africa, and I wanted more than ever to find a way to help women who do not have the same rights as we do in America.
At the conclusion of the show came a huge surprise. In a completely unexpected twist, Branson handed me a check for $750,000 – his paycheck from Fox for the show – for me to start my own foundation to help women! He joined me in Atlanta in 2006 to launch The Sara Blakely Foundation… and the rest is historyherstory!
The Lucky Red Backpack
When starting Spanx, Sara heard a lot of “nos”. She dug her “lucky red backpack” out of her mom’s attic (the one she used during college), believing it would help change the course of her start-up. It was there each step of the way, even during her first sale at the Neiman Marcus headquarters. Her friends begged her to buy a Prada bag, but Sara refused. Now, the Sara Blakely Foundation gives a Lucky Red Backpack to each woman it supports. The backpack has become a symbol of their potential and inner strength.
Since its inception in 2006, the Sara Blakely Foundation has donated millions to charities around the world, focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls. In 2013, Sara Blakely became the first self-made, female billionaire to sign the Melinda and Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity.
While many of the world’s resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed: Women.
The Sara Blakely Foundation is on a mission to support women and help them SOAR through education, entrepreneurship and the arts.